Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Home, Marlborough, Connecticut

Yesterday we had steady soaking rain all day. Last night I turned on the deck light hoping to get some early moths. A week ago I found a Eupsilia morisoni clinging to my window. It was around 35 degrees. Last night was in the 40’s and I found 3 moths of two species clinging to the same window overlooking the deck.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Nod Brook Wildlife Management Area, Simsbury/Avon, Connecticut

My father, my sister and her husband and 3 boys on bikes took an Easter afternoon walk down to the ponds near my parents house. The Chinese Witch hazel is still fragrant and flowering next to the power company parking lot.

The ice has melted off some of the ponds and we saw a few migrating ducks. On the large north pond we found a pair of Bufflehead and a flock of 11 Hooded Mergansers. The southern pond had 5 ring-necked ducks, a few Canada Geese and a Mallard or two.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Branford, Connecticut

This afternoon I went down to Branford with my family to visit our Battalion Surgeon and his Wife. We took a short walk along the Branford Nature Trail which runs through a nice salt marsh and along the old trolley tracks that used to lead out to Stony Creek.

The male Red-winged Blackbirds were staking out their territories in the Phragmites. Dr. Young told me that they see rails in the summer, sometimes running down the path. Out in the marsh a Herring Gull was bashing some type of shellfish against a rock.

We saw a few ribbed mussels sticking out of the salt marsh mud and it seems like a very good place to see Fiddler Crabs in the summer.

In April the Ospreys will come back to nest on a platform that has been put out in the middle of the marsh.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Shady Acres, Maryland

I flew down to Washington for a meeting with our Research group at the Holland Lab in Rockville, MD. I enjoyed the flight down. It was a very clear day and great for watching things out the window. My plane was a commuter jet that looked like a elongated Lear Jet. South of New York City there was much less snow cover. By the time we flew over southern Pennsylvania there was no snow left.

In Rockville, I noticed that Spring is a little further along than back in Connecticut. The Honeysuckle bushes are starting to get leaves and the daffodils have come up.

In a little drainage pond by the Metro Station in Shady Grove I found a pair of Ring-necked Ducks, several Hooded Mergansers including a very handsome drake and a small group of Canada Geese. Across the road in some tangled bushes a Carolina Wren sang and then hopped out on an exposed branch and continued. A Red-winged Blackbird was on its territory in a little marsh.

On my walk to the Lab I found the galls of a Tephridid fly on the stalks of Goldenrod from last year. These pretty little flies hatch out in April in Connecticut. Sometimes I gather a few of them and put them in a plastic bag so my kids can see them when they emerge.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

I had to go out to Martha’s Vineyard today for a blood drive where we were collecting blood samples for a continuing study on Babesiosis.

On the island I saw a small flock of Common Eiders as we crossed the causeway out of Vineyard Haven. On my way back to the mainland I saw more Eiders, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead and several Common Loons.

The the loons passed very close to the boat as I was leaving the harbor.

A storm was coming in and it was very windy and rainy on the crossing back to Woods Hole. About 4 miles from Woods Hole out in the channel I was surprised to see a flock of about 20 American Crows flying back toward the mainland. Maybe they had spent the day foraging in Nantucket. I know crows sometimes fly very long distances to feed before coming back to their roost.

It was raining steadily when I left the Ferry parking lot in Woods Hole. By the time I got to Fall River the rain turned to snow and sleet. It took me 5 hours to get home. Usually it takes less than 3.