Weather at Bedford, Hanscom Field, MA - via NOAA's National Weather Service

Saturday, June 27, 2009


The sun has finally made an appearance! We had some sun yesterday, and today has been just beautiful. My petunias, which had been starving for sun, are finally blooming again, and the garter snakes are sunning themselves on the rocks. I also saw a rabbit in the yard a little while ago. And I think maybe the robin eggs have hatched. At least, mama isn't sitting there all the time anymore.
The solstice has come and gone, though it's hard to tell from the weather, but maybe summer really is here now. Of course, it is all a progression, isn't it - it's not as though it is spring for 3 months, then summer for 3 months, etc. Of course, I'm in southern New England, so we have five or six months of winter, and two or three months of summer - if we are lucky. But I've always liked spring and fall best, with the comings and goings, the growings and passings. I never get tired of watching what is going on in those two transition seasons - in summer I get tired of hot weather (sometimes) and in winter I get tired of cold (sometimes), but in spring and fall there is always something new to see. And you never quite know what Mother Nature will throw at you, weatherwise. It is always an unfolding story, and so far we don't know the ending - I'm not sure we even know the plot, yet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

wet weather

Well, it has been raining here for getting on a week now - last Saturday was okay, but we've had more wet than dry, lately. And definitely more clouds than usual - it was in The Globe, and on tv. I think the plants have been loving the water - May was pretty dry - but now they are starving for some sunshine. I hear we may get some sun tomorrow, and I sure hope so. The Blue Hill Observatory has been keeping track of local weather for over a century, and they are wondering if we'll have the cloudiest June ever - so far it is the cloudiest since 1903.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

a few pics

Here's the robin on her nest over our outside light.

And here are some pretty spiderwebs, all wet with rain.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

new robin's nest

I haven't got any photos yet, but maybe tomorrow (or someday soon)... but a robin - the same one as earlier this summer? - is sitting on a nest above one of my outside lights. I'm a little worried because there is construction going on in the room directly inside, but so far she is still sitting there. We'll hope for the best. The light has a motion sensor, but I turned off the power so as to disturb the nest a little less.

Saw a wood frog and a spring peeper on a woods walk today, and a large puddle full (or pretty close to full!) of green froglets yesterday. Froglets are the ones that are no longer tadpoles, but have not yet reached full size - very cute.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

more birds

Two little bird stories today - both of which happened in the last week. It's been crazy busy here...

So, I've been hearing this lovely song high up in the trees when I walk in the woods behind my house, but had not been able to see the bird for the leaves. But finally I saw it fly, and got a good look with my binocs. It was an eastern wood-pewee. I could tell it was a flycatcher, and by putting together the call and the visual, I was able to ID it. Very satisfying.

And the other little story concerns a European starling. This bird had a large slug, or some such critter in its beak, presumably for the babies. It was hanging around the eaves of the sheep/goat barn, flying up to the roof and down to the fence. I stepped out of the barn and could see a hole, maybe 2" in diameter, under the eave - about where a soffit would be in a house. Once I was away from that area, the starling started to fly toward the hole. It tried to get in a couple of times, but flew away again - I think the slug was a little too cumbersome for maneuvering smoothly. After a few attempts, the bird scooted up into the hole. I'm sure the babies were happy with their lunch.
These birds are interlopers, having come here from Europe many, many years ago - they are sometimes obnoxious, but they can have beautiful feathers, and their beaks change color with the seasons.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

more baby birds

Today it was some baby chipping sparrows getting fed by parents.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

baby birds

I heard some cheeping on my walk yesterday, and finally trained my binocs on this baby downy woodpecker - awfully cute! I would have like to get closer, but didn't want to disturb it any more than I already was.

And today I heard a different cheeping - and found what I think were fledging orioles. I found the nest by a random swing of the binocs, which was cool. I was thinking the babes were orioles, and seeing the nest made me even more sure.

Friday, June 5, 2009


There was a scarlet tanager in my back yard today, and I saw some hermit thrushes (3, I think) on my walk this afternoon. I also spent a long time trying to spot a bird that I could hear very high up in the trees, but there were too many leaves between it and me. I've heard it there twice now, though, so maybe another time....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

sad butterfly

I found this critter dead in my driveway this morning. I couldn't discern what happened to it, but it was in pretty good shape so I brought it in to ID it. It's a red-spotted purple butterfly, which is or is not closely related to the white admiral, depending on what you read. At any rate, it is pretty, and I'm sorry that it is dead - I'd rather see it flying.
The first image is its ventral side, the part you see when the butterfly is at rest with its wings raised up above its back. The second image is the dorsal side, which you see when it is flying.

Also in the insect department, I got to watch an old log for a while today, that has an ant colony in it. I noticed it because there was sawdust around part of the log - a tree trunk, really, about two feet in diameter. When I looked more closely, I could see ants scurrying around. One ant was taking sawdust away from the log, one bit at a time - it didn't have any help, so it was looking at a BIG job. And when I watched one of the holes in the log - less than a quarter inch in diameter - I could see another ant come periodically to the hole and drop bits of sawdust out. Pretty cool, if you ask me. I'm guessing they were carpenter ants, but I'm not an entomologist.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

BIG moth

Yesterday evening I saw something big fly up toward one of my windows. At first I thought it was a bat. It was flying and looked about four or six inches across. When I went over to the window I could see that it was a moth - and what a big moth! I think it was a Black Witch (Ascalapha odorata), which is generally a tropical moth, though it often migrates fairly far north. It is sometimes described as bat-like, which explains my initial guess as to what it was. And they do get as big as 6 inches.
This is the new thing I learned today. (As in "You learn something new every day.") I saw something new, did a little research, and presto! I know more than I did yesterday.

Monday, June 1, 2009

butterflies and yellow flowers

Walking through a nearby meadow recently, I discovered I was surrounded by dozens, probably hundreds, of butterflies. They were small and brown, and moving quickly, so it was hard to get pictures, but I tried hard.
Most of them were little wood satyrs, but at least one,

that landed sweetly on some hawkweed, was a plain, or common ringlet (also in the satyr group of butterflies). Apparently, many of the satyrs live in wooded areas, but the little woods prefer open meadows. The whole meadow was just full of these fluttering little critters - not showy at all, but so cheerful!

And here's a pic of some yellow star grass.

(I wanted to put up a link about the hawkweed, but it turns out the name refers to many plants in the genus Hieracium. I'm not sure what I've got here - I grew up calling it indian paintbrush - so I'll leave it at hawkweed, maybe yellow hawkweed. Out in the west - Washington and Idaho - some species are invasive. Many, if not all, are introduced from Europe, as far as I can tell.)