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Identifying Trilliums

Identifying Trilliums

I took a walk yesterday in the Ed Piela Wildflower Garden in Stanley Park, Westfield.  The flowers are coming up both native and exotic.  My companions were interested in the different varieties of trilliums you see along the trail. First, we came to the Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) with its bold white flower and bright yellow center.  Many of these are in bloom her right now.  You might expect such a dramatic blossom would be hard to misidentify, but there is…

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The Greening of My Hills

The Greening of My Hills

I can distinguish no less than eleven shades of green in the hillside I see before me.  I name them: lime green, forest green, emerald green, olive green, sea green, shamrock, neon, yellow-green, pale green, blue-green and grass-green. This patchwork of hues brings a smile to my face this time every year here in the hilltown where I live.   Fresh, light-colored twinkly catkins stand out against the dark-colored pine needles that have weathered the winter.  Even a single rhododendron…

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Who put Pepper in my Footprint?

Who put Pepper in my Footprint?

Who put Pepper in my Footprint? View Video With about twelve inches of snow on the ground my husband and I decided to hike up Mt. Tekoa.  We took turns breaking trail as it was exhausting going.  If we didn’t make it to the top we agreed that was okay, but we’d trudge along as far as we could.  When we hit the ridge, snowmobilers had packed the snow and it was much easier going, so we made it to…

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Red Shoulder Hawks

Red Shoulder Hawks

Last summer I had a pair of red-shouldered hawks in the woods out back.  Every morning they would come up from the creek and circle with their repetitive cry. They are back this year, calling to each other.  I have been practicing with my long lens and caught these pictures on February 24.  I could hear them during the blizzard on March 14 and am wondering how they fared.  

It’s Raining Bacteria

It’s Raining Bacteria

I came out of work on Friday to a fresh layer of snow.  The storm had just passed and the sky was beautiful.  The sun was low so cast a beautiful glow onto those mid-winter storms against a deep blue sky.  I jumped into my car just as Science Friday was starting on NPR. Did you know that those clouds are full of bacteria?  What are they doing up there and should we be concerned?  You can learn more at…

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A Birch Falls in the Forest

A Birch Falls in the Forest

  Saturday night the cold front came through Western Mass.  With it came some pretty strong winds and one tornado.  The earliest tornado to hit Massachusetts ever.  It slammed through Conway so we gave Tom Ricardi a call.  No damage to his property or the birds although he lost power for most of the week. I was away that night, so when I returned on Sunday I was surprised to see a tree down in my backyard.  A big white…

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Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary Winter Lectures

Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary Winter Lectures

Winter lectures at the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary are offered free of charge on Saturdays at 1:30 pm.  Space is limited; call 413-267-9654 or email lectures@norcrosswildlife.org<mailto:lectures@norcrosswildlife.org>  to register. In case of inclement weather please call ahead, check our Facebook page or visit www.norcrosswildlife.org<http://www.norcrosswildlife.org>. Saturday, March 4th Gypsy Moth and Winter Moth Do you remember last summer? Joe Elkinton has been a professor of entomology in the Dept. of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst since 1980. His lab conducts research on population…

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Dogs Who Love Their Job

Dogs Who Love Their Job

Dogs who love their job Topaz, Violet, Venus, Ulu and Rosie are just five of the twenty beautiful Alaskan husky sled dogs I met last weekend.  Marla BB of Hilltown Wilderness Adventures brought them all to DAR State Forest so we could take a dog sled ride.  First I made the rounds to meet the pups, my face getting a thorough licking from each lean, white, friendly dog.  Then we led each eager worker to one of the two sleds…

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Porcupines on Tekoa

Porcupines on Tekoa

Tuesday was a beautiful winter day.  Skies were clear and blue with temps in the low 40s.  We decided to take a hike up Tekoa Mountain in Westfield.  Although the snow was soft, making hiking tiresome, it was perfect for tracking.  Along our hike we found deer, bobcat, and porcupine tracks.  In fact, we found lots of porcupine sign.  There was scat and there was plenty of hemlock bows scattered on the snow. Now porcupine tracks in deep snow are…

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CEDAR WAXWINGS

CEDAR WAXWINGS

CEDAR WAXWINGS On Friday, February 17th I was walking in Mittineague Park, accompanied by sunny, bright, blue sky. The day was sublime. For some reason, unknown to me, I stopped by the central meadow and looked up into the sky and then over to a barren maple tree. And there to my surprise was a small flock of Cedar Waxwings, perched not too close together, and not making a sound. The silence was stunning, like I was witnessing something special….

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