The vegetarian goldfinch

The goldfinch started tapping at my window on July 4. I work at a desk looking out at the swaying fingers of goatsbeard flowers, formerly white and fluffy but now brown with tiny seeds. The goldfinch liked to sit among the goatsbeard, occasionally plucking a seed. Several times a day, she flew over to the... Continue Reading →

Buds spring to life

Have you seen it? The tree buds are swelling, heading towards the emergence of leaves and flowers. Just today I saw, on the black birch saplings in the yard, bits of green between the brown bud scales, as the underlying tissue begins to expand. Two days ago, I noticed the slight darkening of pink patches... Continue Reading →

Insect Mysteries: Bees and caterpillar

As I’m walking down a sidewalk in Catskill, a honeybee catches my eye. It’s bright with whitish pollen—its legs and sides and even its back are covered. The bee sits on a Rose-of-Sharon leaf and grooms away the pollen, wiping its legs along each other and across its abdomen. Then it heads back toward the... Continue Reading →

Kids and nature deficit

Do you remember playing outdoors as a child?  I remember climbing a five-trunked maple tree, playing house in the shady gaps of a honeysuckle thicket, tasting the nectar of columbine flowers, stripping the seeds from plantain stems, for that satisfying prickle along the fingers. If you have kids, I hope they’re getting to have their... Continue Reading →

On the riverbank

It’s a sunny spring morning on the riverbank, and the birds are spectacularly busy. Barn swallows zigzag overhead or swoop in long arcs over the water as they snatch insects from the air. When they bring their catch to the nests high in the eaves of the bridge, a cacophony of cries rings forth as... Continue Reading →

Ducks and drakes celebrate spring

I don't know about the bees, but the birds seem to think spring is here – at least the ducks are in an amorous mood. Since my discovery of Coles Brook, I've taken to doing my laundry in River Edge, around a corner from the brook's meander towards Hackensack. While the laundry is drying, I... Continue Reading →

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