Seeing spots: The sandpipers that like lakes

Seeing spots: The sandpipers that like lakes

LAURIE D. MORRISSEY If there’s one place you’d expect to see a sandpiper, it’s on the sand. However, there is one member of this family of shorebirds that prefers streamside to surfside. Almost any time you go for a paddle, you are likely to see small brown birds skimming low across the water with stiff,… Read More »

Mosquitoes: Life under tension

Mosquitoes: Life under tension

DECLAN MCCABE A good friend was in touch; her son was enduring allergic reactions to mosquitos and, like any good parent, she sought solutions. I told her that the most practical, non-toxic way to deal with the problem was to consider a mosquito’s life cycle and interrupt it where it starts. Mosquitoes begin their lives… Read More »

The brook floater mussel

The brook floater mussel

SUSIE SPIKOL Freshwater mussels are not exactly charismatic. They don’t flit gracefully about like a Karner blue butterfly or munch on clover like a cottontail. They aren’t known for their sweet songs like a wood thrush, and they don’t close down traffic on the first rainy night of spring like spotted salamanders. They are fish… Read More »

The humble hornpout: a bottom-feeding delicacy

The humble hornpout: a bottom-feeding delicacy

JOE RANKIN Consider, for a second, a fish that can live in turbid, low-oxygen water. It can breathe through its skin, eats almost anything, has a wickedly effective defense mechanism and is a really focused parent. Plus, it’s good to eat. We’re talking about the humble hornpout, or “horned pout,” if you prefer. Or “mud… Read More »

Fish scales and the American shad

Fish scales and the American shad

TIM TRAVER It’s tempting to simply view fish scales as armor, but there’s more to them than that. They provide camouflage; they also play a role in locomotion. For sci-entists working on the recovery of American shad in the Connecticut River, scales provide a record of a fish’s life history and a way to measure… Read More »

Visiting a floodplain forest in the springtime

Visiting a floodplain forest in the springtime

SUSAN SHEA Visiting a forest along one of our major rivers, such as the Connecticut River, in late spring, is like entering a special world. Big silver maples tower overhead, with arching branches and roots reaching deep underground. Cottonwoods up to 5 feet in diameter and vase-shaped American elms are scattered about. Scars on the… Read More »