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North American porcupine

PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY KESSLER

North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)

January 12, 2018, Page A5, A8

NATURE NOTES

By Annie Reid
Westborough Community Land Trust

Get ready for nature in 2018 with a memory-jogging Nature Notes quiz

Did you hear it? While you were outside after the January 4 snowstorm, did you by any chance hear this sign of spring – a cardinal singing? Some local male cardinals are already tuning up their songs for the upcoming breeding season, which calls for plenty of birdsong. Listen to the cardinal’s song.

Snow fleas or springtails

PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY KESSLER

Snow fleas or springtails (order Collembola)

Yellow-billed cuckoo

PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY KESSLER

Yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)

Killdeer

PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY KESSLER

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

American woodcock

PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY KESSLER

American woodcock (Scolopax minor)

Common buckeye butterfly

PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY KESSLER

Common buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia)

vole

PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY KESSLER

Vole - meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) or pine or woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum)

Have fun preparing for spring and the rest of the new year by doing our 2017 quiz to refresh your recollection of local wildlife featured in Nature Notes of the past year.

Choose your answers from the drop down lists. Check your answers by clicking the "Show Answers" button. The answer page will contain links to related 2017 “Nature Notes” columns in case you’d like to read them, or any of more than 245 past columns.


Match these descriptions with possible answers from the list below:

1.   I’m a prickly creature, and on a winter day you might be surprised to see me up a tree.

2.   My long beak helps me eat earthworms, but I’m famous for my bug-zapper call and my “sky dance” during my breeding season in early spring.

3.   On warm winter days, look for us jumping around in the snow, especially at the base of a tree or in old footprints.

4.   I’m a “big bird” rarely seen in Massachusetts, but I stopped in Westborough last spring.

5.   I feast on hairy gypsy moth caterpillars and tent caterpillars, so last spring’s gypsy moth caterpillar outbreak made 2017 a good year for me.

6.   From April through late summer, I nest on the ground in plowed fields, gardens, golf courses, or on flat gravel roofs, but I’ll lead you away from my nest and eggs with loud cries and a dramatic broken-wing act.

7.   I’m not a bird, but I migrate to and from this area, and I have large eyespots that I can flash to scare away predators such as birds.

8.   Look for me especially in the fall, when I stay still in a position that might remind you of prayer as I wait to ambush other insects.

9.   I’m a mouse-like creature whose name rhymes with “mole,” and I live in burrows and travel in runways in fields and woodlands, even under the snow in winter.

10.   A resident of Westborough, I was Massachusetts’ first state ornithologist, and in the Westborough Public Library you can see a glass case filled with my bird specimens.


Possible answers:
- “Praying mantis” - European mantis (Mantis religiosa), Chinese mantid (Tenodera aridifolia)
- American woodcock (Scolopax minor)
- Common buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia)
- Edward Howe Forbush (Homo sapiens)
- Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
- North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)
- Sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis)
- Snow fleas or springtails (order Collembola)
- Vole - meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) & pine or woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum)
- Yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)






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Nature Notes is printed in The Westborough News on behalf of WCLT (Westborough Community Land Trust). Report your own local nature sightings (or check out what others have seen) on WCLT's Facebook page! Find more information about enjoying nature in Westborough, including trail maps and a calendar of events, at the WCLT website

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