Wild Black Raspberries…for the birds?

How do you know when the wild black raspberries are ripe?

wild black raspberries

A short walk at the PGT makes it obvious. I’m not sure which bird(s) perched here, but clearly we’re not the only ones who think the new benches are a great place to pause.

bench for the birds and berries

On the paved trails, coyotes and raccoons left their own evidence in a lot of purple seedy piles. Who knew that animals would find such comfort on concrete? We’ll have to compare with what’s up next: blackberry season!

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New Valley Overlook – Place to Pause

valley overlook bench springI could sit in this spot at the edge of the savanna bluffs at the PGT forever. Listening to the tanager and wood thrush, watching for herons, enjoying whatever flowers or trees happen to be in bloom…. If you walk just 10 minutes or so on the mowed path towards Hillers Creek you’ll come to this new Valley Overlook.

PGT valley overlook front platform

 

 

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Henslow’s Sparrow – Boring Bird?

Henslow's Sparrow, Ammodramus henslowii

Henslow’s Sparrow, Ammodramus henslowii


If you aren’t a serious birder you’ll probably find the Henslow’s Sparrow boring. It’s small, drab and it usually hangs out in low clumps of dried grass. Cornell’s website calls them “uncommon and famously inconspicuous.”

The fact that it is uncommon makes it appealing to birders who want to add it to their life list. Last weekend we had a couple that drove up from Texas just to see this bird. The guy said he’d been looking for this bird for 30-years.

Henslow’s Sparrow are steadily declining in number because their grassland habitat is being converted to crop land. The only reason we are lucky enough to have them is that we’ve restored 200-acres of prairie.

I took this photograph this morning. I think we have 4 or 5 nesting pairs of Henslow’s Sparrow on the Prairie Garden Trust property right now.

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Kentucky Warbler

Kentucky Warbler

Kentucky Warbler


This is one of the common warblers that nest at the Prairie Garden Trust. They tend to hide in the underbrush so it’s easier to hear them than it is to see them.

I photographed this one a few days ago at PawPaw Path along Hillers Creek.

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Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager


This morning I found this male Summer Tanager hanging out at one of the new viewing areas we’ve built at the Prairie Garden Trust. We call it the Savanna Bluff Overlook.

He allowed me to get very close to get this shot. I’ve seen both the male and female in that area so I suspect they’ve got a nest.

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PGT Sidewalk

Sidewalk by PGT Visitor Center

Sidewalk by PGT Visitor Center


This is a shot of the sidewalk by the PGT Visitor Center taken this morning. We were out searching for new birds and found three beauties:
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Prairie Warbler

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Wilson’s Warbler

Cardellina pusilla

Wilson’s Warbler


Every day new migrants are arriving. This morning I was able to see and photograph this Wilson’s Warbler. He’s just passing through on his way to breed in Northern Canada. We also saw our first Green Heron today.

Peak song bird migration in Missouri typically occurs around May 10th.

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Saturday AND Sunday for Birdwalk

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting


We’ve decided to offer the PGT Birdwalk on both Saturday and Sunday (April 30th and May 1st). We added Sunday because there is a high probability of rain on Saturday morning.

Both bird walks will start at the PGT Visitor Center at 7AM.
The walks are free and open to the public.
If you plan to attend please email Lorna: lorna@prairiegardentrust.org

There are lots of great new birds that have just arrived! For example we are certain to get good looks at the Indigo Bunting (that’s the bird in the picture)
I hope you can attend the walk!

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Magic Light

Dawn Fog in the PGT Woods

Dawn Fog in the PGT Woods


Last Saturday there was a light fog here at dawn at the Prairie Garden Trust. Fog can do magical things with light!

Even though Jack Dodson was out shooting landscape videos with his drone I couldn’t keep from taking some still images. Here is one from that morning taken along the sidewalk just east of the PGT Visitor Center.

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Enjoying Spring!

Kevin-Sink-taking-pictures_5496It’s been a lot of fun having Kevin Sink visit the past few days. The weather has been perfect so we’re spending several hours outside every day. Here he is taking a Flowering Dogwood picture at Lichen Bluff.

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