Naturalist/Nature Watching

It happens to the best of us. You’re playing outside with friends at dusk, and out of nowhere the sky explodes into an intense canvas of color and light. You fumble for your camera, envisioning your next smash-hit Instagram post, and begin to shoot. But by the time the tie-dye skyline has faded to deep ocean blues, you realize your photos are too blurry and dark to…

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If a lot of acorns are knocking you on the head and crunching underfoot, it might be a boom year for nuts in your neighborhood. Trees don’t make acorns at a steady pace. Oaks, for instance, “will produce very few acorns for three, four, or five years. Then, all of a sudden, they’ll produce 100 times as many,” says Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist with…

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Untouched by humans for centuries but ravaged by deer and nearby development, an old-growth forest in suburban New Jersey was foundering until ecologists stepped in, revisiting the question of wilderness versus management. You wouldn’t guess from the patchwork of yards, golf courses, and I-95 feeder roads surrounding it, but an ancient forest stands in suburban…

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If you happen to leave an outside light on overnight at this time of year, you may be greeted by one of our silk moth species in the morning. This male Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus) was photographed at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center one early July morning. With a wing span of 4-6 sizes…

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The morning was cold and gray, and the air felt heavy, like electricity pulsed through it—like waiting, wondering, restless movement. It smelled like water and leaves or maybe early snow. As the sun painted blazes through the fog, I began to make out motionless black forms on the filmy expanse of water, between the oranges…

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For many people, the loon’s eerie call is the quintessential sound of the wilderness. In an effort to protect this primitive and iconic bird (which faces threats such as human disturbance, habitat loss, and climate change), AMC Maine staff and guests, plus hundreds of volunteers statewide, are set to take part in the Maine Audubon…

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If you’re in the right place at the right time this summer, an endangered species the size of a postage stamp may flit past you in a flash of blue wings and gray underside. Karner blue butterflies, named after a town in the Capital District region of New York where they were first discovered, have…

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On May 5th, 2017 Springfield, MA became the 27th Urban Migratory Bird City in America. At a signing ceremony at the Springfield Science Museum, the city’s Mayor Dominic J. Sarno signed an Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds along with key partners such as The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and…

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Of the hundreds of hikes I’ve taken in my life, the night hikes really stand out. Even the most familiar terrain feels and sounds different once the sun sets, especially if you plan ahead and know where to look. Kids love these nocturnal adventures, as well. Not only does night hiking mean staying up past…

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Black fly season, which runs from about Memorial Day to mid-June in the North Country, scares off a lot of people. And who could blame folks for not wanting to be surrounded by swarms of blood-sucking bugs? But this is also prime time for viewing alpine flowers and other harbingers of summer, so Nicky Pizzo,…

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