It has arrived gradually, cool and wet. On 3-19-20 at 10:51 p.m. it was official. Earlier that day, I saw one of the Red-shouldered Hawks in the sugar maple by the pond. It was a drizzly day, but this bird looked VERY wet as it spread its feathers to dry! Later, I checked the gazebo cam for any activity. Well, no wonder! This hawk had gone fishing about 9:30 a.m. and fish are not their usual prey! It looks like the fish was the one that got away.
Read more: Red-shouldered Hawk
Since last Wednesday, 3-18-20, I've been hearing the high-pitched trilling of Pine Warblers. I caught a quick glimpse of one in a tree. Guess what kind of tree? A white pine tree, of course. They used to come to the bubbler more often in the spring, but I've only gotten photos once. Here are three photos that I took on 3-14-14 of the bird at the bubbler, in our pond cypress and on a white oak.
You can listen to the bird and watch videos here: Pine Warbler sounds
The Eastern Phoebes have been very active around the nest site. It has been just warm enough for small flying insects to be emerging, and these insects are a primary food source for flycatchers. I saw them chase away a pair of phoebes on two different days, another sure sign of this pair defending their territory. Nesting is all about location, location, location! The male is in the first and last photo, on the pond cypress branch and in the sugar maple. The female is in the middle two photos, on the pond cypress 'knee' in the swampy thicket and in the sugar maple.
Northern cardinals are also paired up and setting up territory. They may be waiting for it to warm up a bit more before building their nests.
Friday, 3-20-20 was our first full day of spring. I found these Virginia bluebells with their tiny, pink, star-shaped buds just peeking out!
The female Hairy Woodpecker has been coming to get a few bites of bark butter, along with its cousin, the female Downy Woodpecker. I put the two photos together and it's easier to see the size difference between the birds! The beaks are different, too.
Birds need water all year, and American Goldfinches have been coming to the bubbler to drink.
Brown Creepers are back again looking for insects moving about.
Dark-eyed Juncos will be here a while yet, leaving sometime in April to fly further north. Spring is the time when we still see birds of winter, like the juncos, and newly arriving migratory species, like the warblers.
The Carolina wrens were on the feeder together, looking about and making sure the coast was clear. The male and female look alike, though the male is the singer.
Yesterday, it started snowing with big, fat flakes. Sleet mixed in, too. It only lasted a few hours, not enough to build a snowman.
Here is an American Goldfinch changing into its bright coat of yellow, sitting in a blooming spicebush and being snowed upon.
Spring is about to get pretty boisterous now! Being out in nature is so good for us.
We hope you are finding interesting birds, insects and blooms in your yards, too.