They’re neither helpful nor harmful from the human perspective, and their disappearance would likely have little ecological effect. But I value my acquaintance with them: knowing these insects, I feel like I have a secret perspective on the Vineyard landscape. And the season’s first Juvenal’s duskywing, bopping across a path or clearing, is always a welcome sign that spring is here to stay.
These grayish mystery critters were perfectly camouflaged against the sand. Unable to get a decent look, I had no idea what they might be.
The legs of Bombylius are long and delicate, and protruding from the front end is a fearsome-looking spike that might suggest a blood-sucking habit.
It’s a time when the world still looks dead and it’s hard to imagine any insects stirring, until you look more closely and see that, in fact, a surprising variety of hardy bugs are on the move. Even with frosty nights still lingering, ground beetles like this gnarly black Meloe are out and about, doing their thing.
The Island’s streams have always struck me as a bit incongruous in the Vineyard landscape: cold, gravel-bottomed, and often flowing quickly down fairly steep gradients, they seem like bits of Vermont transplanted to the coast.
Island birders will be out in force, looking for the southern, western, or even Eurasian bird that took a wrong turn.
Twenty years ago they were a true rarity here, but no longer.
Not so likeable, perhaps, but rodents are versatile, resourceful, and necessary.
The unceasing ebb and flow of migratory bird populations ensure that every season offers specialties that can’t be found at other times of year.
Martha’s Vineyard poet-turned-novelist Michael West writes a Shark Tournament thriller.