The Outside Story

Cloudy with a chance of flies: non-biting midges
Column
September 7, 2016

Cloudy with a chance of flies: non-biting midges

By Declan McCabe Clouds of tiny insects, rising and falling hypnotically along lake shores, contribute to the ambiance of warm summer evenings. My recent bike ride was interrupted by a lungful of this ambiance. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, you might wonder…

Column
August 31, 2016

The dirt on roots

By Joe Rankin You can pretty much count on a tree to stay in one place, at least in the real world. Not so in fiction. Remember the walking, talking Ents in the Lord of the Rings movies? Or Groot, the tree-like alien in the…

Column
August 24, 2016

Singing a different tune

By Laurie Morrissey Birdsong has always fascinated humans. Besides waking some of us up a wee bit too early in the morning, it has inspired musical compositions and immortal poetry. It has produced lush descriptions, like those of the early 1900s field guide author F….

Column
August 18, 2016

Squirrel is my co-pilot

By Elise Tillinghast The first red squirrel appeared at about 50 m.p.h. It climbed up over my headrest and landed in my lap. I don’t recall the next few seconds very clearly, but according to my 5-year-old daughter Lucy, I yelled something along the lines…

Column
August 10, 2016

Good news for wild bees?

By Joe Rankin The honey bee is an introduced species in North America. It’s only been here about 400 years, brought by English colonists who found none after stumbling ashore and then promptly put in an order with their backers back home. The honeybee, more…

The Outside Story: Catch and release
The Outside Story
July 27, 2016

The Outside Story: Catch and release

By Tim Traver

To be good at catching fish these days you have to be good at letting fish go. Releasing fish unharmed turns out to be a good way to share a limited resource, and depending on what you hook, it also may be…

The Outside Story
July 21, 2016

Nymphs in the garden

By Carolyn Lorié

By mid-July, the oregano in my herb garden has grown tall and tatty, and I want nothing more than to cut it back into a tidy mound. But I don’t. Doing so would deprive the flurry of common wood nymph butterflies that…

The Outside Story;  How do cowbirds learn to be cowbirds?
The Outside Story
July 7, 2016

The Outside Story; How do cowbirds learn to be cowbirds?

By Carolyn Lorié

Unlike the majority of birds, brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) do not start life surrounded by their own kind. The females do not build nests, but instead add their eggs to the clutches of other birds—usually one per nest, but sometimes several. Host…

The Outside Story: Karner blues make a comeback
The Outside Story
June 30, 2016

The Outside Story: Karner blues make a comeback

 

By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

The Karner blue, New Hampshire’s state butterfly, is a wisp of a thing, a tiny fluttering of silvery-blue wings. Unless you happen to be wandering through a pine barren or black-oak savannah, however, you’re unlikely to spot one. Even then,…

The Outside Story: Jack-in-the-pulpits
The Outside Story
June 23, 2016

The Outside Story: Jack-in-the-pulpits

Jack-in-the-pulpit–or is that Jill?

By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

Jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum) are not the most colorful spring flowers, but what they lack in beauty they make up for in interesting characteristics. These easily-identified plants are full of surprises, from their ability to change from male…