The Mountain Log

A week-by-week look at what is happening in nature.

A special thanks to Virginia Barlow’s Ginny’s Calendar in Northern Woodlands Magazine.

Snowy Beach Perch - ©ingridtaylar

Week 14

Snow fleas are out hopping on the snow / Buttonbush, a wetland shrub, often keeps its fruits until the many waterfowl species that eat them return in spring / Saw-whet owls may call: too, too, too, too – repeated endlessly. Their short, mechanical whistles are sometimes mistaken for an alarm signal / Pussy willows will soon begin to open. Bring some indoors for an early taste of spring / Black, withered stalks of last year’s Indian pipes may still be erect


Queen Bumblebee by fr_zil

Week 13

Queen bumblebees fly in a zigzag course close to the ground, searching for mouse holes. The queen will begin a new colony in an abandoned mouse nest / Tom turkeys sometimes start gobbling from their roosts before dawn. They will keep gobbling for much of the morning / There are many sparrow species here now: field, chipping, song, tree, white-throated, and fox, to name but a few / Moose hair is in raggedy patches, for they are molting their thick winter coats


Photo by Steve Ryan

Week 12

Phoebes are back, often choosing nest spots where they will be disturbed, causing everyone to stop using the front (or back) door for a few weeks / Trees in flower: quaking aspen, big toothed aspen, cottonwood, red maple, silver maple, American elm, speckled alder, beaked hazelnut, and the willows / Winter wrens are early risers. Their high-spirited song is one of the longest and most complex bird songs known / Canada and snow geese are passing overhead


Photo of water bird

Week 11

Peak of black duck migration / Male common snipe have returned and begin their aerial displays before the females arrive, about two weeks later. Listen for their eerie, wavering sounds from wet meadows / Sharp-shinned hawks are arriving, sometimes following flocks of smaller birds and picking off the stragglers. Birds make up about 95 percent of a sharpie’s diet / The drumming of woodpeckers, like the songs of male songbirds, is a territorial advertisement


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