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In this Jan. 7, 2016 photo released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a gray seal mother and pup lie on the beach of Muskeget Island at Nantucket, Mass. NOAA scientists are using a pair of drones as part of an effort to photograph the country's biggest seal breeding colony on the island. The pictures will help them find how many gray seals there are in Northeastern waters, said Kimberly Murray, coordinator of the seal research program at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. (Kimberly Murray/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP)

Scientists turn to drones to count growing seal colonies off Nantucket

Friday, February 5, 2016

On a remote island off of Nantucket, scientists are using a tool most commonly associated with war and surveillance to get a look at fuzzy baby seals. Researchers who want to get a handle on the growth of New England’s gray seal population have been using drones as part of an effort to photograph the animals, which gather in huge …

In Boston area, bald eagle population soars

Thursday, February 4, 2016

BOSTON — People spotting bald eagles in the skies over the Boston area aren’t hallucinating — there really are more of the majestic birds of prey setting up shop in the urban eastern areas of the state, experts say. There were 51 confirmed territorial breeding bald eagle pairs in Massachusetts last year, the …

Endangered timber rattlesnakes will be placed on Mount Zion, largest island at Quabbin Reservoir

Thursday, February 4, 2016

ORANGE — State wildlife officials who want to reintroduce rattlesnakes on a Quabbin Reservoir island have set a public meeting for Feb. 23 at Mahar Regional High School. Beginning in a couple of years, the state plans to stock Mount Zion island with endangered timber rattlesnakes. The plan has raised some outcry, and …

Environmental briefs

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

IN THE NEWS Protections rejected for wolf in decline SEATTLE — For more than two decades, conservation groups have argued that a wolf and the rainforest in southeast Alaska where it lives are at risk. While the groups have won strong restrictions on logging of the Tongass National …

Former Franklin County energy director Jake Plante recalls grassroots activism of 1970s

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

You can expect energy and the environment to be among the key local, state and national issues of the new year, as they were in 2015 — solar policy, pipeline projects, nuclear plant closings and electricity prices. Energy …

Naila Moreira: A world overheating not just in temperature, but in its very structure

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — About a year ago, I saw three deer running across the Connecticut River. They weren’t walking on water: the river had frozen, thick enough to support their lightly tripping hooves. Last winter, Bostonians got so much …

Study over 15 years in Whately connects warming climate to decline of Eastern brook trout

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

As scientists around the world continue to decipher the ways in which global climate change affects wildlife and the environment, researchers in western Massachusetts, have positively connected the warming climate to the decline of the Eastern brook trout. …

‘Walls of Kindness’ provide winter clothes to Iran’s needy

Sunday, January 10, 2016

TEHRAN, Iran — As a brutal winter set in across Iran, anonymous philanthropists throughout the country painted “Walls of Kindness” and installed rows of hooks, inviting passers-by to leave warm clothes if they could spare them or take …

Your Photos

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christine and Joe Dragon of Holyoke were hiking the trail toward to top of Mount Warner in Hadley around 3 p.m. last Saturday when they came upon this outlook overlooking private farmland with a view of Lake Warner. …

Valley Views: Hermit Thrush

Friday, January 8, 2016

Hermit Thrush Route 9, Belchertown Text and photograph by Georgette deFriesse, Belchertown I set out on New Year’s Day to explore the scant snow cover. My eyes were resolutely on the ground so when I heard a sort …

Bird sightings

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. A yellow-headed blackbird was seen and photographed with a flock of grackles at a feeder in Chicopee. Reports continue of the red-headed woodpeckers n …

Great shearwaters focus of bird club meeting

Friday, January 8, 2016

AMHERST — David Wiley, research director for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, will discuss satellite tracking and other research on great shearwaters at the Hampshire Bird Club’s monthly meeting in Amherst Monday. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:15 p.m. in …

Floyd gallery hosts ‘Art in the Orchard’ exhibit

Friday, January 8, 2016

SOUTHAMPTON — The Robert Floyd Photo Gallery and Learning Center on East Street is hosting a group photo exhibit “Art in the Orchard 2015” through Jan. 26. The artwork exhibited are drawn from images selected for the 2016 Art in the Orchard Calendar an open photo selection process …