Home Authors Posts by Matt Pelikan

Matt Pelikan

263 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

Wild Side: Meadow katydids

When the average person thinks of katydids, which isn’t very often, they likely have in mind the true katydid, Pterophylla camellifolia. A species that...

Wild Side: Wiley robber flies

Everyone knows that evolution can take one basic design for a plant or animal and diversify it into scores, or even hundreds, of specialized...

Wild Side: Paper wasps

My gardening pride and joy is a patch of ‘Jersey Supreme’ asparagus I laboriously planted back in 2009. When two species of asparagus beetles...

Wild Side: Northern broken-dash

The northern broken-dash is a tiny brownish butterfly, not much over a half-inch long. Its peculiar, hyphenated name comes from the stigma on male...

Wild Side: Bug hunting

On a recent canoe outing up into channels in a salt marsh adjacent to Sengekontacket Pond, I was delighted to find a batch of...

Wild Side: Hoverflies

Despite the rainy weather that has afflicted us, our Oak Bluffs yard is bursting with flowers: catmint, clover, oxeye daisy, hawkweed, and coreopsis fill...

Wild Side: Counting birds

While I enjoy birding under any circumstances, I’m especially fond of “citizen science” birding: participating in projects or events that use amateur observers to...

Wild Side: Home invasion

Last Saturday, May 25, I paid a visit to a colony of mining bees I’ve been keeping an eye on. The site isn’t much...

Wild Side: ‘Overshoot’ events

Autumn is typically the peak season for Vineyard birding, as migrants stream south along the coast, taking advantage of ocean-moderated temperatures and resource-rich coastal...

Wild Side: The gray hairstreak butterfly

All butterflies are beautiful. But in my view, one particular group, the hairstreaks, are the prettiest of the bunch. Small (about the size of...

Wild Side: Cabbage whites

“Wild Side,” it has to be admitted, has a fascination with the obscure: Many of my subjects are small, rare, or hidden species that...

Wild Side: Wolf spiders

Among the most plentiful arthropods in very early spring are, perhaps surprisingly, spiders. Finding them takes some astuteness — most spiders active in early...

Wild Side: Pygmy grasshoppers

One of the stranger insects I’ve encountered on the Vineyard is Nomotettix cristatus, sometimes called the crested pygmy grasshopper. Pygmy grasshoppers in general compose...

Wild Side: Spring brings the red-winged blackbird.

The approach of spring is signaled by a host of changes: longer days, stronger sun, the onset of bird song, plants breaking dormancy. But...

Wild Side: Birding misidentifications

Birders really want to get it right: Correct identification is the central challenge of birding, and especially with less common birds, reports shape our...

Wild Side: Begin with the ring-billed gull

Casual observers often lump all gulls together as “sea gulls,” which infuriates birders, who view gulls as one of the most interesting groups of...

Wild Side: The flies of winter

Insects, of course, are primarily warm-weather friends. And with flies in particular — the order Diptera — summer is rife with familiar examples. Mosquitoes...

Wild Side: Christmas Bird Count

Last Saturday, Jan. 5, I participated in the annual Vineyard Christmas Bird Count, part of a vast national survey coordinated by National Audubon. Dozens...

Where is Martha heading?

If your mind dwells much as mine does on the natural world, it’s easy to give in to despair. Every day brings new insults:...

Wild Side: The red-bellied woodpecker

Things are always changing in the world of wildlife. Sometimes the process is slow and subtle; in other cases, though, things happen more quickly...