Thursday, February 29, 2024
Home Authors Posts by Matt Pelikan

Matt Pelikan

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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...

Wild Side: Seaside goldenrod

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This past weekend, I focused my fieldwork on one of my favorite plants: seaside goldenrod, Solidago sempervirens. The common name accurately sums up the...

Wild Side: Birds from Lee

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Vineyard birders have a love-hate relationship with tropical storms. Like anybody else, we respect the enormous power of these systems, and dread the damage...

Wild Side: Sense of direction

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September is the peak of migration, not just for birds but for bats, butterflies, and dragonflies as well. We tend to think of fall...

Wild Side: It’s just a little crush

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Most of the time, I’m an equal-opportunity naturalist: Everything I see holds the same interest for me, and everything seems uniquely beautiful. But every...

Wild Side: The seasons are turning for birds

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In nature, as in anything else, arrivals and beginnings are relatively easy to spot. One day in early spring, birds appear that weren’t there...

Wild Side: The driveway is prime real estate

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If you were asked to describe good pollinator habitat, you’d probably come up with something like a wildflower meadow or a pollinator garden: green,...

Wild Side: Tree crickets

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Members of the insect order Orthoptera — grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids — can be found year-round on Martha’s Vineyard (immatures of a few species...

Wild Side: Sheep laurel and its lonely fan

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Across much of the Vineyard, on sandy soils both moist and dry, the most obvious late spring flowers may be those of sheep laurel,...

Wild Side: The mysterious chimney swift

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After the robin, the chickadee, and the blue jay, the chimney swift may have been the first bird I learned to identify. I was...

Wild Side: A hard frost, late

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When it comes to weather, every year is unique, perhaps more so on Martha’s Vineyard than in most places. And so far, at least...