The Stroud Preserve, 4 March 2013

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Today started of with an unknown. I got out of the car and immediately heard a high pitched and loud “ki-ki-ki” call that reminded me of a Northern Goshawk. I looked for the bird but was not able to find anything that I could identify as the source. Sometimes, that is the way it goes.

Otherwise, it was cold and windy. Even a hardy jogger that I see regularly at the preserve commented about what a pain the wind was. As with other walks in the past couple of weeks, individual numbers were down, and it seemed that each species on the list was hard fought for. Crow numbers were way down again. Only 1 Fish Crow which is way down from Friday’s walk.

The Great Horned Owl was again sitting in a very elevated position. Today nearly the entire bird could be seen. It watched me as I walked around the field in front of it. I still did not see any signs of nestlings. Also, as a side note, I managed to get out and walk around the preserve at dusk and early evening last night in hopes of hearing American Woodcocks or other owls. However, I heard absolutely nothing. Sometimes, that is the way it goes.

Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

I did manage to find another flowering plant. This one was actually just off the preserve along Creek Road. It is called winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), and is another introduced plant from Europe. It is a member of the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and is the only member of it's genus found here, which is nice. If you have ever tried to key out a member of the Ranunculus genus then you know what I am talking about. It blooms from February to late April.  As a biologist and ecologist that has spent most of my career dealing with invasive and nuisance species, I'd rather not be giving any attention to introduced plants, but it is what's blooming out there at the moment. That said, early blooming is the type of advantage that give introduced plants the upper hand in finding a foot hold in new environments. My non-native bias aside, it is really a nice looking plant and I was quite excited to find it!

Start time: 9:00

End time: 11:30

Temp: 27-34°

Wind: brisk and steady and cold, out of the north

Skies: clear to scattered high clouds

Species Total: 35

  • Black Vulture – 6
  • Turkey Vulture – approximately 20
  • Canada Goose – approximately 300
  • Mallard – approximately 15
  • Common Merganser – 4
  • Bald Eagle – 1, adult
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1, adult
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 8, 6 adults, 2 immature
  • Killdeer – 1, heard only
  • Great Horned Owl – 1, same bird, same place
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – approximately 10
  • Downy Woodpecker – approximately 5
  • Hairy Woodpecker – 2, heard only
  • Northern Flicker – 2
  • Blue Jay – 2
  • American Crow – approximately 10
  • Fish Crow – 1
  • Carolina Chickadee – approximately 10
  • Tufted Titmouse – approximately 10
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – approximately 10
  • Carolina Wren – 2, heard only
  • Eastern Bluebird – approximately 25
  • American Robin – 6
  • Northern Mockingbird – 4
  • European Starling – approximately 125
  • Eastern Towhee – 5
  • Field Sparrow – 1
  • Savannah Sparrow – 4
  • Fox Sparrow – 1
  • Song Sparrow – approximately 75
  • White-throated Sparrow – approximately 25
  • Dark-eyed Junco – approximately 75
  • Northern Cardinal – approximately 20
  • Red-winged Blackbird – approximately 50
  • Common Grackle – 3