Eagles and ospreys seem equally at home hunting in both salt and freshwater, but there is also one bird, notably smaller though on par with those notorious piscivores in their fish-catching ability, that is now returning to the area after a winter farther south: the belted kingfisher.
The start of April is the start of angling in rivers and streams in Maine and is also the start of the spawning run for one under-loved, large, native, and hard fighting “rough fish:” the white sucker.
Turkey vultures are one of the many essential workers of our ecosystems. They help manage waste and reduce the spread of disease through their rather gruesome efforts and they are returning to Maine now after a winter spent farther south.
Riverside-dwelling silver maples flower in early spring, an important adaptation for this riparian tree.
Fishers are large members of the weasel family, Mustelidae, and they are giving birth to tiny helpless young now.
While the winter world is one of few active bugs, it certainly isn’t completely devoid of them, and I am always charmed when I see the occasional spider, snow fly, or stonefly creeping across the snow. But I have perhaps never been more surprised than last winter when I found a plump, sausagey-looking caterpillar making tracks after a fresh snowfall as I was shoveling my driveway: the winter cutworm caterpillar.
Many of our local songbirds will begin their pre-breeding activity in only a few short weeks, so now is a prime moment to clean out those old nest boxes or make some new ones.
Tree and shrub buds are truly incredible things. In the late summer and through the fall, while our eyes may be transfixed by the phenomenal shades of reds, oranges, and yellows that make that time of the year iconic in New England, there is an equally magical display happening in miniature. Now, you can unleash some of that magic indoors.
For the animals that stay active in winter, finding food, staying warm enough, and getting ready for mating season are the priorities. Any energy wasted on something else can be a fatal mistake. Knowing this, our black-capped chickadees have a complex social structure that helps prevent wasting energy from arguing in the winter.