Insect: European Mantis

Photo of European Mantis

Earlier this month, I was watching and listening to birds at the edge of a field, when I caught sight of a non-bird flying in my direction. I watched the flyer land on a Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) stalk some 20′ away. With binoculars, I was able to pick out the creature and recognize him/her as a type of Mantis. Continue reading

Foraging Wild Nuts: Northern Red Oak

Photo of Northern Red Oak

I got serious about foraging acorns for the first time this fall. When ripe acorns started dropping, I started picking. I say ripe because not every acorn that falls is ripe. Early drops, which often have caps still firmly attached, tend to be of poor quality. It’s better to avoid these early imposters, and wait for cap-less acorns to fall. (Ripe acorns can sometimes drop with their caps still on, but when you pick them up the caps will typically separate easily, instead of holding tight.) Continue reading

Quiz #124: Wild Edibles

Which, if any, of these Northern Red Oak acorns look good enough to gather for food?

Top view:

Photo of Quiz #124: Wild Edibles

Same acorns from the side:

Photo of Quiz #124: Wild Edibles

Click here for the answer.

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Amphibians: Wood Frog

Photo of Wood Frog and acorn cap

When Jenny and I paused on a walk in the woods last weekend to arrange some fallen leaves, I noticed a small, tan-colored frog in the leaf litter nearby. The dark face mask confirmed he/she was a Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus). After taking a few photos of him beside an acorn cap, I gently placed him on the leaf art. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add a living accent to our ephemeral arrangement. Continue reading

Not Just Any Goose: Canada Goose

Photo of Canada Goose

Prior to the mid-1900s, there were no resident Canada Geese in New England. But the introduction programs of various wildlife agencies quickly changed that (this article explores why these transplanted geese didn’t migrate north to breed). It’s now common knowledge that large numbers of Canada Geese live here year-round. That said, vast numbers of Canada Geese do annually migrate to and from their breeding grounds in the north. Continue reading