Bryan's Posts About Being Outside

The Spineless on Monhegan

On north winds Wednesday morning the songbirds came to Monhegan – and then they left. Our gentle rain of migrants included newly arrived Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler (thanks to Tony Vazzano) and Cerulean Warbler, an extraordinary bird for the island. Blue Grosbeak, Lark Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow, the usual Monhegan oddballs, entertained the besotted birders.

Opening Day

To borrow an entire chapter from William Faulkner: My favorite is a fish. Even though we saw more Cape May Warblers than Yellow rumped Warblers; even though Northern Gannets are plunge-diving everywhere offshore; even though Philadelphia Vireos present themselves with such elegance; even though Philadelphia Vireos make me swoon and happy; even though a Sharp-shinned Hawk chased a Belted Kingfisher by our deck during brunch; and even though we watched a couple of Minke Whales drift past Black Head; my favorite encounter during our first day with fall migrants on Monhegan Island, Maine, was the Ocean Sunfish off White Head.

Boobies and Berries

THE BIG, BREAKING BIRDING NEWS in Vermont and New York is a Brown Booby at the Lake Champlain Bridge at Crown Point, NY. Noted for a gangly apperance, big feet and spectacular plunge-dives, Brown Boobies occasional stray north – mostly along the…

Naked in Norway

In the Arctic life wanders close to earth. In the Arctic there are no hiding places. And in the Arctic Ruth and I find unspeakable beauty and biodiversity on a warming planet.


Because a thunderstorm ruined our Independence Day celebration here in Montpelier yesterday, I give you a fireworks display from nature.

Montpelier Wild No. 6: Scarlet Salutations

NOW WELCOMING VISITORS to Hubbard Park is a Scarlet Tanager. Sounding like an American Robin with a sore throat, he sings above Parkway Avenue – the southeast entrance road to Montpelier’s “Central Park.” Your only hindrances are the maple leaves, which might…

Montpelier Wild No. 5: Snowy Owl

Updated: April 20, 2014 Okay, we might call this edition of Montpelier Wild “East Montpelier Wild” (but close enough). This Snowy Owl, which I photographed on April 19, was still around Easter Morning. Find it along Towne Hill Road in…

Montpelier Wild No. 4: April Fireworks

In Monday’s heat the butterflies awoke. During our walk around Berlin Pond, where we noted 32 bird species, Ruth and I saw the year’s first butterflies: Mourning Cloak and Eastern Comma. They were also 2013’s last butterflies. These two species…

Montpelier Wild No. 3: Spring Birds

By Bryan on April 7, 2014 Spring migration is picking in the Capital City. On our rivers, through the woods and in our backyards, I’m encountering new arrivals nearly every day. Along our five-mile walking loop through the city on…

Montpelier Wild No. 2: The Beavers of Spring Street

A hint of spring drifted on broad wings with a bald head over Montpelier Sunday afternoon. Only days after the Vernal Equinox came our first Turkey Vulture. This vulture counts as an actual spring migrant, unlike those American Robins you’ve…

What’s This? No. 18

What’s This? No. 18 should be self-evident. The winner of this challenge, however, will name the species that left its mark on this rock (which I suspect is Shinumo quartzite). I photographed this on Phantom Creek in Grand Canyon National…

Fiction: The Breakup

Our ending had a beginning, a night fixed in my memory like every other event in our life together. On that night he didn’t reach for me, didn’t wake me with the touch that had always made me glow.