Naturalist/Nature Watching

Want to know if an upcoming storm will dump heavy, wet snow or soft powder perfect for skiing? You’ll probably need to check a meteorologist’s forecast. But to understand why the white stuff falls, and which atmospheric conditions create different kinds of snow, you can learn the basics yourself. Here’s a primer from Mike Carmon,…

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For millennia, birds have migrated lengthy distances, guided by the moon and stars. But as dark skies dwindle around the globe, scientists wonder how light pollution affects this natural phenomenon. One unlikely light source provided a unique research opportunity. For one night a year—September 11, in the midst of warblers’ and small passerines’ migration—two beams…

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Although chances are low you’ll see a North American bobcat while hiking, the elusive nocturnal predators are prowling the Northeast in increasing numbers. In fact, the bobcat population has grown so large in New Hampshire that officials considered allowing the animals to be trapped and hunted again. Public outcry stopped that plan in its tracks,…

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We started looking for a moose as soon as we arrived in the Maine Woods. Around each bend in the road, across every marsh or pond, we expected to see the gangly outline of the state’s most iconic mammal. So on our last evening, while walking a waterfront path below AMC’s newly rebuilt Medawisla Lodge…

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I’m going to find all of them!” my 5-year-old son, Gus, declares without missing a beat. We’re sitting around the kitchen table, as Gus and his sister, Mabel, age 7, ready their “acorns”: 22 wooden discs they’re painting with bright colors. My question to them: How many of these discs can you find a week…

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Moose roam more widely than usual beneath the colorful leaves of fall. It’s the period known as the rut, when male moose travel far and wide in search of a mate. So if you’re out leaf-peeping this season in New England, you’ve got a better than usual chance at spotting one. To help gauge your odds, here’s…

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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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