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 III2020-12-07 12:44:082020-12-08 12:44:51The tufted titmouse at our feeders (they get taken in at night) has now been joined by another. They rarely used to be here but in the last few years have become reliable companions.
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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.
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.
After waiting for a long time for a warm sunny day that didn’t happen, serviceberry buds decided it’s time to open. Roadsides are now very pretty.
Now that the garden is planted, it’s time to replant. As usual, some seeds didn’t come up, some little plants have been chopped off by cutworms, and around here root maggots are creaming the brassicas.
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.