Top Photo: Green heron perches on willow branch near water’s edge.
Green herons are a fairly common sight in the wetlands during summer. They’ve nested at the museum more than a few times.
I’ve previously mentioned in this blog the benefits for the naturalist who follows the eye of the bird. If you see a bird stare skyward it’s often worth your while to look up and see what the bird’s looking at. It may be a predator worthy of the bird’s, and your, attention. I’ve spotted eagles, various hawks, high-flying, migrating great blue herons and even a shorebird or two by watching other birds’ behavior.
The green heron in the photo was watching a single engine plane (Cessna 172?) fly over the wetlands. It doesn’t hurt to check.
I’ve noticed many bird families flying about the woods alongside the museum’s trails. Titmice, bluebirds, catbirds, and as in every previous year without fail, recently fledged great-crested flycatchers are out learning how to catch flying insects.
I don’t know for sure which species of bird is most numerous here on our 84 acres, but in summer, gray catbird has got to be in the top five, if not the most numerous bird. You can’t walk around the outdoor loop without seeing a dozen or more catbirds.
Yellow-bellied sliders, as mentioned here many times, bask daily.
Sometimes the turtles share their perches with other species.
The museum’s grounds had been fairly empty for the past three or so months. The wildlife here had gotten used to having it all to themselves. With our re-opening they’ve had to be more discreet about their movements. The local gray foxes have gone back to roaming the grounds after hours.
It’s a bit more difficult for snakes to get the message.
So, if you happen to see a copperhead crossing the path, give it a wide berth. Find and inform a member of the staff so the snake can be relocated if necessary.