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In Cautious Song, Early Birds Proclaim Vernal Awakening

It is time with a steel bristle brush to clear out last year's thistles and scrape away any rust clogging the tiny holes suited so well for their small bills.

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Cereus: A Night Blooming Chandelier

My first such encounter with a night-blooming cereus came about thanks to a gift from a friend, Alicia, who gave me this same cactus, likely Selenicereus grandiflorus (one of four known species), then only a few branching succulent stems, indeed leggy and sprawling in form.

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Grasshopper and Spider: One jump too Many Into Oblivion

Therein lurk in floral disguise their natural predators, the spiders. Many species garner bold arresting colors that in contrast may deter predators by announcing their yellow and black warning colors of hidden toxicity.

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Magical Wings Herald Unique Airlift for Dragonflies

As far back as the Devonian Period, some 340 million to 400 million years ago, insects invaded the dry land, guided by a still mysterious force enabling an aquatic nymph to become a terrestrial flying dragon capable of feeding and reproducing its own species with certain ease.

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Pollinators Abound in Search for Sweet Nectar

In exchange for cross-pollination, the moth imbibes fructose and glucose, natural sugars, to prolong its life and in time promote its own DNA. Thirsty wasps will bee-line to bump a butterfly off the oasis, as if to claim "Save some nectar or pollen for us!"

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Microcosm Holds Surprising Pollinators' Diversity

During May and June at various sites in the Berkshires, close examination of the floral bloom reveals some welcome surprises regarding pollinating insects.

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Warbler Waves Migrating Through Berkshires

Despite the cool spring weather, waves of warblers and songbirds are reaching their familiar feeding grounds, in the deciduous woodlands and sylvan edges, like the banks of the Hoosic River in North Adams.

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In Pursuit of Beetle Happiness: Part 3

But many beetles degrading and destroying our forestlands summon us to rally in support of effective means to control destructive species that can decimate large stands of our very important trees. Many beetle species and their larvae are equipped with stout jaws or mandibles that are adept at chewing and shredding wood.

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In Pursuit of Beetle Happiness: Part 2

The most obvious beetle in the milkweed patch is the rosy red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetraophthalumus), surprisingly hard to find in any beetle/insect book. Go Google. Occupying a restricted niche, it is found almost exclusively foraging on milkweed leaves and blossoms.

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In Pursuit of Beetle Happiness: Part 1

In pursuit of beetle happiness, I can cast a note of optimism about the many beetles at large in museums and private collections, that may bring us a profound joy, allowing our sense of inquiry to thrive like a child set loose in New York's American Museum of Natural History.

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Good Science at Work Inside Butterfly Magical Wings

The cocoon was spun higher than a man's reach, so I could not tell if it was really alive or empty. Just the find reassured me that Cecropia may be alive and well in this Berkshire wilderness.

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Merlins Abide at Spruces Park

I heard a deliberate outcry from above, and looked up to behold some large hawk-like birds swiftly flying between the tall spruces that punctuate the grassy meadow like solemn sentinels.

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Hidden Bio-Gem Discovered at Mountain Meadow

Following a zigzag erratic flight of what looked like a common little wood satyr, a closer look when it roosted on a blade of grass before I could close the shutter, what flew off turns out to be a heretofore unlisted satyrid for Mountain Meadow, the multi-Argus-eyed northern pearly eye.

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