Moths, an introduction

Toothed Somberwing Moth

With butterflies, it’s color that attracts us first, but with moths, it’s their names. Just to scratch the surface, to get a hint of what they offer in North America, let the following names fall trippingly from your tongue: Rufous-banded Crambid, Pigeon Acrobasis, Frosty Olethreutes, Crepuscular Rock-rose Moth, Spun Glass Slug Moth, Ferruginous Eulin, Feather-duster … Read more

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Tulips

Virichic tulips

My wife and I spent a week in Amsterdam last August, and one day we walked over to the Tulip Museum on Prinsengracht. The museum occupies the first floor of an old house. When you come in off the street, there’s a souvenir shop and a counter where you buy tickets to tour the rest … Read more

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Spring migration

Well, there went May in its hurried fashion: the height of spring migration and the busiest month in the garden allotment. Here are highlights from that first field of activity. Those from the garden will come later. I keep a list each year—part of a friendly rivalry with a fellow-birder—of the spring warblers I see. … Read more

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The Saw-Whet Owl

Saw-Whet Owl Leslie Spit Toronto

I was walking the Leslie Street Spit last December with binoculars in hand but no camera, when I found a Saw-whet Owl sitting in a spruce. The bird surprised me for two reasons. First, its size. All Saw-whets are tiny—on average, about eight inches tall—but this was the smallest, most fragile specimen I’d ever seen. … Read more

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Death and Taxes

I’ve been thinking a lot about death and taxes. Death, because I had open-heart surgery last September and a stroke (minor, but still) the first week of January. Taxes, because every year at this time, I deliver a packed 9-x-12 envelope to my extraordinary accountant, who works her miracles in an office across the street … Read more

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