Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Home Authors Posts by Matt Pelikan

Matt Pelikan

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Wild Side: Butterfly milkweed

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If there is a particular plant worthy of being named the Vineyard’s National Wildflower, it is surely butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa. It’s a plant...

Wild Side: East Coast grasshoppers

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As interesting as I find grasshoppers to be, I have to admit that as a group, these are not particularly colorful insects. In keeping...

Wild Side: How long will it stay?

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The past couple of weeks have been fine ones for me, replete with interesting wildlife sightings and opportunities to explore new or inaccessible areas....

Wild Side: Leafhoppers

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Insects are currently enjoying a moment of mostly positive media attention, thanks to the remarkable mass emergence of periodical cicadas in parts of the...

Wild Side: Breeding birds

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As the month of May winds down, the bird breeding season peaks. Here’s a report on the nesting activity in and around our yard...

Wild Side: Dung flies

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In the natural world, everything is a resource. Even the most trivial or improbable niche has its occupier. Perhaps the most glaring example of...

Wild Side: Elegant field sparrows

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I have a weakness for sparrows, those “little brown jobs” that are the bane of beginning birders due to their apparent absence of any...

Wild Side: Mysterious fly

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As a student of insects, I spend a lot of time contemplating the daunting slopes of my personal Everest of ignorance. The class Insecta...

Wild Side: Pygmy grasshoppers

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The most favorite of my many favorite insects is surely the crested pygmy grasshopper, Nomotettix cristatus. It’s probably the smallest Orthoptera occurring on Martha’s...

Wild Side: Killdeer plovers

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Three species of so-called “banded plovers” occur regularly on Martha’s Vineyard. Of these, the piping plover, an intensively managed species that nests in modest...

Wild Side: Winter ants

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In a recent column about feeding wild birds (bit.ly/30c79CX,) I pointed out that food you put out for birds often ends up feeding other...

Wild Side: Harlequin ducks

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Waterfowl — and about 40 species of ducks, geese, and swans have been recorded on Martha’s Vineyard — may seem to be a boring...

Wild Side: Start small

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It’s the time of year when I receive many inquiries about feeding wild birds: Is it ecologically helpful or harmful? Should I feed birds,...

Wild Side: American kestrel

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While snowy owls and a remarkable invasion of finch species have dominated the attention of birders over the past few months, an attractive and...

Wild Side: Insect IDs

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Twenty years ago, it would have been nearly impossible for an amateur naturalist like me to study insects with any success. A few groups,...

Wild Side: Cooper’s hawks

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Cooper’s hawks are good-sized birds, distinctly smaller than a red-tailed hawk but about the size of a crow. Compared to either of those familiar...

Wild Side: The great fly hunt

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“Think like your prey,” say the hunters and fisherpeople. It’s good advice for naturalists, too. I can’t say it has helped me with fishing. The...

Wild Side: Fungus gnats

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Nearly everybody has at least a vague notion of what a fly is. To a biologist, “fly” means a member of the insect order...

Wild Side: Lapland longspur

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On Sunday, Nov. 8, I took advantage of ridiculously fine weather for a quick birding and bugging trip to Katama. In addition to the...

Wild Side: Listen for chirping

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As we move into November, there is almost always a dramatic shift in the weather on the Vineyard, and with that, a shift in...
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