More Warblers Back

Parula americanaNorthern Parula

Two more Warblers have returned to the Prairie Garden Trust. One a walk this morning I saw a Common Yellowthroat and a Northern Parula. Both nest here.

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Canada Goose Nest on a Bluff

Canada Goose Nest on BluffI always think of geese being by water nesting by water. I’ve just discovered that they also nest on bluffs. Last weekend I found this nest on the Savanna Bluff Overlook here at the Prairie Garden Trust. The bluff is a rocky outcrop a couple hundred feet above Hiller’s Creek.

It is hard to imagine how they can be successful in such an exposed spot. Last year I saw a Bobcat close to this spot.

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More Early Migrants

Mniotilta variaBlack-and-White Warbler

I heard the first Black-and-White Warbler of the season today. I was taking a walk at The Point.

Black-and-White Warbler are one of our most common nesting Warblers. Their behavior is more like a nuthatch than the other warblers that I know. They tend to climb along tree trunks looking for bugs.

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Bloodroot with Bee

Sanguinaria canadensisBloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

On our picnic lunch today in the Eastern Valley we found solid evidence of Spring. In addition to the Bloodroot shown here we found Virginia Bluebells, Spring Beauties, Dutchman’s Breeches and Liverworts in bloom.

To make it even better we saw the first migrant Warbler of the year; a Louisiana Waterthrush. You can always find them singing along the edges of the creek.Louisiana Waterthrush

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Flowering Quince – Not all exotics are bad!

Chaenomeles speciosaFlowering Quince – Not native to the PGT

We showcase native plants at the Prairie Garden Trust. The idea is to find the beauty in what nature has to offer.

When we find exotics (plants that don’t occur here naturally) they are often invasive and we are trying to get rid of them. However, not all exotics are bad! Today I noticed the Flowering Quince buds are swelling and about to burst open. Wonderful!

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Canada Geese

Branta canadensisCanada Geese

The geese have established their nesting territory. With this pair the male (gander) is in the front as they usually are.

I photographed these geese this morning at sunrise on a walk around Potter’s Lake. The golden color of the winter grasses reflected in the water is what caught my eye.

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Flowering Dogwoods

Cornus floridaFlowering Dogwoods

In a few weeks the woods at the Prairie Garden Trust will be filled with dogwood blossoms; but we won’t have as many as in past years. The controlled burns that we are using have killed many of them.

This week to help bring them back Matt, Jen Sieradzki and Justin Robertson started planting 2,000 saplings.

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American Coot

American CootAmerican Coot

After dinner tonight we took a walk around Potter’s Lake. The golden water caught my eye so I was hoping to find a bird. This morning on the same walk there were 4 Wood Ducks. This time all I found was this single Coot but it was a good looking bird.

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Nesting Season

Buteo lineatusRed-shouldered Hawk’s Nest

Yesterday afternoon I hiked over to the Eastern Valley to find the stick nest that Justin Robertson spotted. The fresh green cedar branches mean the nest is being actively used.

I went back today and a Red-shouldered Hawk flew in and landed on a branch right over my head. It peered down at me for a few seconds and then flew away.

Another bird of prey that I’ve found nesting now is a pair of American Kestrels. They’ve set up home in a cavity in a high power line pole.

Lastly an Eastern Phoebe is actively building a nest at the front door of the PGT Center.

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Mallard

Anas platyrhynchosMallard

 

This morning on my walk to the PGT Center I flushed some Mallards on Beaver Lake. Three pair flew up and away but then circled back over me so I was able to shoot this drake.

I’m not sure why, but male ducks are called drakes and females are just called ducks.

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