https://vermontalmanac.org/wp-content/uploads/VTALMANAC_LOGO_STACK_TAG-300x150.png 0 0 Dave Mance III https://vermontalmanac.org/wp-content/uploads/VTALMANAC_LOGO_STACK_TAG-300x150.png Dave Mance III2021-01-10 13:15:492021-01-25 13:17:18Both male and female downy and hairy woodpeckers are supposed to begin their territorial drumming around this time, now that the days are getting longer. But some have been heard practicing over the past couple of weeks.
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Thick bushes are a good place to house the short-tailed fledglings that are still being fed. Not sure why short tails make birds look so cute, but they do.
Brooks that often dry up in late summer around here have dried up. It is getting closer to late summer than I like to acknowledge,and it has been abnormally droughty.
On some birds the contour feathers have what’s called an afterfeather, a little fluffy plume from the same follicle as the big feather. This provides extra insulation and is especially common in grouse.
The ground beneath female white ash trees is littered with seeds. Almost white, they look fresh and optimistic. Makes me think there’s hope.
All the other spring ephemerals are flowering. Among the loveliest are Dutchman’s breeches, trout lily, toothwort. I could go on, they all are lovely.
Jefferson salamanders are the earliest vernal pool visitors, arriving even when there’s lots of ice.
The hard-won snowless ground got a sprinkled coat of snow overnight. The juncos are easy to see now, but still too many to count.
Insect frass all over your picnic table this year? You’re not alone. Matt Ayers, an ecologist at Dartmouth is happy to see them. He writes that caterpillar abundance fluctuates by 20-fold, depending on the year. It’s all good, not an outbreak, and many different species of caterpillar are providing food for birds this year.