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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a better pic

The owl moved, in the same tree, and I was able to get a better picture.  She (just a random guess) clearly noticed my every move when I was in her field of vision.  So beautiful!
wonderful - Barred Owl


So my daughter and I are coming back from our daily afternoon walk with the dog and we see a big bird fly toward our house.  It's an owl, says my daughter.  I could tell it was a big one, but not which kind, until I got up close.  It turned out to be a Barred Owl!  Very cool - and it ended up landing in the big ol' pine in front of our house.  The songbirds in the yard are not happy!  The owl is still there, as I write this.  What a great place to live!
What a beauty!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


We've had a couple of warm days, but not too many yet.  Still below freezing pretty much every night.
BUT - I did hear wood frogs in a nearby wetland today, for the first time this spring.  No peepers yet.
And we still have a couple of piles of snow where there were huge piles before.
The birdfeeders are staying full longer, though, which is another sign of vernal change - the birds are finding other, more tempting, food, which is good.
And little green shoots are coming up in spots.
I'm sure it won't be long before leaves are popping out left and right!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I just got a new camera.  Here are some random pictures I've taken recently, learning how it works.  With the lens that it has on it now, it is better at macro and not as good at zoom as the camera I was using.  But I can changes lenses on this one, which will be a whole new experience for me.

Fryeburg, happy the snow is not so deep anymore

Beech leaves - they'll be on the ground soon

Ice in the stream - that has melted now, thankfully

Lichen and moss with quartz and oak leaves

Lichen on dead tree

Eaten acorn shells at the base of an oak tree

Spring is definitely coming - the skunk cabbage is up!

Friday, March 11, 2011

March rain

Rainy and foggy and beautiful.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March thaw

Little by little, winter recedes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I just heard red-winged blackbirds!  They are back from their winter migration and so now spring IS just around the corner.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

... came in like a lamb

Now it is March, so spring is officially only 3 weeks away.  Of course, this being New England, you never know...

Here are some pics of what can happen when you are a little critter and big hungry ones move faster than you can.

Here are some mouse tracks coming up from the base of a tree.  Often in winter, mice will tunnel under the snow for warmth and safety.  Safety is a big concern, as you will see.
Not too far from where those mouse tracks came from the tree, I found these marks in the snow.  Clearly, a swoop and grab by a fairly large raptor.  I took these pics around 8:30am after a one-inch snowfall - perfect for tracking.  Given the time of day and the fact that I was in the woods, I'm guessing the hunter was an owl getting its last snack before its daily rest.

Here's a closer image, and you can see no blood, so it was a clean catch.  How do I know the mouse didn't get away?  There are no more mouse tracks after the bird came down.
And here's a close-up of the very clear wing print.

I love the stories that sights such as these can tell, or at least hint at.  I saw a lot of great tracks that morning (it was this past Sunday), including a ton of fisher tracks.  Fishers are rather mysterious, keeping very much to themselves and having a fierce reputation.  They've moved back into this area relatively recently, as the hardwood forests have grown back over the last century.
Here's a nice set of fisher tracks.

And just for the record, since the snow was so perfect-for-tracking, I got pics of a typical rabbit track and a typical gray squirrel track.  They are very similar in size and shape, but in general (though not always), the rabbit fore-feet run back-to-front while the squirrel fore-feet run side-by-side.  The trick with these tracks is that when you look at them, the hind feet are in front of the front feet due to the scampering gait of the little mammals.
Typical gray squirrel tracks (ignore the little bird track below).  The animal is moving from left to right here, but the hind feet are in front of the fore-feet in the track.

Typical rabbit track (probably Eastern cottontail, though I keep hoping for a New England cottontail).  The animal is moving from right to left in this picture, but the larger tracks are the hind feet.

Also, I had a gift card for Borders book store, which has gone into Chapter 11.  The store near us is closing, so I needed to use up the card quickly.  I was thrilled to find a copy of Paul Rezendes' Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign.  Another book for my natural history collection!