I had the pleasure of attending and videotaping the morning sessions of the 3rd Annual Berkshire Natural History Conference at Berkshire Community College. What a gem! Listen to this line-up, Tom Tyning answering the question Who Was Ralph Hoffmann?, Julie Richburg giving a tour of The Trustees’ Reservations and their Natural Communities, Bob Leverett giving us his top 8 Great Trees, Joe Kravitz exploring Global Climate Change in the Berkshires, and Jim Cardoza celebrating the Great American Turkey Success! Yehaa! Take a look down below for each of the videos:
So I was hoping that, like last year, I’d see the hundreds of tree swallows feasting on the waxy bay berries. But alas, the bay berries were still intact. BUT I did get to see hundreds of very cute surf scoters (colorful bills and white dots on the back of their heads), white-winged scoters (white eye liner), black scoters (all in black), and eiders fishing off of High Head. Scoter is pronounced like voters. Here is the video of the scoters, my video from last year, and some pictures from this year.
I had the great pleasure of going out on another butterfly walk with the great butterfliers, Tom Gagnon and Bill Bonner. We visited the Northampton Community Gardens on Burt’s Pitt Road. Wow, what a day. Tom and Bill led a fantastic walk through the Gardens, sponsored by the Massachusetts Butterfly Club. Take a look (click on any picture to enlarge):
I had the pleasure of watching an immature little blue heron fish at Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. Little Blues almost never get this far north and when they do, they are usually only found along the coast. What a treat! And it posed for some get pictures as well. Click on images to enlarge.
I celebrated a beautiful morning on the 4th of July at Fitzgerald Lake with Butterfly Club of Western Massachusetts. Led by Tom and Bill, we went out looking for the Dion Skipper, an endangered butterfly here in Massachusetts. It can be found on marsh milkweed, especially on the dam. Success, we found a beautiful specimen hanging out right where they thought it would be. But along the way, we saw an Appalachian brown, great spangled fritillaries, a monarch butterfly and a caterpillar, and a silver spotted skipper. As we were leaving, a red admiral showed up on the parking lot to add to the fireworks of the morning! Remember, if you click on a picture it will expand it:
I had the pleasure of watching a beautiful river otter fish at our local reservoir! Even though the lake was total ice, that didn’t seem to deter it. It poked a couple of holes through the ice and went diving! Too cold for me… Click on pics to enlarge:
I had the pleasure of going out on a hike with my good friend and fellow nature nerd, Michael Wojtech, author of BARK! Since there wasn’t fresh snow for tracking animals, we decided to track trees! Its not a simple as it sounds. They may not move very quickly, well not at all, but there are so many kinds! He gave me a quick tutorial on how to identify four of the many trees we were seeing. Take a look: