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.

photo by lsk208

Week 18

Two-year-old beavers have left home and are searching for new house sites / Young fishers are following their mothers through the woods / Blooming: nannyberry, highbush cranberry, clintonia, and starflower / Gray tree frogs begin calling in late afternoon and will continue to deafen anyone nearby until after midnight / Hatching of blackflies, for the 180 millionth time. They’ve been around since the mid-Jurassic / Painted trillium is blooming in conifer woods


Fungus Scarlet Cup

Week 17

The fungus called scarlet cup is a sign that spring is on the way. Only an inch or two across, its little cups are lined with bright red, spore-bearing sacs / Male northern harriers arrive from the southern U.S. Females will return about 10 days later. Look for them hunting over open wet areas / When the snow melts, don’t blame shrews for those tunnels you see in the lawn. They do live there, but the tunnels were made by moles / Crows are building nests


Photo of water bird

Week 16

The earliest migrants are water lovers: red-winged blackbirds, gulls, kingfishers, and ducks are pouring north / Ravens are early nesters and may be seen now carrying building materials to the construction site / Heavy snow will send robins to sumac berries / Killdeer will return to dry fields soon after the snow retreats / Ermines are beginning to turn from white to brown / Screech owl females are sitting on four or five round, white eggs. The males bring food.


photo by Jamie McCarthy

Week 15

Some apple trees are showing pink buds / Daddy longlegs begin hatching from eggs laid late last summer / Blooming: swamp saxifrage, Mayapple, Jack in the pulpit, pussytoes / The first of perhaps three litters of northern short-tailed shrews is being born. These tiny animals have a poisonous bite and prey on mice and voles / Spring azure butterflies, silvery violet blue above, flitting through the woods signal the return of warm weather / Bobolinks begin to sing


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