Flocks of waterfowl exploding into steely skies above frozen marshland, salamanders creeping across the forest floor to vernal pools, chorusing frogs peeping their ecstasy while warblers crowd budding trees, turtles sunning on floating logs, the ecological engineering of beavers – these are but a few of the sights and sounds marking a year at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and its neighbouring landscapes in Southern Maryland, Eastern USA.
In an absorbing account of a year in the life of this sanctuary, naturalist Colin Rees invites us to join him as he explores the secrets and wonders of the changing natural world. Alongside the author, we witness spring's avian migrations, quickening of aquatic vegetation, burgeoning of myriad invertebrates, and the assaults of extreme weather conditions. We revel in summertime's proliferation of fish, fowl, and mammals. We become attuned to the shifting climate's impacts on autumnal transitions, and we marvel at amazing feats of biological inventiveness in preparation for winter conditions. Through these visions of the fleeting – and yet enduring – cycles of nature, Rees shares deep insights into the ecological and behavioural dynamics of the natural environment.
Enhanced by more than two dozen colour plates, Nature's Calendar touches on a wide range of issues, from microbial diversity, bird banding, and butterfly phenology to genetic diversity and habitat fragmentation. It also examines the challenges of conserving these and other natural features in the face of climate change and development pressures. Thoughtful and lyrical, Nature's Calendar speaks to all readers, scientific and lay alike. Fascinating profiles of flora and fauna celebrate the richness and complexity of a unique ecosystem, exploring the entire ecology of this dynamic and delicate area.
Foreword, by Rick Anthony
The Seasons by Month
January: The Big Cold Moon
February: The Snow or Hunger Moon
March: The Wakening or Crow Moon
April: The Grass Moon
May: The Planting Moon
June: The Rose Moon
July: The Thunder Moon
August: The Corn Moon
September: The Hunting Moon
October: The Leaf-Falling Moon
November: The Mad Moon
December: The Long Night's Moon
Appendix A. Animals Mentioned in the Text
Appendix B. Plants Mentioned in the Text
A former global biodiversity specialist with the World Bank and faculty member in the Zoology Department at the University of Maryland, lifelong birder and environmentalist Colin Rees is the steering committee chair of the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership.
"An extended look at the march of life across a year in the wetlands, enriched with intimate details of nature. Using the calendar and Rees's own observations during his actual visits gives the reader a true sense of what happens in the lives of the plants and animals that call Jug Bay home."
– John Norris, Friends of Jug Bay
"Colin Rees has taken on the mantle of Teale and Borland to tell Nature's story of the calendar year 2017 at Jug Bay, on the Patuxent River, in Maryland. The author has come to know a special corner of the earth. In elegant prose, he reveals the hidden lives of sparrows and ducks, of beeches and winterberries, of shrews and foxes."
– Bruce M. Beehler, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, author of Birds of Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia
"If you love Jug Bay, or just about any natural area in the mid-Atlantic region, but find yourself housebound, you need do little more than leaf through the pages of this poetic book to transport yourself to the trails, woodlands, and wetlands of this gem of a natural area. Nature's Calendar is written with a poetry that evokes winter days searching for eagles and ducks, or spring mornings hearing the first enthusiastic songs of migratory warblers as they arrive in wood and glade. Enabling the reader to experience seasonal change through the lens of twigs and leaves, salamanders and otters, Colin Rees brings these sometimes ephemeral issues much closer to home and to tangibility. A delightful book."
– Michael Parr, American Bird Conservancy