Author Archive
Nature Walk: Writing the rails

Nature Walk: Writing the rails

On a nature drive last week we passed a place where a marsh and a roadside meet. Along some of this interface, tall stands of common reed (Phragmites australis) towered over our heads, and along other stretches bushy roses and willows hid the inner marsh from view. Between these dark, obfuscating patches of vegetation we found...
Nature Walk: Insect oracles

Nature Walk: Insect oracles

To all appearances this was a bad spring for moths and butterflies. Our porch light and lit-up windows have attracted fewer moths, and fewer species of moths, than any May and June in 30 years. Butterfly numbers have been down as well, making both night and day far less lively than usual. This has been...
Nature Walk/ Colors of change

Nature Walk/ Colors of change

An autumn as drab as this one may be a dismal disappointment, but an astute observer could have seen it coming. Throughout this growing season, deciduous trees suffered a slow, incremental agony. Demons, from drought to mold to mites, savaged and dulled their leaves. Strong fall colors were short-lived to virtually absent, especially the reds....
Nature Walk: A reclining lifestyle

Nature Walk: A reclining lifestyle

About a month ago a friend inquired about the identity of a common roadside plant. It swiftly grows up straight and tall, then collapses, branching and spreading outward over other plants, nearly smothering them. The friend added that it had short leaves arranged in circles around the vining stems, which had no tendrils or any...
Nature Walk: Grass, rush, sedge

Nature Walk: Grass, rush, sedge

Grass is simple for most people. It’s what cows and horses eat. It’s tall and slim in a field, short and in frequent need of mowing in a lawn. But it’s not really that simple. There are many species of grasses, some that don’t look much like grasses at all, and there are other plants...