a childhood saved

Nature Journal 1974-75

The text here is transcribed from my original handwritten notes, edited to fix spelling mistakes. Editorial comments or clarifications are in [brackets], and the text boxes on the right provide more detail on individuals, events, or situations highlighted with a yellow box (yellow box) in the journals.



meadow vole

4: Snowfall yesterday and last night, about 5 1/2 inches.

11: We now have 8-12 inches of snow on the ground, with a quarter inch of solid ice glaze! Red-breasted nuthatch on suet for the past few days.

12: Woke up this morning to a gorgeous sight: the moon shining through the icy trees. Sunrise was spectacular—clear sky—all was a bright silver. Icicles hanging from tree branches. Now, at sunset, it is indescribably gorgeous.

13: Coldest temperature this morning was 2°F above zero. This is coldest thus far this winter, also it equals last winter's coldest temperature (on February 18!).

14: Temp was 0°F this morning.

18: Again 0°F this morning.

22: We're experiencing January thaw—temperature was 48°F this afternoon! Also, I received The Conservationist magazine and saw my article in the Earth Almanac on page 48.

28: A few days ago, I received a letter from Mrs. Dorothy W. Crumb, chairman of the host committee of the North American Hawk Migration Conference.


1: January has ended, and with it, the thaw. Yesterday, temperature was in the high 50s. Today in the high 20s, low 30s.

6: Since last entry, we've had temperature of 8°F and about 1 1/2 inches of snow. We are due for lots of snow tonight.

7: Only 1 or 1 1/2 inches of snow.

14: Experiencing another thaw-ish period. Spring, though, is really getting close: saw first redwing today! He was singing his "konk-a-reeee" song. Titmice, chickadees, cardinals, song sparrows all singing.

18: Skunk cabbage flowering. Will try to get an earlier date next year. Tulip trees are just about flowering. Andromedas' buds very large, will flower soon. Went on a walk with Dave and Jon B. today, found 2 pellets, one probably hawk, sharpshin or Cooper's; other owl, great horned or long-eared or barred. Found these in evergreen grove in back of Furnace Brook.

22: Saw a chipmunk and female goldfinch today.

23: Saw two male redwings today.

24: Three or four redwings singing constantly this morning. Grackle singing near house. Red-bellied woodpecker and mockingbird around.

28: Flicker today. Many chipmunks.


2: Mallards (a pair) in the lake this morning. Many redwings and grackles. I wrote those words at 8:00 this morning. At 11:47 this morn, a pile of snow came down almost immediately. No preliminary flurries, just "kaboom!" In two minutes, and this is no exaggeration, almost everything in sight was covered. Now at 11:05, it is still coming down like a blizzard! Snow stopped around 11:15 or so, rain began. All snow melted.

4: Temp in the low 60s today.

5: Temp in the low 60s again.

6: Coltsfoot flowering, much lake ice gone, geese are common (not in lake, but overhead).

17: Myrtle flowering, also, on Mt. Airy Road, there was a flock of about 150 redwings! This doesn't usually happen in spring, I think!

21: April showers? We've got a big rain here in March. All day long, steadily. Saw a pair of mute swans today in Lake Woodrock, first time I've seen them in Lake Woodrock.

26: Two hooded mergansers in the lake.

29: Snowing like a blizzard.

30: Over 7 inches of snow!

31: Almost all snow gone.


5: Peepers really peeping!

17: Usual spring flowers up on schedule, we had a temp of 72°F around April 6or so. Saw one broad-wing hawk today.


14: Saw a great blue heron perched outside my window. He may stay around!

blue-winged warbler


22: Found a dead pygmy shrew today, also, a young robin out of the nest, fed it, put it in a substitute nest. We are seeing broad-wings every day now.

23: Heard a Carolina wren today.


10: As last year, a millipede "invasion." Heard a Carolina wren today, broad-wings nearly every day.

11: Temp this morning was 48°F!

20: Saw a large hawk, possibly an immature goshawk, near our bird feeder. A few leaves have been falling from birches, etc.; sumac turning color, Japanese barberry turning.

26: A small grackle-get-together, another sign of fall. Leaves beginning to fall on a fair amount of trees (not a great amount of leaves, but enough to let you see a difference).

30: Four wood ducks in the lake this morning. All were the color of females, but some (or all) could have been males in the eclipse pattern.


5: Temp this morning was 47°F. Leaves are beginning to turn colors on most trees. Really feels like fall!

8: Saw a large flock of grackles, about 450 or so. Fairly quiet compared with the usual. Ruby-crowned kinglets are back.

15: Temp this morning was 46°F. Many leaves turning. Quite a few "spring flowers" coming up again: strawberry, hedge bindweed, dandelions.

20: Have been hearing screech owls nearly every evening, now.

23: Temp this morn was 44°F. Tonight, temp at 9:00 is 40°F.

24: Temp this morning was 36°F. Later on (7:00) got down to 34°F, first frost. Three Canada geese, 4 wood ducks in lake today. [Later] Very important sighting today: 25 Canada geese in the lake today, but with them, a single blue goose! First time I ever saw one. My father saw him too. [Note: the "blue goose" has since been classified as a variant of the snow goose.]


19: Temp this morning went down to 24°F. Bird bath froze solid. White-throated sparrows singing. Juncos have been back for about a week. we've had around 7 or 8 frosts so far this fall. We can certainly call this weekend "the weekend of he falling leaf"—as soon as the sun hit the frosty trees this morning, the leaves started falling like snow. Birches (sweet, especially), oaks, hickories, lost most of their leaves today. Our mulberry by the lake lost every one of its leaves just today—they were still green. All the leaves were on the tree yesterday.

20: Temp this morning was 26°F. Bird-bath again froze solid.

21: Temp this morn was 23°F.

26: Saw two tremendous flocks of grackles today, about 2,000 birds in each flock.


2: Saw a red-tailed hawk this morn

6: Had a nice conversation with two screech owls this evening around 5:15. I brought them both in by imitating their call, and they were on branches above me. I got a flashlight on one, and saw it was the red phase.

9: Evening grosbeaks have been very common for about a week now.

14: Possibility of our first snow tomorrow.

15: Kids in school said they saw some flurries during the night, I did not.

21: First snow flakes for about 20 minutes this evening, more expected tonight.

23: 20°F this morn. Lake totally frozen over.

24: Ice melted late this afternoon.

25: 6:30 am: snowing, medium speed, but very large, wet flakes, interspersed with rain. 11:00 am, still snowing lightly, dry flakes.

26: Total "accumulation" from last night about 1/32 inch.

27: 19°F this morn. Lake froze up again.


3: Some more snow this evening, quite light. No appreciable accumulation. Lake still slightly iced over in patches.



22: Redwings back, spring breakup in lake beginning.

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