Eleven to fifteen days – that’s how long Blue-gray Gnatcatchers incubate their eggs. The nestlings were hatched right on schedule; the one above likely is the firstborn of the brood. Read More
Male turkeys don’t gobble all the time. Sometime around now they pack it in for the season, and spend the summer relaxing in the shade. I learned this, and many other fascinating turkey facts from a forest friend who’s also a hunter. Though I did notice big Tom’s gobbling was becoming less frequent, and he wasn’t hanging out by the trail anymore, I didn’t know his looks were changing too.
For the past few weeks, neotropical migrants have moved through the forest in waves. They pause for a few days of food and rest, then one fine night they’re up and out. By morning a host of new arrivals is busily feeding in the same trees. A group of hungry Yellow billed Cuckoos arrived last week, allowing me the chance to view up close these usually furtive birds. Read More
It’s baby bird season, and walking down the trail I hear them shrilling all around me from their little nests. Seldom do I actually see the nest; the parent birds are good at making it invisible. Though every spring I usually come across a Cardinal, Robin or Carolina wren nest, that’s about it.
But yesterday I got to see a nest I’ve never observed before, in a place where it was quite unexpected. Read More
By now, my readers must think this little forest is an earthly paradise, packed with native plants and animals. The truth is rather different – I’ve only been showing you the good bits. The 20 acres or so now relatively free of invasive plants have been hard won, and some will not agree with our methods. Every acre restored has first been subjected to intensive “management” of the chemical sort, year after year. And there’s a lot more left to do. Read More
This is not Jake from the previous post. This is Tom, a young gobbler (mature male) who has been hanging out in a different part of the forest. Wednesday at 8:30 am he was standing on a log near the trail, his wattle, caruncle, and snood illuminated by the morning sun. Read More
It’s an odd feeling when you try to sneak up on a wild turkey, but the turkey just doesn’t care. Yesterday evening I noticed him picking his way through a meadow above the trail, with a casual, self absorbed attitude. As I approached he slowly moved along, keeping about eight feet away. Read More
You might guess that North America’s largest woodpecker would go after some pretty big bugs. You’d be wrong though – like a number of other woodpeckers, the Pileated prefers ants. With its formidable beak, the bird is perfectly adapted to dig deep into the heart of trees where Carpenter ants have their nests. I was lucky enough to watch just such an excavation a few days ago. Read More
This mud-encrusted head belongs to a Box turtle; one of the first to emerge this spring. I spotted him on 3/27, an earlier date than most of the previous seven year’s first Box turtle observations. But what exactly is he emerging from? Hint – it’s not hibernation. Read More