Thursday, June 13, 2013

Birthday Earth Day Present

I never had an Eastern Towhee in my yard but on April 22, 2013 this beautiful bird appeared.  I haven't seen it since.  Can you tell it's a rainy day and I'm catching up on my blog?
Eastern Towhee beneath my feeding station

When Spring Sprung

Garden Flowers

When spring sprung there was so much to do and see that I haven't been at the computer to write or post pictures.  Here are a few spring photos.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak returns each year in early May

Yellow-rumped Warbler in Maple Tree
Jack-in-the- Pulpit and Red Trillium
Female Cardinal in Flowering Apple Tree

Out and About: Round Lake Nature Notes May 2013

    What a tedious wait for Spring but finally I think it's here.  Flowers are blooming; birds are singing, and woodchucks are making their rounds.  When you're out and about be sure to look up from time to time.  Many residents have spotted the Bald Eagles flying all over the village.  In fact, one evening a group of us saw three eagles soaring above the Zim Smith trail at the front of town.  On a March morning, while walking my dog, I saw an eagle glide into a White Pine to the left of  the Marchand's house on Covel Avenue.  I dragged my dog over to check it out and sure enough, the eagle sat regally in a top branch of the pine.  It had a view of the tennis courts and the lake.  I ran my dog home, grabbed my camera, looked up Marchand's phone number, and hurried back to the spot.  The eagle had remained in place.  In my excitement I forgot the phone number, knocked on Marchand's door and pulled Diane out to see the bird.  How often is a Bald Eagle perched beside your house?  I got some good photos of it which you can see on my blog,  As it sat in the tree it looked up toward the tree's top.  Was it considering a nesting spot or did it see a smaller bird hiding and cowering in fear?  It stayed for twenty minutes before flying off  to the lake.   Fifteen minutes later a Red-tailed Hawk soared into the same area.  When it flew off its gorgeous red tail feathers were fanned out and gleamed in the sunshine.
    That same day, in the afternoon, I felt I was on a roll with nature sightings and decided to check on the Wood Duck nest boxes.  I thought I would do a little Spring cleaning as apparently, Wood Ducks like fresh cedar shavings in the box each new nesting season in order to consider moving in.  I brought work gloves, cedar shavings and my camera along for the job.  I went down to the box at the end of Cleveland Avenue and a little to the east.  I took some pictures of the box, adjusted the metal predator baffle and then opened the side door.  A paper wasp nest was in one of the upper corners.  I took a picture, then put on gloves and scraped it out.  The old cedar shavings had feathers and fluff mixed in with it.  The fluff could be from cattails or thistles.  I reached in with gloved hands to scoop the shavings out.  From the bottom of the box sprang two mice.  I don't recall if I screamed but let me tell you I was VERY surprised!  They flew up the inside etched front wall of the box.  The etching gives traction to baby ducks so they can climb up and out.  One mouse ran up on the roof and just looked at me like " what the %#*^ are you doing?"  I found myself apologizing to it, took its picture and thought about eviction proceedings.  After a couple of minutes, I wished the mouse well and left.  At least the box was being used.
    I went down to the second box at the end of Peck Avenue and knocked a number of times before opening the door.  The shavings looked clean but I forced myself to change them.  No surprise inside this time.  I called it a day after that!  During the month of April the Wood Duck pair has been sighted in Schoolhouse Park, the Galloway's yard, and by Bob Sweet's basketball hoop.  Hopefully, they will make a good nest spot choice.  They need a spot close to water as the babies drop out of the nest and are immediately led to water by the mother.  Shoo them towards the stream if you see them!  Check out pictures of the mouse and ducks on my blog.  Enjoy Spring.