Friday, November 27, 2009

Moth invasion Answers

Here's a handy resource for your Boston area winter moth questions. The main culprit seems to be an invasive species--the European winter moth. Add the regular cankerworm and spanworm moths and we've got...bad news for your trees next spring...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

White-throated Sparrows in the Mist

Perfect November moment. As the fog begins to lift on the meadow, the clear whistles of white-throated sparrows ring out.

The exact spot where I could stand in June listening to the counter-singing of song sparrows, I could stand today listening to white-throated sparrows counter-singing.
Chorus 1 (a little slow to start).
Chorus 2 (now the counter-singing really starts)
Chorus 3 (full on, flock of blackbirds flies over at end)

I managed a few photos. The white-throats were everywhere.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Late November

Early morning sun at the Charles River Peninsula

Here comes the sun,

lighting up the juncos,

cedar waxwings and house finches.

(I like the colors above, though I needed Lily to confirm that the berries were in fact pink).

But the red-tailed hawk. Where could it be?

I also took a stroll around Purgatory Cove in Waltham while Lily was at a birthday party today.
Someone (or nature) has constructed a nice stump-based planter. (Is that corn?)

Saw a few pie-billed grebes in the river.

Friday, November 20, 2009


American Coots at Great Meadows, Concord

A nice day for coots.

Looking goofy.

And elegant.

A little bit of conflict.


I like the clip below. One coot dives and the other one "accidentally" pecks it on the way up...

On Rosemary Pond in Needham, dozens of hooded mergansers.

I was a bit far away, and behind a tree, but I think I captured the overall impression below. One moment they are there, then all of a sudden gone, and then reappear.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A very ducky morning at Plum Island

Black ducks in the grass at Plum Island

A blustery morning, not a good day to search out songbirds (see windblown tree sparrow feathers below). But a terrific day for ducks!

Lots of pintails.

And northern shovelers (shoveling mostly) plus scaups (greater?)

Ocean-side, lots of scoters surfing. Both black and


Most fantastic sight (unpictured) northern gannets plunge-diving.

Down at Sandy Point, a zillion dunlins.

with black-bellied plovers (left). And what's that on the right?

The world famous one-legged Hudsonian Godwit (a "lifer" for me).

It was nice to get back up to Plum Island, if just for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Songs of Insects (Book)

Handsome Trig (from The Songs of Insects)

I scored a copy of Lang Elliot's The Song of Insects at a local used book for $4 last night. Today I discovered that the enclosed CD was cracked--that's why it was so cheap! So I was happy to find that the associated web site allows you to listen to the songs one by one. I highly recommend taking a spin through them, if just for the close-up views of some stunningly interesting creatures. Here's the link to the Master Species List.

Two favorites: the slightly musical conehead (actually, I like the name more than the song) and the common virtuoso katydid (which does have an elegant song).

Here's another site (more species, only some with recordings).