Friday, May 20, 2022
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Matt Pelikan

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Wild Side: Face to face with bees

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You probably think about bees from time to time. Their role as pollinators has come increasingly into the public eye in recent years, while...

Wild Side: One for the books

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There is some really weird stuff out there. Take the insect order Strepsiptera, commonly known as “twisted-wing insects” because of the bizarre wing form shown...

Wild Side: Eastern carpenter bees

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Pretty much everyone, I expect, has at least a nodding acquaintance with our large carpenter bees. Our sole species, Xylocopa virginica, the eastern carpenter...

Wild Side: The willow

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Saturday, April 2, could have been disappointing for an insect photographer. True, an early overcast gave way to a strong, early spring sun, and...

Wild Side: It’s here!

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The ebb and flow of the seasons ranks among the most predictable aspects of the natural world. Astronomers can pin, to the second, each...

Wild Side: The blue jay

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For various reasons, I’ve stuck pretty close to home this winter, doing most of my naturalizing in or near our tiny yard in Oak...

Wild Side: Ode to wasps

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Amid all the gloom that currently dominates the national media, the New York Times ran a real day-brightener (for me, at least) on Feb....

Wild Side: Tracking the elusive fox sparrow

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I wouldn’t call the fox sparrow a rare bird on Martha’s Vineyard. I can’t think of a winter that yielded no records at all...

Wild Side: To feed or not to feed

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Longtime readers know my ambivalence about the practice of feeding wild birds. By concentrating birds around an unnaturally rich food supply in a human-modified...

Wild Side: Making a strong showing

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The 62nd annual Martha’s Vineyard Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was held amid drizzle, fog, and an incredibly high tide on Sunday, Jan. 2. My...

Wild Side: House finches

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Perhaps the strongest trend evident this fall among the birds frequenting my yard in Oak Bluffs has been a resurgence in the number of...

Wild Side: White-throated sparrows

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An endless source of mirth among birders is the way common names for birds often ignore obvious traits and focus instead on obscure markings....

Wild Side: Wolf spiders

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“Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” urges the poet Dylan Thomas. The target of his petulance, I expect, was mortality. But as...

Wild Side: Monster or marvel?

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The praying mantis, that gigantic predatory insect of Vineyard yards and gardens, is suffering from a barrage of bad press. Known officially as the...

Wild Side: Orioles secret journey

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The desk in my home office faces out a window on the back of our house, affording a clear view of a row of...

Wild Side: Farms as habitat

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In addition to pecking out Wild Side columns for the MV Times, my working life includes roles with BiodiversityWorks and the Betsy and Jesse...

Wild Side: The buzz on bumble bees

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Everybody knows what bumble bees are: big, hairy, black-and-yellow insects flitting from flower to flower. At least eight species occur on the Vineyard, with...

Wild Side: Fuzzy fly mystery

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A typical field season generates more questions than answers for me, producing a lamentable sense of backward progress: As the years go by, questions...

Wild Side: Island bees

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Everybody has received the basic message about native bees: they are ecologically vital, and populations of at least some species have declined markedly, often...

Wild Side: Non-native earthworms

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A down-Island gardener just brought me a surprise: a pail of compost containing worms the gardener had correctly identified as Asian jumping worms, one...