Our Natural Places

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(Header image: Peace River swamp.) “The Butcher Bird’s been busy!” This was the third insect Gini had spotted stuck on a fence barb. The Butcher Bird is a nickname for members of the shrike family, in our case it’s the Loggerhead Shrike. They will capture a bug and impale it on a fence barb or thorn to make it easier for them to eat. It is not unusual to find caches of… Read More

Eight minutes. “Would it be okay if I go to the park in the morning?” “You know you don’t have to ask. Of course it would be okay.” “It’s just that I have this headache.” “You? Have a headache? That’s unusual!” “I think it’s a migration headache.” “Oh. C’mon, let’s go to bed.” She loves my witty repartee. Birders know the symptoms of the seasons, though. Each spring and autumn scores of… Read More

Crossing Saddle Creek on the footbridge, it seemed I had been transported to another place. First, there was a hill to climb – in Florida? The tall trees, the dense understory of lush ferns, curtains of vines hanging from huge limbs made it feel as if I was in a rain forest in the Amazon. A huge dragonfly rising from the path completed the illusion. In reality, I was exploring an unfamiliar… Read More

A review of last year’s records began as a search for early fall migration arrival dates. It soon devolved into a tragic tale of ancient Babylon, unfulfilled love and blood-soaked — I’m getting ahead of myself. The data indicated a few early American Redstarts might begin arriving as early as the last week of July. Where would be the most likely place to search for them? Several choices presented themselves. Wait. What’s… Read More

Once upon a time (stop me if you’ve heard this one), our primary consideration in planning an excursion into the Great Outdoors was limited to researching what birds might be found at a particular location. Was fall or spring migration in progress? Could we hope for wintering birds? Perhaps new bird families would offer an opportunity to observe chicks pestering parents for food or practicing flight lessons. As time progressed, so did… Read More