March 1979


PUSSY WILLOWS look like sparkling dew drops — or tear drops. They’ve been out a week or ten days. Bob and I went canoeing at Dead Creek today. We saw a FLOCK OF GEESE flying overhead, plus two ducks. Bob says he saw some ducks in a cornfield puddle yesterday. I think I heard PEEPERS. Saw another flock of geese off in the distance. This one landed rather than flying overhead. Saw a pair of BUFFLEHEADS. Just as we were finishing canoeing several flocks of geese, several hundred probably, arrived honking, wave after wave flying in and landing in a field across the water. It was like seeing dots swimming in front of our eyes. There were RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS chattering too. Lots of life here today. When we were almost home, we heard a loud chorus of PEEPERS calling from the pond and wet meadow at the foot of the hill.

The RING-BILLED GULLS have been back at Sumner Farr’s for about 10 days.

Bob saw a FROG crossing the road last night. He also heard a RUFFED GROUSE drumming this morning.

60s midday. Bob saw a GARTER SNAKE today

Found a big healthy looking POLISTES QUEEN walking around in the downstairs hall. I picked her up with two drinking glasses and put her outdoors in the sun. She crawled around for a few minutes then flew off. While I was watching her, I noticed two firefly-type beetles crawling around on the top of the wood box out front. 59 degrees at 9:20 a.m.: MOURNING CLOAK BUTTERFLY. Wings have raggedy cream color edges, blue dots, rich brown. Large brown body with long brown hairs. Long brown hairs on inner edges of wings too. Inch-long antennae with white dots at tips, enlarged at tips. Perched in full sunshine, also exposed to the wind, which makes the wings flutter. When it first lands it pumps its wings. The mourning cloaks were right where Bob said they would be, hanging around the huge ash tree and the fencerow that intersects Spear Memorial Highway. They blend in with the leaf litter on the forest floor. One looks a little like a leaf blowing in the wind. When I was looking down to write, it disappeared. I saw at least three when I arrived, but they’ve all disappeared now. I followed the fencerow uphill until I lost it. In the distance I spotted the big beech that the porcupine had worked over. Approaching it from below, I saw it was a den tree — entrance at ground level, droppings flowing out as if they were spilling from the tree. Droppings look like the same material horses drop. They’re shaped kind of like big kidney beans, some elongated. Can’t tell how recently the den has been occupied. One of the spots where the haircap moss grows so abundantly is still covered with snow. It’s a dark, cool open spot. I’m sitting in my meadow looking up at Camel’s Hump. It’s a beautiful clear day. Strong fresh wind. I could be happy here. Later I saw a sparrow in the tree outside the kitchen window and on the ground. It had a streaked breast — white field with dots. I didn’t notice whether it had a large central dot. Brown line through the eye, gray above eye, brown on top of head, back streaked brown, tail long and thin.

Saw a hawk soaring overhead hear Bristol. Saw a DEAD WOODCHUCK in the road near Manchester Center. Moths on the screen door when I got home tonight. Bob says he and Lucius heard a WOODCHUCK whistling when they were walking across Lucius’ back field yesterday. Bob says WOODCOCK might be back already.

GOLDFINCHES at the feeder this morning. One of the new little SPIDERLINGS just caught a cluster fly in its web, which is in the corner of the jug feeder window. Bob saw a ROBIN hopping on the lawn this morning. Bob and Mickey saw a MOURNING CLOAK BUTTERFLY in the woods this afternoon. They also saw another butterfly they couldn’t identify.

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