The House Sparrow is perhaps the most adaptable and prolific bird species on the planet. Often called English Sparrow, its scientific name Passer domesticus is Latin for small, active bird belonging to the house. It is native to Europe and has spread to all corners of the world. Its adaptation follows...
Winter in Swoope The grasslands in Swoope are brown and dormant. Late in the afternoon I stand on our deck with my binoculars and search the wide-open pastures for Short-eared Owls. I can see for several miles north and sweep slowly 180 degrees to the south. First, I spot a...
"If you save your own backyard, then you start to save the world," wrote the late Winston Nanon, the man who saved the Caroni Swamp and the bird that became the national bird of Trinidad—the Scarlet Ibis. Virginia Paved Over the Nesting Site of 25,000 Migratory Seabirds We have something...
Jeanne and I recently traveled to the most remote island of the British Virgin Islands—Anegada. Most mornings, we were the only people on the beach at the Anegada Beach Club. The beaches here are the most beautiful we have ever experienced with white sand and crystal clear water loaded with...
I watched it devour a whole nest of tent caterpillars. Yellow-billed Cuckoos, we need a lot more of them - they prefer to eat hairy caterpillars like the eastern tent caterpillar that defoliate trees. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus, sometimes called the rain crow, nests and forages in the riparian forests along our...
There are many harbingers of Spring in Swoope; the yellow blooms of daffodils and forsythia, the sounds of spring peepers, and pastures changing from brown to green are only a few. My favorite harbinger of Spring is the arrival of Tree Swallows, Tachycineta bicolor. I start looking for them in late February....
Earth awakens from the cold during the month of March in America's legendary Shenandoah Valley. Days lengthen, migrations begin, chloroplasts awaken and absorb the energy from the sun's photons - photosynthesis begins....pastures slowly turn from brown to green. Life's energy is on the move. March. The end of winter and...
As we drove into the pasture with a half-ton bale of hay for the cows I saw a flock of perhaps thirty small birds fly in a tight pattern away from us. The flying flock turned one way, then another, their white bellies exposed as they turned. This is a...
Over the years they slowly disappeared. And then they were gone. I last saw a Loggerhead Shrike in Swoope in 2014. The Loggerhead Shrike is a "common bird" whose population is in "steep decline". In this post, I will describe the bird, chronicle its population, report efforts to bring the...
“If you want to understand the perspective of a dedicated cattle farmer, educated ecologist, and water-quality specialist, this is the book for you!
Turn these pages and feel the frost on your nose in winter, hear quail calling in the spring, taste a homegrown tomato in the summer, and watch Monarch butterflies fuel up on nectar in the fall. . . . truly spectacular stuff!”
George Ohrstrom IIFounder, The Downstream Project
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