Annual Creeper, Brooke, and Feeders

Top Photo: Annual out-of-focus brown creeper photo. Each winter here at the museum I get the opportunity to photograph at least one brown creeper. I don’t see them that often, once, twice, maybe three times per winter season. They’re listed as “fairly common” here on the piedmont but they are, however, small, inconspicuous, and easily overlooked. As the name implies, they’re largely brown in color with white and black markings and nearly all white undersides. They creep up the sidesRead more

Steamrolling Along

Spring just keeps on rollin’ along, and the pace is quickening. Many insects are emerging, flowers blooming, and birds migrating, whether returning to the local habitats or just passing through on their way further north. Here’s some of what’s been happening over the last week or so here at the Museum, in no particular order. An early season dragonfly. The blue corporal is named for the mature male’s blue color and the two stripes on the insect’s “shoulders,” one onRead more

Warblers continue

With the cloud cover and drizzle sticking around overnight and all the next day, many of the passerine birds that were here on Friday remained in the area. These small birds migrate at night and if conditions aren’t right (clear skies and favorable winds) they won’t continue their southbound journeys until more suitable conditions prevail. They may, however, move slowly south as they feed from tree to tree or from woodlot to woodlot. So with that in mind, Ranger Kristin andRead more

Signs of the Seasons

Two sure signs of the changing seasons are the tap-tap-tap high up in the pines of the Brown-headed Nuthatches excavating nest holes, and ee-awKEEEE of the Red-winged Blackbirds in the Wetlands. We hear, and see, the nuthatches each year at this time as these little dynamos drill one, two, three or mores cavities into the soft wood of the pines. For all of their work they more than likely only use one of the holes to actually nest in. TheRead more

Spring?

Spring is wound up and ready to pop! Sure, it was colder than usual the first two months of this year. And, it seems as though it has snowed more this year than within memory. It’s predicted to snow today! But, there’s much evidence pointing to a new season springing forth. The days are getting longer. Both the maples and elms are ready to burst open their buds and Hazel Alder is nearly in full flower. The sun is coming upRead more

Who’s Nesting

A Cooper’s Hawk was seen carrying prey on the 7th of June. The hawk appeared to be a female and was flying in the direction of the pines which surround the Ellerbee Creek Railway tracks near the train tunnel. This is the area in which Cooper’s Hawks nested last year. The fact that this bird was carrying prey, and was a female, seems to indicate that there were young Cooper’s Hawks in those pines waiting to be fed. I’ve yetRead more

There’s Always the Birds…

With the low temperatures of the 15th-18th of this month, the Wetlands iced over enough to force the Hooded Mergansers to take flight and seek bigger water where they could swim and dive for fish. One merganser returned on January 24 and four were in attendance on the 29th of the month. Canada Geese remained as long as there were small pockets of open water. They too finally departed as snow and more cold weather moved in on the 21stRead more

Gulls and Warblers

On the 3rd of December three Ring-billed Gulls flew over the Museum. In the grand scheme, this is really not a standout moment. Ring-billed Gulls are common in the area during late fall to mid spring and abundant during the winter months at local reservoirs and, during periods of bad weather, mall parking lots. I hadn’t seen one of these gulls over the Museum grounds since last March so it was exciting to add it to the list of birdRead more

A Harrier, an Owl, and a Big Fish

Hooded Merganser numbers in the Wetlands have fluctuated between 4 and 11 birds. The males can sometimes be seen bobbing their heads, rearing up in the water and, with their bills pointed skyward, emitting a low-pitched snore-like staccato. They’re vying for the attention of the females. It often seems that all of the males are perusing one female, who, by the way, appears little impressed with all of their strutting and showing off. Cooper’s Hawks and, since the second weekRead more

Blue Jays Hoard, Butter-Butts Swarm

Mallards are back in the Wetlands. Three Mutt Ducks (Mallard x Domestic) and eight or so “normal” Mallards have been feeding and resting in the quiet water and under the Willow Trees. Canada Geese are paying regular visits to the Wetlands. For nearly a week after the passage of the cold front that moved through on the 18th/19th of October the skies were mostly clear with high cirrus clouds making it easy to pick out high flying birds. The 18thRead more