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Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
 
 
Friday, May 21, 2004
 

Today I noticed a robin searching for materials for its nest. It seemed to mostly be gathering grasses. At one point it picked up what looked like a small crumpled-up leaf, but then put it down. Another time, it picked up a vine-like plant and put that down also.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies seem to be everywhere. They've been flying for about a week now. Sometimes I see them in pairs and sometimes singly.

The Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea), Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium, I think...), and some early asters are blooming. The asters are a light lavender color, but am not sure which species they are.

 
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
 
Mountains in AfternoonHere's a recent photo of the mountains in the late afternoon.
The setting sun gives the mountain in the foreground a beautiful purplish red glow.

Over the past few days, a wood thrush has been singing near the
house. I so enjoy this bird's song! Last
spring and summer was the first year in a long
time that I didn't have the company of a wood
thrush close to the house.

The summer before last, I saw that year's "local" wood thrush sitting on its nest. But during the next winter, the branch where the nest was located blew down. And the following spring was the year of the "missing thrush." So I'm very pleased to again hear a wood thrush singing nearby.
 
 
Saturday, May 15, 2004
 
Yesterday afternoon, I heard the calls of two indigo buntings. I spotted a male bunting close to the ground in a brushy area. Although I could tell it was close by, I couldn't locate the other bunting - which I presume was a female.

Have been hearing the song of the veery over the last few days. And there are more warblers singing now than I can keep track of!

The Common Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) and Common Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex) have just begun to bloom. The wind has been blowing the seeds of the Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) off their stems. Almost looks like swirling snow!
 
 
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
 
Rose-breasted GrosbeakThe rose-breasted grosbeaks arrived four or five days ago. There's one near my house and it's been singing from dawn until dusk. It sings in one spot for a while, then moves a little closer - or a little further away - and sings some
more. It seems to stay within about an acre.

Today, I spotted what was either a Spring Azure or Eastern-tailed Blue butterfly. It flew by too quickly for me to get a good look.

Also saw an Eight-spotted Forester moth, a common moth in New England. It can be mistaken for a butterfly because it flies during the day and looks more like a butterfly than a moth - well, to me anyway
.
 
 
Sunday, May 9, 2004
 
On Friday, I saw my first chipmunk since February. And I saw one again today. I so glad to see them again! There don't seem to be very many chipmunks this year, something that has also been reported from other locations in the general area.

Yesterday morning, I watched two female wild turkeys walk by the house. A male turkey was following and not far behind. They continued on down to the clearing below my house. I could see the male displaying - fanning his tail feathers and puffing out his chest. Then I lost sight of them behind the trees.

I've been hearing a lot of gobbling sounds since that time - both yesterday and today. I guess the mating season is in full swing!
 
 
Thursday, May 6, 2004
 
Chestnut-sided WarblerThis afternoon, I watched a chestnut-sided warbler singing in a maple tree. There were quite a few other warblers flitting about, but I wasn't able to spot them with the binoculars.

The Bluets (Houstonia caerulea) are
blooming as well as the Wild Strawberries (Fragaria virginiana).
Most species of ferns are unfurling
their fronds.

Yesterday, I heard what I think was a wild turkey gobbling from somewhere across a nearby brook. It wasn't the loud gobbling sounds that I'm used to hearing this time of year. Instead, there was a just quiet gobble or two - then nothing more. Maybe it was a hunter using a turkey call.

And I heard the song of my first hermit thrush of the season - also coming from near the brook. The woodcocks are still doing their courtship flight. I got a better look at this display yesterday - especially the downward descent.

Over the past week, the first ruby-throated hummingbirds have been sighted in New England. Haven't seen any in my immediate area yet.
 
 
Monday, May 3, 2004
 
The trees, which began leafing out about a week ago, will probably have full-sized leaves in about another week.

Many wildflowers are blooming in the woods, including the Red Trillium (Trillium erectum), Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica), Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), Early Saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis), and the Sweet White Violet (Viola blanda).

In the more open areas, the Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is blooming and the Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is beginning to fade.

More warblers have arrived, including the ovenbird. And I've been hearing a lot of yellow-rumped warblers lately. I think they probably arrived a while ago but I just hadn't heard them yet.
 
 
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