Larry Weber

©Catherine Winter. Used with permission

"January can give us interesting days," remarks Larry Weber, dryly.  We set a record low of -33 January 18 in 1994, and a year ago at this time, we had temperatures in the mid-40s.

Sharon Mollerus [via Flickr]

It has been so cold these past few weeks, it's enough to make one think that everything in nature has burrowed down deep for a long sleep. But if there is anyone in our community who can remind us to look around to see that is not the case, it is educator, author and naturalist Larry Weber, and he joins us every Friday for Backyard Almanac.

Michael Rael [via Flickr]

Larry Weber observes the cold temps ending this month are in sharp contrast to the warm temps at the end of November.  Our precipitation totals for 2017 are 6 inches above the normal average.  We reach perihelion on the night of January 2 when the earth is closest to the sun on its annual orbital journey.  There will be two full moons in January – on the 2nd and the 31st, and there will ALSO be two full moons in March – on the 1st and the 31st!  Larry is conducting his Christmas bird count today.   He has seen many tracks in the snow; mammals are out and about despite the cold temps, includ

Every year, on the last Backyard Almanac of December, Larry Weber makes a request that has nothing to do phenology or the natural world: he just wants to hear John McCutcheon's song, "Christmas in the Trenches."  So we decided to make some additional information about the song - and the story behind it - clickable for other fans.

If you're curious about Larry's perennial Christmas favorite, "Christmas in the Trenches" by John McCutcheon, here's a link to a YouTube video of the song.  It was a "project for Mr. Cutler's grade 6 class."

Jason Carpenter/Flickr

Larry Weber says the darkness of this week leading up to the December 21 winter solstice is should be embraced, and a walk (or a cross country ski) under the starlit sky just a little "dose of humility."

©Lisa Johnson

For The Birds host Laura Erickson stepped into the breach this week as the "emergency auxiliary backup Larry Weber" (after Larry was sidelined* with a bad cold),  armed with information about snowy owls and a Robert Frost poem off the top of her head.

*the expression "sidelined" comes from the world of sports, as Laura herself alluded to a text message after agreeing to sub for Larry this morning:

"But actually, I don't know how to do that -- just talk for a minute or longer.

Jason Crotty/Flickr

Larry Weber says he can go years between sightings of northern birds like Black-backed Woodpeckers and Red Crossbills.

But he's seen plenty of them this year, along with a number of wild turkeys who have discovered his feeders.

Carron Brown/Flickr

The leaves have turned, snowshoe hares are turning and clocks will be turned this weekend.

October's Bright Blue Weather

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
        By twos and twos together,
    And count like misers, hour by hour,
        October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
        Count all your boasts together,
    Love loveth best of all the year
        October's bright blue weather.

         ~Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

©Lisa Johnson

Spiders ballooning, raptors migrating, some lingering butterflies and the World Series moths fluttering ...

And all this before Larry Weber's favorite season of aut-win!

©Tara Smith, Wildwoods. Used with permission.

A couple of sick, skinny peregrine falcons have been brought into Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation recently ... one didn't live to be transported to The Raptor Center but the one pictured at left did.

©Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

"I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw." ~ Wm. Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

Whether or not Hamlet had spent any time at Hawk Ridge is a question for another time, but experienced birders know a northwesterly wind is best for seeing birds at what has become an internationally-recognized place to see migration.

© Dorian [via Flickr]

Larry Weber, educator, author and naturalist, talks about his observations in nature this week, including light from the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, and from glowworms who are feeding before they bed down for winter.  Despite the warm temps of late the fall foliage is showing some brilliant yellows and reds.  Larry has seen woolly bear caterpillars and an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly.  The fog yesterday also provided a brilliant showing of spider webs. 

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