Nature on Campus, November 1st-15th

Compiled by Eamon Corbett

As we approach winter, nature sightings have slowed down a bit: insects are scarce, and migratory birds have for the most part continued south. But there’s still a surprising amount to see on campus! Some recent highlights:

Raccoon photo credit and copywright Christian Perez

Raccoon photo credit and copyright Christian Perez

Christian Perez spotted a Northern Raccoon on November 11th on a fence outside of Lowell House. It was having some difficulty navigating the pointy bars on top, but Christian reports that after about 30 minutes it was able to find its way down.

For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to spot a raccoon, there are still 4 species of mammals that can be easily seen on campus (and sometimes even in dorm rooms): we continue to find plenty of Eastern Gray Squirrels, Eastern Cottontails, House Mice, and Brown Rats.

Redtail photo credit and copyright Thomas Lingner

Redtail photo credit and copyright Thomas Lingner

Thomas Lingner watched one of the regular campus Red-tailed Hawks catching lunch—a mouse—outside Memorial Hall on November 4th.

The Harvard Wild Turkey is still very much a fixture along Mass Ave and in the Southern part of the yard: she was near Grays on the 2nd, outside Gato Rojo on the same day, behind Boylston on the 11th, and many probably many more places as well.

A Double-crested Cormorant flew high over the MAC quad on November 13th. Also keep an eye out for cormorants diving for fish in the Charles, often with only their head and long neck visible above water.

A White-breasted Nuthatch was in the yard, in front of Matthews, on the 9th. Nuthatches are the only songbirds that regularly can climb headfirst down tree trunks, using only their feet for grip. Woodpeckers use their tails to prop themselves up, and as a result can only climb up. Listening for their nasal calls is usually the best way to locate this species.

Cup fungi photo credit and copyright Tristan Wang

Cup fungi photo credit and copyright Tristan Wang

Shifting kingdoms, Tristan Wang reports a Peziza varia cup fungus, a type of ascomycete, next to the Museum of Comparative Zoology on the 12th.

Send any nature sightings to, and stay tuned for the next update!

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