Migration Station

For the last two weeks I’ve been seeing the monarchs migrating through. No, I don’t mean that convoys of kings and queens have been trucking down the interstate. I’m talking about the most royal of butterflies, the orange, black, and white monarch. Monarchs share the upstate with many butterflies, the brown skippers, the yellow-green sulphurs, the yellow and black and the blue...

There’s a Vast Green Desert Among Us

I don’t spend much time channel surfing, but the other morning I was stuck in the house waiting for the cable man, and I wandered into a program on ANIMAL PLANET called “Backyard Habitat.” I’ll admit I was fascinated. On the program a perky former Miss Florida in khaki pedal pushers and a friendly naturalist from the National Wildlife Federation fly all over the country...

Snakes in the Yard

It’s been over a year since I wrote about snakes, but I think it’s time. SNAKES ON A PLANE has brought my reptile friends into the spotlight, and once again they’re getting a bad rap. I have enjoyed encounters with snakes for three decades now and still mark my years by the first snake I see in the spring. The year 2006 it was a Northern Brown Snake out in the yard, a slug,...

A Snapping Turtle in a Pick-up Truck

“Snappers are the most widely distributed of North American turtles … they are abnormally reclusive, and when one makes a public appearance it is not an event to be passed over lightly,” writes my friend Franklin Burroughs, a low-country South Carolinian transplanted 30 years ago to Maine, Burroughs is writing about a big female snapper he’d chanced upon in the dirt road...

The Beavers

I just walked with my dog down to the creek. We dropped a few dozen feet of elevation off the ridge where we built our house into the board flood plain of the Lawson’s Fork. Then we turned west and hiked up the sewer right-of-way to the confluence with Cold Water Branch. The smaller creek got its name because in its headwaters seven springs rise. For half a century that whole little draw...

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