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 III2020-12-08 13:26:252020-12-08 13:26:25On 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.
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Still no snow on the ground. Rain-soaked brown leaves cover paths but in the woods mosses and liverworts in many shades of green brighten things up.
Each firefly species has its own flash pattern, a preferred habitat, and a preferred time of the night. After deciding that the one that flashes quickly 4 or 5 times and streaks just above the grasses at dusk was Photuris fairchildi, I looked it up and have had to back off. Turns out that those little beetles are harder to identify than I thought.
Jefferson salamanders are the earliest vernal pool visitors, arriving even when there’s lots of ice.
The big damselflies called ebony jewelwing make it hard to walk the brook any faster than at a snail’s pace. The black wings of the males are pretty, but it’s their shining emerald abdomens that stop you in your tracks. They occur in masses here along the top of a new beaver dam.
Virginia creeper and grapes are foodplants for Abbott’s sphinx moth caterpillars. Large green spots – much like the immature grapes nearby – cover the back of this striking insect. They will pupate soon, so check for them now.
Hobblebush leaves are nice in the summer, colorful in autumn, but now, as they unfurl, they might be at their best: an intricate tapestry, white against tan. An elegant tan that we’re probably supposed to call ecru.
Turtles are crossing roads. If conditions permit, a helping hand might keep one of them from being hit by a careless vehicle.