The COVID-19 pandemic continued. Predominantly mild temperatures, albeit punctuated from time to time with short-lived cold snaps and one late October snowstorm, were welcome as nature-watchers and outdoor-lovers made the most of the season. Birds and other animals, many of them on the move in this migratory period, provided a pleasant distraction.
As predicted, the region experienced an irruption of several boreal species
that were moving about in search of winter food sources.
. . . COVID-19, concerned, cautious, cooped-up, the coming of spring, and:
Creeper, Brown (Alan Rawle) Cowbird, Brown-headed (Ted Purcell) Comma, Eastern (AR)
Caught! (Doug Wipf) Crow, American (Bill Platenik)
Climbing porcupine (AR) Curious garter snake (Anne Greene)
Cat (bobcat) scat Chipmunk, Eastern (BP)
Cloak, Mourning (AG) Canada Goose family 18 April 2020 (AR)
Crow, American (BP) Chewink aka Rufous-sided Towhee (AR) Cardinal, Northern (DW)
Chipmunk, Eastern (AG) Cropping up--Marsh Marigold (AR)
Chickadee, Black-capped (BP) Chipping Sparrow (TP)
Chickadee, Black-capped makes an exit. (DW)
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) Watercolor painting by Barry Van Dusen. Unusual color variant with orange petals.
The scientific data are not at our fingertips, but we can all recall an early December snowfall of 24 inches followed by very little snow for the rest of the winter. Overcast and gloomy gray days with warmer temperatures didn't always result in as much precipitation as we might have liked. Streams, ponds, and waterfalls seemed to be at highest levels in February, and mud season so far hasn't been as dramatic as in some years when oozing ground made hiking low areas impossible. Despite the often "open" season with passable trails and "balmy" temperatures in the thirties, most of this period's FROM THE FIELD contributors enjoyed nature in their backyards and at birdfeeders.
It seems appropriate to use Leap Day of the 2020 Leap Year to note some interesting nature sightings that preceded the early December 24-inch snowfall that took place before winter had actually arrived--an atypical calendar date to reflect the atypical course of our weather patterns. Heading into late autumn with a very wet October and some fine colors in the landscape, weather patterns overall continued to indicate that central Massachusetts is experiencing the same climate disruption as every other place on earth. In our neck of the woods that translated to overall warmer temperatures extending further into the autumn months. The impact on wildlife will become known over time. Meanwhile, here are sightings to add to the body of information.
THANK YOU to Ted Purcell and Drew Vitz for the photographs.