Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Home Authors Posts by Matt Pelikan

Matt Pelikan

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Wild Side: A new perspective

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a human being. As such, while there are exceptions, you’re likely more than five feet long and weigh...

Wild Side: Unsolved mystery

Ah, there are few things better than a natural history problem solved! A tough ID nailed down, a droll bit of ecology revealed. Such...

Wild Side: Belted kingfishers

A bit larger than a blue jay, belted kingfishers are chunky birds with a scraggly crest on their head that gives them their regal...

Wild Side: Short-eared owls

I could never pick just one favorite bird. But surely on the short list would be the short-eared owl, a crow-size, brownish bird of...

Wild Side: Low on the food chain

A high percentage of the meadow voles that I see are in a difficult situation indeed: dangling from the talons of a red-tailed hawk...

Wild Side: Stranded leatherback

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, word of a dead leatherback turtle beached on Cape Poge turned up on social media. I was one of several...

Ask an Expert: Where can you find a snowy owl on Martha’s Vineyard?

At least one of these magnificent Arctic birds of prey turns up here most winters, and in so-called “irruption years,” when prey shortages or...

Wild Side: Blue jays

When it comes to migration, the blue jay, among our most familiar and recognizable birds, plays by its own rules. By and large, the...

Wild Side: American copper

As the days shorten and the butterfly season begins to wind down, the Vineyard appears to be enjoying an unusually good late-season showing by...

Wild Side: On the hunt

Where have you been all these years, Encoptolophus? That’s what I want to know. Clouded grasshopper (Encoptolophus sordidus), a boldly marked, grayish insect, turned up...

Wild Side: Counting katydids

When it comes to what’s happening in the natural world, you don’t know what you’re missing. No, really: If you know you’re missing something, you...

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...

Ask an Expert: What bird makes those big nests on top of poles around...

Those are osprey, or Pandion haliaetus, if you’re a biologist. A summertime resident on the Island, the osprey is a common nesting species and...

Ask an Expert: What’s so great about a striped bass?

Unsurprisingly, since we live on an island, Vineyarders look to the sea for inspiration, recreation, and food. This is an island of fisher folk,...

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...

Ask an Expert: Are those actual wild turkeys walking around?

Well, yes and no. They are turkeys, certainly: Meleagris gallopavo to ornithologists. But they’re better thought of as feral than as truly wild. Truly...
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