Awesome! Yesterday the starting temperature was over 50° with more 50 species on the day. Today the Starting temperature was over 60° and I ended the day with a grand total of 44 species! Wait a minute. What? Well that blows my theory that as the temperature goes up, so goes the species count. Actually, today I spent a lot of time looking for one species of bird. Louisiana Waterthrush. I also spent a lot of time looking for a plant Cardamine pensylvanica, or Pennsylvania bittercress. Both should be found about this time of year. However, I failed to find either. So it goes sometimes.
I did add a new bird to my list for the preserve. As I was walking around the bed of the old farm pond I heard the distinctive call of a male Ring-necked Pheasant. I also got an email today from a friend who said that his wife had seen a male pheasant on her walk this morning. While it is always exciting to add a new species to your list for whatever you are keeping a list for, the bird of the day was a male Rusty Black Bird in the bed of the old farm pond. The last one I saw was back on 22 March and I just had the felling they were done. This bird still had rusty feathers on its back. I also added a new warbler to the year list as a Yellow-rumped Warbler was mixed in with the Palm Warblers today.
Besides birds, it was a good day for flowers and cold-blooded animals. I took photos of some of them, which are right and below. My first reptile of the day was a fairly sizable common gartersnake, which was on a hillside in one of the wooded areas. I bent over to take a photo and it immediately showed very strong disapproval for anything of the sort, snapping at me and making a noticeable hiss. When I backed away it turned its head down slope, straitened out its body like an arrow. A couple of pushes of its tail and it shot down the hill moving literally faster than I could run (you will not see a photo of it below). Next, frogs (I’m not exactly sure which species as they were just a little to far out for me to tell for sure, but I’m guessing bull frog) were gathered by the hundreds and were busy making more frogs at the old farm pond. Nearby a very large snapping turtle was hauled out on the vegetation sunning itself. I figured he would probably not pull a stunt like the gartersnake. So I did manage to get a picture of it (see below).
As a side note, some might wonder why I’ve been going on so about the changing of the seasons. I lived in Washington State for nearly 20 years. There we have two seasons, wet season and dry season. The wet season last for 12.5 months, and the dry season last for 2.5 months (I double checked my data and those numbers appear to be correct). These seasons are not necessarily defined by temperature. In fact, the last year I was in Washington I wore the same cycling gear in January as I did in August. From January to August, 2011 I wore short pants and shirt on just five days, two of those days were in February! So, bear with me. It might take a while for me to readjust to this concept of the changing of the seasons.
Start time: 8:50
End time: 12:00
Wind: 6-16 mph from the west
Skies: high clouds, mostly clear
Species Total: 44
- Black Vulture – approximately 10
- Turkey Vulture – approximately 25
- Canada Goose – approximately 12
- Mallard – 2
- Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1 adult
- Cooper's Hawk – 1 adult
- Red-tailed Hawk – 3 adults
- Ring-necked Pheasant – 1, heard only. FOY and my first for the preserve
- Mourning Dove – 1, where have all the doves gone?
- Red-bellied Woodpecker – approximately 8
- Downy Woodpecker – approximately 15
- Northern Flicker – approximately 15, as I noted yesterday, flicker numbers are rising. They are very vocal now
- Eastern Phoebe – approximately 5
- Blue Jay – approximately 10
- American Crow – approximately 10
- Fish Crow – 2
- Tree Swallow – approximately 50
- Northern Rough-winged Swallow – approximately 12
- Barn Swallow – approximately 10
- Carolina Chickadee – approximately 10
- Tufted Titmouse – approximately 10
- White-breasted Nuthatch – 4
- Carolina Wren – 6
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 3, heard only
- Eastern Bluebird – approximately 15
- American Robin – approximately 40
- Northern Mockingbird – 3
- European Starling – approximately 75
- Yellow-rumped Warbler – 1 FOY
- Palm Warbler – approximately 12
- Eastern Towhee – approximately 10
- Field Sparrow – 8, heard only
- Savannah Sparrow – 5
- Song Sparrow – approximately 50
- Swamp Sparrow – 9
- White-throated Sparrow – approximately 50
- Dark-eyed Junco – 1
- Northern Cardinal – approximately 12
- Red-winged Blackbird – approximately 100
- Eastern Meadowlark – 3, heard only.
- Rusty Blackbird – 1 male, Bird of the day!
- Common Grackle – 2
- Brown-headed Cowbird – approximately 20
- American Goldfinch – 5