Top Photo: Fledgling eastern phoebes huddle together as they await feeding from parent.
Spring keeps chugging along, and with it the lives of many different creatures. Below are photos of some of our local residents rolling with the flow.
A nestling blue-gray gnatcatcher waits for one of its parents to deliver protein. The lichen covered nest is in a maple tree on an island in our parking lot. It was spotted by sharp-eyed Ranger Dakota.
Unlike gnatcatchers, brown-headed nuthatches nest in tree cavities.
On April 23, I reported on brown thrashers nesting in a wintergreen barberry in the garden in front of the Butterfly House. The nestlings have fledged and are getting lessons on food finding in and around the garden.
I happened to spot one of the fledglings out of the corner of my eye as I ascended the ramp leading from the Butterfly House.
While rounding the corner of the boardwalk in Explore the Wild, I eyed a recently fledged eastern phoebe on a low hung branch next to the walkway. Just moments later the bird was huddled up next to its siblings a dozen feet away.
The birds were being fed insects by their parents every few minutes, or as quickly as the adults could capture and deliver the goods.
Great blue herons are often seen feeding in the shallow water of our wetland. Sliders sometimes accompany them, presumably to pick up any scraps from the heron’s captures.
Red-bellied woodpeckers are named for a patch of reddish feathers on their belly. The belly patch is not often seen as the bird, when seen, is usually belly-up to a tree trunk. The male red-bellied below is excavating a nest hole in an American sycamore.
Red-shouldered hawks have fledged. Here a bird in immature plumage learns patience as it hunts from a perch. I watched this hawk make several attempts at capturing prey, only to come up empty.
I watched the hawk for some thirty minutes. It flew off without food in its talons.
And finally, a butterfly, a folded-wing skipper. It’s a male zabulon skipper. This small butterfly would consistently return to this sweetgum leaf after sallying forth to investigate other butterflies in the area and repel if necessary. It is, after all, time to seek a mate.
Get outdoors and see what’s happening!