Showing posts from June, 2017

The beauty of elderflowers fades fast

The beauty of elderflowers fades fast  by Sue Pike / the York Weekly/Portsmouth Herald/ Fosters' Daily/ Exeter Herald
Jun 20, 2017 
As the last days of spring turn to summer, the lyrics to that Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “June is Bustin’ Out All Over,” keep running through my head. A song about how May was full of promises that she didn’t keep and how “the crowd of doubtin’ Thomases was predictin’ that the summer’d never come” ... but it finally has. So, as summer arrives and June winds down, I remember these lines “June is a love song, sweetly sung.” That’s how I feel about my neighborhood. Everything seems to be blooming all at once - the viburnum, the hawkweed and daisies and the grasses in the marsh and meadows. A wonderful native shrub, elderberry, is blooming in my backyard - growing along the edge of the salt marsh, nestled in amongst some beach rose and overly aggressive multiflora rose with wild grape twining along the top. In the past I’ve focused on elderberry in the…

Catbirds: sounds like a cat but doesn't look like a cat

Catbirds: sounds like a cat but doesn't look like a cat By Sue Pike /  / Foster's Daily / Portsmouth Herald
May 31, 2017
I was walking down my street, minding my own business, when a mid-sized gray bird flew into the bushes. Instead of disappearing into the shrubbery it hopped out onto a fairly prominent branch and watched me as I watched it. It didn’t fly away, it didn’t run for cover, it just watched me until I walked away up the street. This is typical behavior for gray catbirds - they are inquisitive, vocal birds who don’t seem to mind being around people. Most of my favorite birds are ones whose songs I can identify. The catbird, one of my favorites, is no exception to this rule. They are mimics (related to mockingbirds) - warbling out a jumbled mix of other bird songs along with their most identifiable song, a downward slurring mew - sounds very much like a cat, hence the name. The other common mimic we have around here is the mockingbird - …

The bunny is fine - just back away from the bunny

The bunny is fine - just back away from the bunnyBy Sue Pike / /Fosters Daily/ the Portsmouth Herald 
May 24, 2017 
What animal first comes to mind when most of us think of spring? It is often the rabbit. Because of their rapid reproductive rates, rabbits have long been associated with spring - at least in northern seasonal climates where springtime equals lots of baby animals. I visited the Center for Wildlife last week to take a look at some of their rabbit patients. This is the beginning of the mating season for our local rabbits; the rare New England cottontail, the Eastern cottontail and the snowshoe hare. As a result, the Center for Wildlife has been getting lots of phone calls from people who have found baby rabbits that appear to have been abandoned. The big take home message from Kristen Lamb, the executive director of the Center for Wildlife, was that usually these adorable, helpless little bunnies are not actually abandoned and that if you find…