While You Were Sleeping

Thousands are flying through the night now. As the dog days of summer hit Connecticut, complete with heat waves full of hot, humid weather, drought, and nights filled with the raucous, sharp, three- or four-syllabled buzzing of the Common Katydid (Pterophylla camellifolia), you might not usually think of birds flying south. But they are. ThisContinue reading “While You Were Sleeping”

Holding a Piece of Connecticut’s Tropical Sea Floor

If you could go back 500 million years in northwestern Connecticut, you would be standing at the eastern edge of the Proto-North American continent and along the shoreline of a tropical ocean. What a difference! Today the diversity of plants in this area is astonishing, largely because of the bedrock below. When most of usContinue reading “Holding a Piece of Connecticut’s Tropical Sea Floor”

These Shrubs are the Cat’s Meow

The catkins of the shrub Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) flower in early April along the edges of wetlands and wet meadows in southern Connecticut. On a damp, early spring day these flowers on bare stems light up the landscape like a collection of bright stars in a dark sky. The fuzzy, silvery catkins look likeContinue reading “These Shrubs are the Cat’s Meow”

In the Bitter Cold, Signs of Spring

Even with mid-February’s chill, ice, and snow, there are signs that spring is on the way. On a recent walk I noticed that the flower buds on Sugar Maples (Acer saccharum) and Red Maples (Acer rubrum) are beginning to swell. Trees have evolved internal mechanisms that sense winter’s passing. These mechanisms are influenced by anContinue reading “In the Bitter Cold, Signs of Spring”