November – December 2011

11/10    Rambling Road – First sighting of slate colored juncos this winter. They were
ground feeding.  —George Baum

11/12    Seven Hills Lane – 6 cedar waxwings perched in a tree and in the lake were a flock of small diving ducks, most likely buffleheads?  —George Baum

12/9    Horsepound Road – It was warm enough that bees were flying, some forsythia was fooled into blooming, and winter seemed far away.

12/10    Kent – The full “Long Night” moon loomed large and bright in the east just before sunset providing a dazzling holiday decoration.

12/12    Lake Carmel – After a night of the lowest temperatures of the season so far, a rim of ice formed on the western side, a taste of things to come. Ruddy ducks continued to enjoy the open water near the causeway.

12/14    Rambling Road – A pair of squirrels began to construct a nest in the notch of a tree about 30′ above the ground and at eye level from our living room. One climbs up to the top of the tree and snips off small branches which it brings down to the growing nest. The other scours the ground for leaves which it brings up to the nest. These seem to be early morning labors. (What they do in the afternoon, I leave to your imagination.)  —George Baum

12/18    Clearpool – Bush-whacking through a mountain laurel thicket, I was startled by the chest-pounding thrump-thrump of a flushed grouse!

12/19    Nimham Fire Tower – From only the fourth landing (yikes) Manhattan sparkled in the distance on this clear day.

12/20    Dean Pond –  I was walking in front of this glacial pond when I saw the
beginning of the ice age in our neighborhood: I noticed that the pond was 1/3 covered in skim ice as the fall inversion progressed toward the solstice freeze.  —Ralph Szur

12/21    Fog and gentle rain mark the beginning of the solstice. Tomorrow the sun will set one minute later than today.

12/22    The wintergreen berries and blueberry stems shine bright red against the emerald mosses making a holiday scene at Clearpool Model Forest.

12/25    Merry Christmas in Kent.

12/26    The new moon allows Orion and others to dazzle in the night sky.

Patterson Environmental Park – Dry-furred, medium-brown mink in the Great Swamp very near the Patterson put-in. The mink was on the edge of some transparent ice…ran across the ice into the water then reappeared on a root ball, looking at me from around the left side of a tree. Disappeared and reappeared on the other side of the tree, sniffing the air and wondering what I was!  Very nice white chin/beard, chubby, and curious!  —Diana Lee

12/30    The Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count in Putnam County started before daybreak looking for owls. Many of the usual residents were observed. Missing were the northern species such as red polls and pine siskins. But lack of ice brought many waterfowl. A full accounting will be included in the January Nature Almanac.

Lake Carmel – Pileated woodpecker at feeder, briefly tried to hang onto perch and reach into birdseed!