Emily Stone

author

Natural Connections - birds, animals, habitats

Content By This Contributor:

Wed. Aug. 26th, 2015

The Corn Belt Tightens the Belt on Monarchs

Emily Stone

One of my most vivid childhood memories from Iowa’s corn country is watching clouds of monarch butterflies dance around the milkweed patch by our back steps and finding caterpillars on the leaves. My brother and I raised them, as many kids do.

Thu. Aug. 20th, 2015

Monarch Migration Begins

Emily Stone

I see them everywhere now. Deep orange with black trim, monarch butterflies dance among the wildflowers we planted for them.

Thu. Aug. 13th, 2015

Northwoods Lobsters

Emily Stone

Lobster mushrooms are a delight for beginning mycophiles, since they and their hosts are easy to identify. They are on the short list of mushrooms that I’ll eat without expert help

Wed. Aug. 5th, 2015

Phantom Crane Fly

Emily Stone

The mystery came and went all afternoon, interrupting our discussions as we all tried to get a better look at it. Black and white bands on the thread-like legs

Wed. Jul. 29th, 2015

The Brookies of Cap Creek

Emily Stone

We’d just dipped our feet into Cap Creek, a spring-fed tributary of the upper Namekagon River, and that cold water was part of what drew us here. The cold water is also what draws native brook trout here

Thu. Jul. 23rd, 2015

Monarch Chrysalids

Emily Stone

The milkweed looked like it had seen better days. Many leaves were completely missing, while others were chewed down to a yellowing stub

Thu. Jul. 9th, 2015

Monarch Caterpillars

Emily Stone

Lunch bag in hand, I hurried up the Cable Natural History Museum’s front walk, ready for another day at the office. On a whim, I detoured over to one of our native plant gardens

Wed. Jul. 1st, 2015

Clay-colored sparrow returns

Emily Stone

Returns – re-catching a previously banded bird at least three months later – are rare in the banding world, but they provide a wealth of information. From these recaptured birds, scientists have learned about the incredible 24,000 mile round-trip mig

Wed. Jun. 24th, 2015

Sundew

Emily Stone

Bogs are a unique, almost alien landscape, with a charm all their own. Funny plants, few trees, and a wonderful, squelchy, squashy, shaky, shivery, sucking substrate can turn adults back into giggly, wiggly kids

Wed. Jun. 17th, 2015

Orange Chicken

Emily Stone

It was impressive. Nearly two feet across, with layer upon layer of rippling brackets giving it a ruffled appearance, the yellow edges

Thu. Jun. 11th, 2015

Snapping Turtles

Emily Stone

The old turtle scraped at the sand with her naily toes as the kids gathered in a wide circle around her. Sometimes I get questions about dinosaurs on field trips, but they don’t fit into the Museum’s focus on Northern Wisconsin species.

Thu. May. 28th, 2015

Fiddleheads

Emily Stone

Fiddlehead ferns! Their unique pattern of emergence, called circinate vernation, protects the tender growing tip of the frond within the tightly curled bundle of leaves.

Thu. May. 21st, 2015

Trees, trees, murmuring trees

Emily Stone

Professional birders, and the serious guidebooks, do describe the song more reservedly as “zee zee zee zoo zee.” Other folks, somewhere in between on the scale of birding humor, think “trees, trees, murmuring trees"

Wed. May. 13th, 2015

Return of the Ruby

Emily Stone

A non-technological indication of the hummers’ impending arrival is the return of yellow-bellied sapsuckers. Sapsuckers’ squeaky-toy calls filter through the forest about two weeks before the first hummingbird buzzes in

Thu. May. 7th, 2015

“…what is lovely, and will not last…”

Emily Stone

The flute-like notes of a hermit thrush wafted through my bedroom window. “Whyyyyy don’t you come with me?” he sang in a rising scale.

Thu. Apr. 30th, 2015

The Wolves of Isle Royale and Michipicoten Island

Emily Stone

With the fluctuation in the numbers of charismatic megafauna came ups and downs for vegetation on the island, too. After the huge wolf crash due to parvovirus in the early 1980

Wed. Apr. 22nd, 2015

The Loons are Back

Emily Stone

Spring is here. With it comes young and hopeful life decked out in many styles of tuxedoes and rainbows of colorful gowns. Everyone must sing, perform, defend, watch, or choose according to their own, individual, natures. Who have you been admiring

Wed. Apr. 15th, 2015

Fairyland

Emily Stone

Patchworks of emerald, olive, and chartreuse moss draped over soft, sunken logs. Hummocks and swales in the forest floor told tales of large trees, long fallen.

Wed. Apr. 8th, 2015

Pileated Woodpecker

Emily Stone

Sunlight streamed through the tree trunks as we meandered into the warming woods. The Ruffed Grouse’s thumping faded into the distance as we left his territory.

Wed. Apr. 1st, 2015

The pulse of a waking forest

Emily Stone

Our morning dawned crisp and blue. In the woods, we knew that the trails would be firmly frozen, the mosquitoes still far from flying, and perhaps the ticks would be hunkered down, too.

Thu. Mar. 26th, 2015

Saw what owl?

Emily Stone

It also makes sense that the mast of acorns we experienced last fall may have increased the local mouse population and attracted this cute little hooter to my backyard.

Wed. Mar. 18th, 2015

Awakening

Emily Stone

Just a couple days later, after a fully-thawed night, I stepped out into a morning thick with the aroma of rotting leaves and breathing soil. The pale lavender sky seemed gentler than usual in this warmth, softened by the return of humidity.

Wed. Mar. 11th, 2015

A Vocabulary of Seeing

Emily Stone

Maples, ashes, dogwoods and viburnums have opposite arrangement. Their twigs and buds sprout directly across from each other in pairs, while other trees place their buds and twigs singly, in an alternate arrangement. This is a good place to start

Wed. Mar. 4th, 2015

Wolves at Rock Lake

Emily Stone

Of course, I know that there is nothing to worry about. Wolf packs surround Cable and inhabit all of the wilds I play in. Tens of thousands of humans recreate in these woods each year, and most don’t even see a wolf

Wed. Feb. 25th, 2015

American Dippers

Emily Stone

The watery, wintery scene must have fired some memory synapses in my brain, because into my mind’s eye flashed the image of another river flowing through snow-covered banks in Yellowstone National Park.

Wed. Feb. 18th, 2015

Science as Storyteller

Emily Stone

“Once upon a time in June,” I begin, “a fly landed on the stem of a goldenrod flower and laid an egg. The little tiny caterpillar hatched, and started chewing its way into the stem

Wed. Feb. 11th, 2015

A Forest in an Acorn

Emily Stone

Judging by all the tracks along the trail, there are plenty of critters already on-hand to eat the acorns. Four-footed red squirrel tracks crisscrossed the trail and connected every tree.

Thu. Feb. 5th, 2015

Lamar Buffalo Ranch: “We got the tablets here.”

Emily Stone

While bison survived the mass extinctions of other megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene, they fared much worse during the 1800s. Settlers, market hunting, sport hunting, and a U.S. Army campaign nearly eliminated these majestic creatures

Thu. Jan. 29th, 2015

Three Dog Day

Emily Stone

In the absence of wolves, coyotes changed their behavior to fill the niche of an apex predator. By living in larger packs than usual – up to seven coyotes in a family group

Wed. Jan. 21st, 2015

The Magic of Yellowstone

Emily Stone

Since at least 1872, Lone Star Geyser has been erupting approximately every three hours. It begins with a heat source – shallow magma chambers left over from one of the largest volcanic eruptions known to have occurred in the world.

Thu. Jan. 15th, 2015

Plenty of Heart

Emily Stone

Blue sky peeked through two holes higher up in the trunk. I circled around to look down in, and by positioning myself at just the right angle, Kylee and I could see each other through the tree, her looking up and me looking down.

Thu. Jan. 8th, 2015

Woodpecker Niche

Emily Stone

ust a few minutes up the trail after seeing the hairy woodpecker, we again heard a tapping noise through the fog and sleet. Like déjà vu, a black-and-white checkered woodpecker clung to a birch tree

Wed. Dec. 31st, 2014

Hairy Woodpecker in the Fog

Emily Stone

Perpetual twilight cloaked the forest on the darkest day of the year. Even at noon, fog hung densely between us and the sun. Cabin fever had set in, and we felt like banging our heads against a wall.

Wed. Dec. 24th, 2014

Winter houseguests

Emily Stone

“Thunk” went the laundry as I crouched down to get a better look. Sure enough, a brown spider crouched among the dust bunnies and dog hairs.

Thu. Dec. 18th, 2014

Spinus pinus

Emily Stone

In the woods, listen for siskins’ wheezy contact calls, and look for their undulating flight. Flocks will often feed gregariously, and then swoop off one-by-one to the next tree.

Thu. Dec. 11th, 2014

Where are the loons?

Emily Stone

“Who’s there? I’m here,” may be the basic message in their wail. By speaking up, each loon reasserts that it is on its territory, and ready to defend against invaders.

Thu. Nov. 20th, 2014

Passenger Pigeons and Lyme

Emily Stone

Today my roof is buried under more than a foot of snow, and the drift is sliding off of the high-angle metal in a slow-motion avalanche. Not long ago, my roof hosted an avalanche of a very different kind – an avalanche of acorns.

Thu. Nov. 13th, 2014

Five things that improve after a hard freeze

Emily Stone

Reaching, stretching, I search almost manically for the little bog jewels. Ignoring back aches, ignoring the way that damp moss and damp breeze suck the warmth from fingertips, ignoring a friend who is not ignoring those things and wants to go home.

Thu. Nov. 6th, 2014

Lingering in Happiness

Emily Stone

We turned our faces toward the bluebird sky, closed eyelids against the brilliant sun, and soaked up its mid-afternoon warmth. Although the day was not especially warm, the whisper of a breeze let us keep every ray of the sun and every bit of heat

Thu. Oct. 30th, 2014

Blue jays

Emily Stone

Crinkly brown oak leaves danced across the path. My bike tires swished satisfyingly through drifts of leaves on the ground. Up ahead, a small flock of blue jays swooped across the road one at a time

Thu. Oct. 23rd, 2014

How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Emily Stone

Brace for impact,” advised a gray-bearded man wearing wire-rimmed glasses. Shaggy, dark brown curls tumbled out from beneath his tawny, felted hat, and the hundreds of mycologists in the audience could feel his excitement.

Thu. Oct. 16th, 2014

Bat in the Daylight

Emily Stone

It was the type of morning when gray clouds replace the entire sky, and the smoky gold of maple leaves seem to replace the sun. After a day of heavy rain, a damp calm had settled into the woods. Nothing moved except the occasional crumpled leaf

Thu. Oct. 9th, 2014

 Bats in the growing darkness

Emily Stone

Darkness encroaches on either side of my days. The growing shadows reveal new wonders and old friends, as does the lengthening daylight of spring.

Thu. Oct. 2nd, 2014

Eating Hedgehogs and Black Trumpets

Emily Stone

Have you ever eaten a hedgehog or a black trumpet? If you’re a mychophagist, you’re either nodding your head yes with excitement, or shaking it forlornly and planning your next foray to find some.

Thu. Sep. 25th, 2014

Hairy-Eyed Crane Flies

Emily Stone

The windows in my kitchen stay open throughout most of the summer. Various insects come and go, with dark fishing spiders – the largest spiders in the Northwoods

Thu. Sep. 18th, 2014

Rain Magic

Emily Stone

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life,” wrote John Updike. Throughout the night – and throughout the trip – the sky condescended on us numerous times.

Thu. Sep. 11th, 2014

The Woods are Not Silent

Emily Stone

Early September is the perfect time for a trip to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. The bugs are almost gone, the sun is still high, and crisp mornings make hot drinks taste even better.

Thu. Sep. 4th, 2014

Beautiful Invader

Emily Stone

In the road ditches, sandy areas, and in the parking area at the Cable Community Farm, one particular aster brightens up these sometimes scruffy landscapes with a pinky-purple color

Thu. Aug. 28th, 2014

Tongues of the Earth

Emily Stone

Astonishing indeed. The recent rains have watered the Earth like one of those old terracotta chia pets, and now mushrooms sprout from every sodden surface.