Friday, July 12, 2024
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Matt Pelikan

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Wild Side: Bee happy

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With more than 200 species of bees having been documented on Martha’s Vineyard, it’s no surprise that our bee fauna exhibits a huge amount...

Wild Side: Planting for wildlife

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As environmental awareness grows among the general population, and as the benefits that can come from creating even small-scale wildlife resources grow more apparent,...

Wild Side: Eye of the naturalist

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Sometimes described as the founder of American ornithology, Alexander Wilson (1766–1813) was a naturalist and painter of prodigious talent. The nine volumes of his...

Wild Side: The Discreet, Though Plentiful, Red-Eyed Vireo

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Standing on a hilltop in the woodland of the Chilmark moraine this past weekend, I experienced a single, dominant impression: Red-eyed vireo is one...

Wild Side: Yellow-throated warbler

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Well, he’s back again.  In one of the more bizarre episodes in the history of Martha’s Vineyard bird life, a male yellow-throated warbler is once...

Wild Side: Colletes, the cellophane bees

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My current favorite bee genus? Why, thank you for asking: Colletes! Colletes isn’t the most diverse bee genus, and its members are not the prettiest...

Wild Side: The inscrutable dandelion

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If there’s one point I truly insist on regarding natural history, it’s that the most common organisms and the most familiar settings can be...

Wild Side: The frustrating season

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Ah, early spring! Or, as we know it here on Martha’s Vineyard, the Season of Intense Frustration. Quite routinely in early April, mainland Massachusetts...

Wild Side: Insects of water and air

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a gaping void in my natural history knowledge: the biology and ecology of insects that have aquatic...

Wild Side: The osprey cometh

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It’s hard to think of a species more beloved among Vineyarders than the osprey. This long-winged, black-and-white bird was, like many other raptors, nearly...

Wild Side: Brown thrashers have become rare here

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A recent report in a Vineyard birdwatching Facebook group called to mind a species I hardly ever think of these days: the brown thrasher....

Wild Side: Reconsider ducks

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The late, great Vern Laux, perhaps the best birder ever to trespass his way across the Vineyard, had little patience with ducks. Oh, he’d...

Wild Side: Shoreline bugs

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I’ve been thinking a lot about shorelines lately, and the complex mix of challenges and opportunities that the meeting of land and water poses...

Wild Side: Savannah sparrows

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Across its vast geographical range, Savannah sparrows show a remarkable range of variation in features such as bill size, coloration, and preferred habitat. About...

Wild Side: Titmice are fun to watch

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As our excellent planet wraps up another orbit around its star, most naturalists probably reflect a bit on their activity over the past 12...

Wild Side: Dovekies may show up

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Since it seems to be impossible to write about alcids — that is, the auks — without mentioning footballs, I’ll get it over with....

Wild Side: Odd ducks

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If you’re fond of odd-looking birds, you’re in luck! Late fall is prime time for viewing American coots on Martha’s Vineyard. A member of...

Wild Side: The 3D chess of a Cooper’s hawk

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This past weekend, as I was doing some final fall chores in our Oak Bluffs yard, I noticed an elongated blob high in a...

Wild Side: The yellow-rumped warbler

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Last Saturday, Oct. 28, saw a flurry of activity around the parking loop at the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah. Some of the activity...

Wild Side: Chipping sparrows

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October is sparrow season on the Vineyard, and indeed throughout southern New England. This is the month when all the sparrow species that occur...