Late spring update 6-9-24

June 09, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Let's begin with a video of clips from our Stealth Cam since February.


Look for deer, rabbit, coyote, Rusty Blackbirds in snow. Listen for toads singing in April and cicadas in May. 

Watch the fawns, one is  concealed as the doe feeds it. Yearling bucks race to the woods away 

from the noise of a dump truck, unloading gravel for street repairs. The video will open in a new page for you.


February ~ June 2024



On Friday, 6-7-24, American Crows were upset and calling loudly in the woods. I looked from upstairs and saw a raccoon climbing a small oak. Dan was watching downstairs and caught sight of a red fox, leaving the woods. He was unable to get a photo. The last time we recorded a fox was in the fall of 2017, the same time that we first recorded coyotes. Foxes typically move out when coyotes move in. They cannot compete with the larger animal.


Red Fox 10-20-17Red Fox 10-20-17
Red Fox 10-20-17

Red Fox at the Bubbler 10-22-17


5-16-24 E. Cottontail Rabbit5-16-24 E. Cottontail Rabbit 6-8-24 E. Cottontail Rabbit eating Purple Coneflower6-8-24 E. Cottontail Rabbit eating Purple Coneflower 6-8-24 E. Cottontail Rabbit eating weeds6-8-24 E. Cottontail Rabbit eating weeds

We have a bounty of bunnies this year. I've watched them eat numerous native plants such as woolly blue violets, Virginia creeper, Purple Coneflower and even poison ivy. The third photo shows it weeding for me! Eastern Cottontail Rabbits are the first choice on a Red Fox menu. Perhaps that is the lure?


4-27-24 Woodland Vole4-27-24 Woodland Vole 5-17-24 E. Chipmunks5-17-24 E. Chipmunks

Both Woodland Voles and Eastern Chipmunks are often taken by Red-shouldered Hawks and voles by Barred Owls. They are also on the list for the foxes. Small mammals make up an important part of the food web by eating plants and insects, then transferring that energy by becoming food sources for larger predators such as these. It's the circle of life!


5-13-24 Cicada emerging5-13-24 Cicada emerging
Cicadas have been a food for many mammal and bird species this spring. The last of them are still heard on warm days as they complete their life cycles. We're now into the sixth week since we saw the first one.


6-4-24 Water Canna (Thalia dealbata)6-4-24 Water Canna (Thalia dealbata) 6-8-24 Water Canna (Thalia dealbata)6-8-24 Water Canna (Thalia dealbata)

6-8-24 Bumble bee on Pickerel (Pontederia cordata)6-8-24 Bumble bee on Pickerel (Pontederia cordata)

The tallest plant in our water garden has gone from bud to bloom, Water Canna (Thalia dealbata). Bumble bees are finding nectar at the flowering Pickerel Rush (Pontederia cordata). These are both hardy native plants, and hummingbirds visit them.


6-9-24 Lizard's Tail, Sensitive Fern and River Oats6-9-24 Lizard's Tail, Sensitive Fern and River Oats

On the west side of the water garden, Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis), River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) and the white blooms of Lizard's Tail (Saururus cernuus) make a lush grouping with some variegated Solomon's Seal.


6-8-24 Great Spangled Fritillary on Purple Coneflower6-8-24 Great Spangled Fritillary on Purple Coneflower

Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies are seen often in the garden now. This one is enjoying nectar of Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).


5-28-24 E. Phoebe immature5-28-24 E. Phoebe immature 5-28-24 E. Phoebe immature5-28-24 E. Phoebe immature

Young Eastern Phoebes chase each other as they explore the woodland learning to forage on their own. They seem to enjoy playing in water!

5-30-24 Tufted Titmouse immature5-30-24 Tufted Titmouse immature 5-30-24 Tufted Titmouse immature5-30-24 Tufted Titmouse immature

With some species, it's easy to tell young birds from the adults by the gape, the fleshy hinge at the base of the bill. (Look at the Phoebe again.) This Tufted Titmouse is one of at least four from a clutch.


5-29-24 Downy Woodpecker immature5-29-24 Downy Woodpecker immature 6-4-24 Harry Woodpecker immature6-4-24 Harry Woodpecker immature

Immature Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers both have red feathers on top of their heads, which are not always easy to see. Both species will come to suet, and both quickly learn how to find insects in decaying logs or under the bark of stumps.


Eastern Bluebirds will have their second brood fledge any minute now, I can hear the male calling! The female Eastern Phoebe is sitting on a second clutch of eggs. There is always something to listen for, something to observe and learn from here in our Shady Oaks Sanctuary. 


5-6-24 Copper Iris and Sensitive Fern5-6-24 Copper Iris and Sensitive Fern

A month ago, the Copper Iris (Iris fulva) were in peak bloom. 

Sweet moments like this in our gardens and in our lives are treasures!









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