About one in a thousand ash trees is able to kill some emerald ash borer larvae and forest geneticists have crossed these rare trees with each other in the hope of finding an ash tree that can kill all the larvae.

Some like it cold, including winter crane flies. Well, not too cold, but if it’s above freezing male winter crane flies form loose, bouncy swarms. Females fly up from the ground to choose a mate and then they lay eggs on the forest floor. Craneflies are easy to see against the surface of the snow or when they perch on windowpanes.

Now that the ground has really frozen, some of us can cross a few jobs that we didn’t quite get to off the list.

Late in the evening tonight and through the early hours of the 14th, the Geminid meteor shower will put on a good performance if it’s clear. The new moon will not interfere and these quite reliable meteors come in yellow, green, and blue, as well as white.

The beavers on the brook nearby seem to have nestled into their bank den. No tracks in the light snow and no new wood chips on the ground.

Warmer temperatures are known to increase photosynthesis in the higher latitudes and Siberia has been getting greener. This isn’t working so well in boreal North America where stresses such as fire, pests and droughts have made things browner overall.

Jupiter and Saturn are getting closer to one another (from our vantage point). They’ll be at their closest on December 21st, so stay tuned.

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.