The Outdoor Almanac is excerpted from Mass Audubon's Sanctuary magazine, which is sent to members three times a year.
Mushrooms are still coming up; look for the bright caps of yellow Pholiota growing on logs and vase-shaped clusters of oyster mushrooms on tree trunks.
Peak migration date for snow buntings.
Late-migrating raptors such as rough-legged and red-tailed hawks are migrating.
Full moon. The Sassafras Moon (Choctaw).
Field crickets move into country houses.
Watch for dragonflies over sunny meadows on warm days.
Late-fruiting mushrooms such as the oyster mushroom are still evident in the woods.
Oaks hold their leaves.
Watch for robins in wild cherries, dogwood, sumac, and viburnum.
First snows around this date.
Witch hazel blooms, the last flowering shrub to blossom.
Watch for the tunnels of boring beetles beneath loose bark.
Full moon. The Oak Moon (English medieval).
The buds of spring are set. Look for the variation of shapes and colors.
Winter solstice. Longest night of the year.
Look for evergreen Christmas ferns in the snowy woods.
Begin the New Year with a winter walk.
Watch for pine grosbeaks and redpolls in evergreens and birches.
Look for the bright stems of red osier dogwood along stone walls and roadsides.
January thaw. Around this date a warming trend often occurs. Watch for flights of bees and other insects.
Stoneflies bask on exposed rocks near running water.
Full moon. The Quiet Moon (Celtic).
Watch for fox and bobcat tracks.
Great horned owls begin to nest about this time.
Groundhog Day. According to legend, woodchucks predict an early spring if they don't see shadow; a longer winter if they do.
If there’s a snowmelt, look for traces of tunnels dug by voles and shrews.
Skunks emerge to mate about this time of year. Listen for their squabbles late at night.
Full moon. The Moon When Trees Pop (Dakota Sioux).
Starlings begin their whistling about this time. Listen also for the spring songs of chickadees and titmice.
On warm sunny days, look for signs of snowfleas at the bases of tree trunks, like a sprinkling of pepper on the snow.