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Matt Pelikan


Nature never gets old, on Martha’s Vineyard or anywhere else

The complexity of nature is virtually infinite, and in a half-century of study, I've barely scratched the surface.

Crickets and katydids make a racket on Martha’s Vineyard now

With sufficient stealth, patience, and a flashlight if it's night, you may be able to zero in on the sound of a calling Orthopteran in order to watch it sing.

Pet cats can skew the Martha’s Vineyard ecosystem

Domestic cats can live and hunt at densities many times higher than any natural predator would ever reach.

Big news – new butterfly found

The aptly named giant swallowtail, one of the largest and most strikingly marked butterflies occurring in North America, has paid us a visit.

Even on Martha’s Vineyard, robber flies have a bad name

These predatory insects have never been systematically studied on the Vineyard, so hard information about their diversity here is lacking.

Flora on Martha’s Vineyard will adapt as climate changes

In a few decades, this elegant orange butterfly, once a rarity, will almost certainly be a boring butterfly in Vineyard yards and gardens.

Plants, bees work together to keep things growing

Many kinds of plants, including most grasses and many trees, opt for the shotgun approach, releasing huge quantities of pollen onto the breeze.

From darners to gliders, dragonflies like Martha’s Vineyard

Our dragonflies are diverse, abundant insects, and major players in our ecology: they eat everything from gnats up to other dragonflies.

Three minutes at 50 stops make for a demanding day’s count

For the last 12 years or so, a high point of my birding year has been covering a Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) route for the for the U.

Recently rare on Martha’s Vineyard, house wrens are moving back in

Changing habitat and restrictions on pesticides have helped the population of house wrens rebound on the Island.

Garlic mustard threatens to take hold on Martha’s Vineyard

Unchecked, garlic mustard can shove aside all kinds of native plants, including trees.

Identifying sparrows is a challenge even for veteran birders

Chipping sparrows are all around us, but you're more apt to hear them than see them.

Several butterflies have arrived here ahead of schedule

Along with most other migrating birds and animals, butterflies have appeared on the Island much earlier than usual.

To some naturalists, “native” is neither relative nor debatable

Native plants do best here, according to some horticulturalists, but what exactly constitutes a native?

The complexities of dealing with nature on Martha’s Vineyard

Whether it's a hawk killing a chicken or a tick infecting a human, there's a price to be paid for living so close to nature.

Red-tailed hawks have year-round homes on Martha’s Vineyard

Some two dozen families have stopped migrating, content to he here all the time.

Identifying gulls can make even expert birders wince

A couple of gulls from the far north, the Iceland and glaucous, can give birders fits when they try to identify them.

Birds use tails for steerage; birders use them for identification

It's nothing fancy – a clump of long feathers controlled by muscles at their base.

What a warm winter portends for Martha’s Vineyard

At the most obvious level, the mild conditions are working out well for many species that remain active through the winter.

Migrating brant spend the winter in Ocean Park

Far more wild than the Canada Geese that have become year-round residents, brant are only here for a few months.