Showing posts from February, 2015

Grey winter's days

GOING NATURE’S WAY By Kate Crowley Fifty Shades of Grey is how I’d describe our weather over the past two months.  That is why I had to get outside on Saturday when the sun was actually visible in a blue, blue sky.  There isn’t enough snow to ski on, but I grabbed my poles anyway and used them to add some aerobic energy to the walk.  I was also hoping to find some inspiration for this column and as usual on any walk in the woods, I was not disappointed.  What I was looking for was some color; preferably red or yellow, something bright and cheerful.  I didn’t find anything like that. Instead, my eyes wandered over the crusty snow and into the shrubby woods and I found what I was looking for - inspiration and mystery.  The myriad tracks worn into the old snow caused me to stop often.  I studied where they came from and where they went, trying to interpret their stories.  Were they mice or shrews scurrying across the trail and diving into the tiny hole in the snow on the other side?  Was t…

Winter Finches

WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley On Tuesday the snowstorm blew in, carrying with it a flurry of finches. We were happy for both.  I was tired of looking at brown ground and the action around our feeders had become lackluster; the same old, same old.  But a combination of snow and wind was the alchemy needed for the transformation at our feeders.  The action was fast and constant and we walked from window to window trying to count the different species.  We had decided this would be a good day to do a bird count for Feederwatch.  The mix included black-capped chickadees, blue jays, red-breasted nuthatches, dark-eyed juncos, purple finches, pine siskins, and common redpolls, the last two being iconic irruptive species.  What this means is that every couple years or so, siskins and redpolls move south in large numbers from their normal winter range.   Scientists believe the reason for this migration is a shortage of cones (and their seeds) from spruce and pines, as well as the catkins (dangling …