Thursday, January 21, 2021
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Garden Notes: Light-driven

Each day now we receive about one minute more daytime at sunset. Sunrise is about to start earlier too. According to the adage, “as the days lengthen, the cold strengthens” — we are still...

Wild Side: Insect IDs

Twenty years ago, it would have been nearly impossible for an amateur naturalist like me to study insects with any success. A few groups, to be sure — butterflies and dragonflies, for example —...

Garden Notes: Fresh start

A lot has happened that we did not imagine at this time one year ago. Stating the obvious, the year 2020 has been a procession brimful with unusual experiences and painful adaptations, one after...

Wild Side: Cooper’s hawks

Cooper’s hawks are good-sized birds, distinctly smaller than a red-tailed hawk but about the size of a crow. Compared to either of those familiar species, though, a Cooper’s hawk creates a distinctly different impression...

Garden Notes: Conjunctions, fruit trees, and summer

Why do you suppose there is so much trash appearing recently along Island roadsides? Just asking. Respect our Island home! A taste of winter provided by the large storm system overflying the region on Thursday...

Wild Side: The great fly hunt

“Think like your prey,” say the hunters and fisherpeople. It’s good advice for naturalists, too. I can’t say it has helped me with fishing. The average striped bass, I’ve reluctantly concluded, is smarter than I...

Garden Notes: Biding time

November 2020 was a tumultuous month, and another November windstorm blew it right out the door on the 30th. Yet another blustery front came through last weekend; brief power disruptions accompanied it, as well...

Wild Side: Fungus gnats

Nearly everybody has at least a vague notion of what a fly is. To a biologist, “fly” means a member of the insect order Diptera, unique among insects in possessing only one pair of...

Garden Notes: Self-seeding

“As long as one has a garden, one has a future; and as long as one has a future one is alive.” — Frances Hodgson Burnett in “The Gardener Says” We admired the last of...

Wild Side: Lapland longspur

On Sunday, Nov. 8, I took advantage of ridiculously fine weather for a quick birding and bugging trip to Katama. In addition to the usual suspects, I was lucky to come across one of...

Garden Notes: Passages

These mild early November days have had gardeners out working busily in 60-plus degree sunshine, simultaneously enjoying them but also anxious about when and what our climate “should” be doing. Why trees shed leaves Leaves fall...

Wild Side: Listen for chirping

As we move into November, there is almost always a dramatic shift in the weather on the Vineyard, and with that, a shift in what wildlife is around. We can no longer pretend that...

Design Q + A: Making a great room in Harthaven

The project: A family wanted a renovation of a Harthaven home that would include creating one large gathering space from several smaller rooms. The new great room would feature a large kitchen, a dining...

Garden Notes: True autumn

Clocks return to Eastern Standard Time on Sunday morning; stronger morning light helps to open sleepy eyes. The deepening color of October has been a treat this year, probably due in part to drought,...

Wild Side: Pine siskins coming to feed

One of the more exciting types of avian events is a finch irruption — a large-scale movement of one or more finch species south of their usual range, usually in fall or winter, and...

Garden Notes: Taking the long view

I like the thought, “The wind is the forest’s pruner.” The piles of leaves, twigs, and branches raining down in these gales of wind are assets to bank in compost bins, tumblers, piles, and heaps,...

Wild Side: Changing seasons

As autumn progresses and the natural world begins shutting down for winter, I like to play a game of “the last X of 2020.” The last chimney swift. The last meadow katydid. The last...

Garden Notes: Fall finish-up

The seasons come and go in their sequence, and now it is autumn. Gardening too is a series of sequences, both gardening for ornament and gardening for food, through our circle around the sun....

Wild Side: Predatory beetles

While I have my favorite places to look for insects, I’m always alert for habitats that look like they might hold something interesting. This tactic recently took me onto a vacant lot in Edgartown,...

Garden Notes: Fall weather

The Island has been lucky so far; even luckier would be to receive rainfall — nothing more — from a passing tropical disturbance. If you contemplate donating to relief efforts, and there are many,...
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