Bryan's Blog

The Adventures of a Field Biologist and Boy Explorer

Breeding Wood Frogs

Wood Frog breeding pandemonium in a pond here in Montpelier, Vermont. Life (even death) can be tough for the females. I’ve got the video to prove it.

Merlins: Murder, Mayhem and Magnificence Now Flying Near You

Like a cross between a cruise missile and a T-Rex, they are flying and killing machines. For more than a week, particularly here in Montpelier, they’ve been flying and killing over Vermont. And at this moment, most of you are probably not too far from a Merlin. Here’s how to find one.

Hillary and Me

Hillary Clinton’s Secret Service agents were on to me. I knew it the moment one of them began talking into a microphone hidden in his sleeve. As I maneuvered through a crowd toward Hillary, two agents advanced on me. “If you don’t leave now,” one of them, the tall one, the scary one, said politely, “we’ll take you out of here.”

Bald Eagle (and Dead Fish) Alert

Get yourself to the fertile intersection of ice and water (and dead fish) here in Vermont. You’ll probably find Bald Eagles, maybe lots of them. During this time of thaw, eagles sometimes gather where water meets ice in Vermont’s Champlain Lowlands (and elsewhere). I’ve got map to guide you.

A Blackpoll Warbler’s Daring Trans-Atlantic Flight

Two wings and a prayer carry a Blackpoll Warbler on a remarkable journey to South America each autumn. Well, actually, two wings and the audacity to pull off one of the most amazing feats of migration on the planet: a non-stop, trans-Atlantic flight lasting up to three days.

After only speculating about this amazing journey for decades, my colleagues at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies today announced the proof. Blackpoll Warblers fitted with miniature tracking devices took off from points in either Nova Scotia or the northeastern U.S. and flew south over the Atlantic, with no safe place to land, until reaching Caribbean islands roughly 1,600 miles away.

A Bobolink’s Carbon Fingerprint

What happens in South America doesn’t stay in South America. Bobolinks now migrating north will unwittingly bring back clues about what they were up to last winter. For the ornithologists working to protect these songbirds, it amounts to “better living through nuclear chemistry” — and better conservation as well.

My Digital Photography Workshops Return in April

My “Digital University” is back in session. Join me April 18 at the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, for two digital photography workshops. Sign up for either one – or both.

Discover Butterflies and Moths this Summer

They flutter and float, shummer and sparkle, in our backyards and our bogs, in meadows and on mountains. No summer is complete without them. And now you can discover and enjoy butterflies and moths during a one-week field seminar I’m co-teaching this summer in Maine.

Discover Dragonflies During My Summer Seminar

Pick any scene from the drama of life on Earth: birth, growth, beauty, courtship, reproduction, betrayal, murder. Find them all expressed in the lives of dragonflies. Shakespeare could have written the script for these insects. And now you can join the drama with my summer dragonfly and damselfly seminar near the Maine coast.

Off Into the Earth’s History

I’m off into this – the Grand Canyon after a snowstorm. From here in the snow and ice at 7000 feet above sea level on the South Rim, we’ll descend a mile in elevation, into the Precambrian and into warmth at the Colorado River.

Bryan Goes Bohemian

Okay, Bohemian Waxwings don’t really wear black berets and black turtlenecks. Nope, they don’t sit in cafes reading Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. But they are free spirits, wanderers now visiting the fruits of our flowering crab apples and other ornamental trees. I discussed them on Vermont Public Radio. You can listen.

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin

Today, Darwin Day, we celebrate the 206th birthday of Charles Darwin. We also learn the answer to my twenty-fourth What’s This? nature challenge and get a short discourse (from me) on a philosophy of science and history made possible by Darwin.