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A woodland spruce bog in northern Vermont.

HERE IN NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND, we used to joke about having only two seasons: winter and lousy tobogganing.

Or we would mark our calendars this way:

July 3 – take off snow tires
July 4 – summer
July 5 – put on snow tires

Or we expanded the four seasons like this: spring, summer, autumn, stick season, winter, mud season.

But as my dear friends Nona Estrin and Charles Johnson point out in their spectacular book, In Season: A Natural History of the New England Year, nature is far too varied to be limited to only four seasons. We’ve got seasons for amphibian sex, migration, mushrooms, asters, hibernation, and on and on.

And now is the Season of Flying Things, a month or so centered around late June when birds and insects seem most diverse and abundance, which is why I haven’t been in front of this computer very much. Since late May, when the last of the warblers arrived, I’ve mostly been outside — working in woods and wetlands of northeastern Vermont (our “Northeast Kingdom”) and teaching week-long seminars in butterflies and dragonflies at Maine’s famed Eagle Hill Institute.

All the while, even as flight has been my focus, I paused for little things, including Twinflower (Linnaea borealis), the most elegant plant in our north woods and the one named for Carl Linnaeus, or the glow of Lung Lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria), a green like nothing else hanging on our trees. And just today, I noticed that the wild strawberries up there in the Kingdom are now the epitome of “strawberryness,” a genuine flavor, revealing the cultivated fruits as feeble impostors (although still damned good).

Now I’m off to chase dragonflies with colleagues in New Hampshire and Vermont. Then back into the Kingdom for more work at my field site (that’s part of “my office” from the canoe above).


  1. Sally Edwards says:

    Wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing.

    Hope you are having a great summer. Mine has been marvelous; I have been able to add several new species to my county on Odonata Central, and am working on a Lestes PowerPoint to share at some point.

    Thanks for all your help; you are a great teacher and make learning SO much fun!


  2. Jody Clark- Michigan says:

    Hi Bryan, I’ve enjoy this first visit to your webpage, recommended to me by my niece, Lynn, who lives out your way. I too am a dragon-damsel watcher. Right now I do not have the time to go out in my kayak and photograph them as I used to, but I still photograph them when they are around where my friends and I explore.
    I have finally given in and use facebook due connections with the younger families and the Traverse Area Camera Club. My icon is a dragonfly landed on my leg Beaver Pond campground in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. they keep requesting that I put up a new icon. I do change my banner once in a blue moon, but not my dragon.
    Best wishes for a very lllloooonnnngggg July 4th> Grins, Jody

  3. Porky Reade says:

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos. What is the name of the beautiful plant with the green leaves and pink tube-like flowers? Very beautiful.
    Are you familiar with the rare butterfly “Frosted Elfin” which only has a 1′ wingspan? Beautiful little butterfly. There was a great article in the Free Press
    about this little beauty which thrives on military bases.
    Very interesting indeed.
    Love reading your blogs. Always fun and very informative.
    Enjoy your summer,
    Porky Reade

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