Emily Stone

Natural Connections - birds, animals, habitats

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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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Kimchi Community

Emily Stone

Finally, I settled into picking the ingredients for my next culinary cultivation: kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made of fermented vegetables. I tried it for the second time last winter, and the spicy-sour flavors are growing on me.

Osprey Tragedy

Emily Stone

Sad as I was about the death of “my” local osprey, I was already formulating an article about the way that nature recycles itself, and no death is really the end of anything, only the beginning of many different things.

Blueberry Jam

Emily Stone

The scent of sun-warmed pine needles tickled our noses when we stepped out of the car. Scrambling up the sandy road cut -- buckets in hand

The Babes of Summer

Emily Stone

I’ve had the honor of being an aunt for 12 years, and just last week I was able to play with all four of my older brother’s kids.

Wonderful Webs

Emily Stone

Dusk had fallen quickly while we listened to Larry Weber—author of “Spiders of the North Woods,” retired middle school teacher, and ultra-enthusiastic naturalist from northern Minnesota—show slides of local spiders.

Hooked on the River

Emily Stone

Many hands make light work. Unloading the Canoes on Wheels boats (a Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters program that lends canoes to educational programs for free) at the landing went quickly

Firefly Fireworks

Emily Stone

Fireflies need marshy areas with rotting wood and forest litter to complete their life cycle. A few days after the stationary female and flying male hone in on each other’s titillating twinkles, the female lays her fertilized eggs just below the soil

Sex in the Garden (aka pollination)

Emily Stone

Pollen is an amazing substance that has an essential place in nature, but it can also mean a mess of dust and allergies in the summer.

Master Naturalists

Emily Stone

The students learned that the basic plot of our Wisconsin story is universal: the landscape we see today is a result of geologic history, current climate, and recent disturbance.

Dragonflies!

Emily Stone

Different species are on different schedules, though. While we see dragonflies from spring to early fall, we are actually seeing a series of different species. Most adult dragonflies live only a few weeks, although some can live up to a year.

Field Trip!

Emily Stone

) These second graders are not yet practiced at speed reading while walking, and B) They were probably much too excited at getting off the bus to start their field trip to remember anything they might have read outside! I can’t say I blame them.

The Toads Wake Trilling

Emily Stone

Every spring, warming temperatures and longer days trigger those warty brown critters to try their hand at romance.

Wildflower Walk

Emily Stone

The hike to Morgan Falls and St. Peter’s Dome (also called Old Baldy by locals) in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has become a springtime ritual for me.

Bird Muscles and Migration

Emily Stone

“What makes aerobic exercise so powerful is that it’s our evolutionary method of generating that spark,” according to Dr. John Ratey. “It lights a fire on every level of your brain…”

Risk and Consequence

Emily Stone

Wilderness medicine isn’t all about broken bones and serious accidents, though. Much of our class has been about determining if an ailment is serious or not serious, and making sure the minor things stay that way.

Willows

Emily Stone

I have to admire willow for its tenacity. It blooms when there is still snow on the ground, lives where its feet are continuously wet, thrives even in marginal soils, and grows back with renewed vigor

Kingfishers

Emily Stone

Red-winged blackbirds gurgled and trilled their early spring song that is so energetic it seems to cause ice to melt and streams to flow.

Turkey Vultures

Emily Stone

Most people probably don’t associate these drab, brownish-black scavengers with spring--or even realize that vultures may have flown as far as South America for the winter

The excitement of spring

Emily Stone

Outside, a similar transformation is taking place. Bright sunshine and warm winds deconstruct winter’s snowdrifts. Eagles and osprey return as the rivers and lakes open up

The balance of fire and ice

Emily Stone

Early spring is a time of shifting balance. The ice, which had been winning the battle for months, finally starts to weaken in the face of an intensifying sun.

The Black-Masked Bandit

Emily Stone

Well, that stopped me in my tracks. “Are you serious!?” I called back, nearly bursting with excitement. “That’s awesome!”

A Snowshoe Field Trip

Emily Stone

My question “what do bears eat?” brought many answers. “Humans?” Well, no, but berries, fish, honey, insects, deer (fawns), seeds, and garbage to name a few.

Great Horned Owls

Emily Stone

I usually hear great horned owls in early winter, as they form pair-bonds and defend territories in preparation for nesting season. These large owls don’t build their own nests, but take over nests made by crows, squirrels, hawks, or herons

A walk through the summer woods

Emily Stone

Soon we emerge from the deep shade of the forest into an emerald green field. Wild roses bramble along the edge between forest and field, the purple canes of blackberries are dusted with five-petaled, snowflake-white flowers.

Martens and Wind

Emily Stone

 American martens are one of the many creatures that exploit the subnivean microclimate. These small weasels tunnel through the snow to find food, stay warm, and escape predators.

Treasure Hunt Part 2

Emily Stone

As the Sax-Zim Bog northwest of Duluth gains fame for its unusual avian residents and visitors, human residents and visitors have added bird feeders here and there to increase viewing opportunities.

Treasure Hunt

Emily Stone

Just minutes before, we’d been scanning the far tree line—convinced that a pile of snow on a branch was the owl we’d been looking for.

Barred Owls

Emily Stone

The noiseless glide of soft, gray wings caught my eye. Then, stillness. No matter how hard I squinted, I couldn’t resolve the dark shape into a branch and the owl I knew had just landed there.

Surrender

Emily Stone

Bright sun sparkled merrily over the rolling hills as I shushed along, working hard to glide over the cold, hard snow. In no time, I’d warmed right up, and my core temperature felt more like July than January.

An All-Star Nose

Emily Stone

Its times like this I wish I were a mole. Strange, I know, but I don’t mean just any mole. I wish I were a star-nosed mole – because they have the best sense of touch of any mammal.

Snowshoes

Emily Stone

Five inches of fresh snow, with more dancing in the air, had dissuaded me from skiing, so I strapped the shorter and wider version of winter gear on my feet for an evening walk.

The Jewels of Summer

Emily Stone

Bitter winds blow across a frozen landscape, but under the ice hide the jewels of summer. Even during an Arctic cold snap, many quick-flowing and spring-fed rivers maintain an open channel of inky current.