Closer Look

spring garter snake vermontA spring morning encounter, both of us wondering what was going to happen next.

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Missed En Scène

salamander camouflageAn eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereusfinds itself an opportunistic master of camouflage on a rare warm November day in southern Vermont. These completely terrestrial amphibians are one of the most common salamander species. An odd statement I found, which sums up the life of most of its kind, posits:  ‘Because of its size, secretive behavior, and lack of vocalizations, the redback salamander is one of the most inconspicuous wildlife residents of the state.’ Lack of vocalizations – no kidding.

Whose Pipes These Are

organ pipe mud dauber wasp nestThe carefully constructed tubes of an organ-pipe mud dauber wasp align under the eaves of a Guilford barn. The brilliant metallic blue wasps build up their ridged nests layer upon layer using tiny mudballs flown in from nearby puddles, the varying colors reflecting different sources. As the male stands guard, the female wasp fills each tube’s stacked compartments with a single egg and a stash of paralyzed spiders for the hatchlings to dine upon in their private chambers