Moose Hill Notes – Winter past

Once again, I have been enjoying the notes from past directors and their observations as they worked, and lived, here at Moose Hill. I came across this Moose Hill Notes write-up from January 1952 by Albert Bussewitz. Check out what was happening 64 years ago:

During a large portion of the past month the Moose Hill area was free of snow and temperatures were appreciably above the norm for this time of year. Outside of two or three sharp downward thrusts of the mercury there were relatively few days when weather conditions imposed unduly severe restrictions on the bird population.

Evening GrosbeakThere appeared to be a slight diminution in numbers of Evening Grosbeaks and the Pine Grosbeaks were sighted on only two occasions. The former species made sporadic forays on the sunflower seeds with characteristic avidity but the flocks were smaller and less frequent. However, reports of Evening Grosbeak visitations at feeders in Sharon and nearby town persisted and their large influx this season has made them the conservation piece of many a Sanctuary visitor.

It seems very difficult to believe that the two aged apple trees near the museum porch on the north side of the residence can still harbor any form or vestige of insect life. So persistently throughout the four seasons have they (been) finely combed by a large variety of bird visitors. Despite the vigilance of the past the squat boles and crooked branches of these fruit bearers are subjected to an unceasing scrutiny by sharp avian eyes and equally sharp bills. Last month the Brown Creeper was a frequent bark prober and though his gleanings may have been meager enough his visits continued with unflagging perseverance. One wonders how much insect fare remains undiscovered by the searching spirals of this indefatigable worker to placate the appetites of the many Downies, Chickadees, Nuthatches and the occasional Hairy Woodpeckers. All ply the selfsame territory day after day with unremitting zeal.

Ruffed Grouse continue to be seen along the tails and about the residence in gratifying numbers and it seems reasonable to believe that their periodic cycle of abundance is in the ascendancy. At least this seems true on the local level.

We think that five Chickadees feeding and cavorting simultaneously on a single peanut log is a right tidy sum — and sight. Quit often two or three of the sprightly fellows are observed sharing the same the samblack-capped chickadeee larder but last week one day a full fivesome crowded about the buffet-style facility. It was with great regret that we were unable to obtain a photographic record of the busy scene and so we must ask our readers to accept on faith the accuracy of our account. Or are Chickadees equally gregarious at your snack-stick?

Principal fruits of some of the Saturday trail hikes taken by visiting Day campers of last summer have been the snug winter homes of the Saturniidae–especially the cocoons of the Cecropia and Promethea moths. Not all of them, however, will be developing large and colorful lepidopterous forms for the very lightness of many of the silken cases suggests that the ubiquitous ichneumon fly has stolen a march on the carefully spun plans of the moth larvae.

Truly these are the notes of a true nature observer – such detail and embellished descriptions of his observations. While Pine Grosbeak and Ruffed Grouse have not been recorded at Moose Hill for some time, you can still observe Evening Grosbeak, Brown Creeper, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Hairy Woodpecker on the property. In fact most of them are very easy to observe at our bird feeding area at the Visitor Center – you can warm up inside, enjoy the current show in the Gallery, and sit and watch the activity at the bird feeders. Sounds like a great way to enjoy a cold winter day to me!

1 thought on “Moose Hill Notes – Winter past

  1. Kay Andberg

    I love how you have tied the historical record to what is at Moose Hill today. I am glad to know that brown creepers are still present. I need to learn its call and not rely only on visual evidence.


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