The Stroud Preserve, 10 April 2013

TROUT LILY Erythronium americanum Ker Gawl. 25 March 2012. Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

TROUT LILY Erythronium americanum Ker Gawl. 25 March 2012. Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

I got a later start than usual as the battery in my car was dead. “No problem” I thought as I have a bike. I pulled my commuter bike down off the rack to find that the tire was flat. I thought for a moment and decided it was easier to fix my flat tire that jump start the car, which I did.

The reward for my late start was a mink! Not a mink coat, but a living breathing mink. I had a great view from about of it from the bridge over the creek. It was about 20 feet away walking along the bank of the Brandywine completely unconcerned with my presence. At one point, it came to a large rock. On the other side of the rock was a Swamp Sparrow. I was certain I was going to get to witness the hunting skills of a large weasel first hand. The mink stood on its hind legs and peered over the rock then jumped up on top. The mink looked down at the sparrow and the sparrow looked up at the mink. Then the sparrow went back to foraging and the mink walked off as if they had some mutual agreement that today was not the day to mess with each other.

Again to day the species count did not keep pace with the rise in temperature. In fact, bird life seemed much more subdued today. Not much was moving at all. While the birds did not seem to be responding to the warmer temperature, the plants sure were. On Monday very few plants were blooming, especially native species. By today, the forest floor was covered bloodroots, trout-lilies, skunk cabbage, and so on and so forth. I did take the time to identify the frogs that were in a spawning frenzy in most of the shallow water areas. They are not frogs at all, but Woodhouse’s toads.

I did return in the evening with my son so he could see the toads and snapping turtles. While I was there I saw 13 Chimney Swifts for my only new spring arrival for the day. This is about 5 days ahead of their arrival date last year.

Start time: 9:10

End time: 12:00

Temp: 72- 83°!

Wind: 6 from the west

Skies: mostly clear

Species Total: 48

  • Black Vulture – approximately 10
  • Turkey Vulture – approximately 25
  • Canada Goose – approximately 10
  • Wood Duck – 2
  • Mallard – 2
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
  • Cooper's Hawk – 2, 1 adult and 1 immature, despite one of these birds clearly being an immature, they appeared to be conducting courtship displays and calling to each other.
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 3, 2 adults, 1 immature
  • American Kestrel – 1, male
  • Wilson's Snipe – 1
  • Mourning Dove – 1
  • Chimney Swift – 13 FOY (at 6:30 PM)
  • Belted Kingfisher – 1, heard only
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – approximately 10
  • Downy Woodpecker – approximately 15
  • Hairy Woodpecker – 2
  • Northern Flicker – approximately 15, I saw 5 together in large oak tree, calling and chasing each other
  • Eastern Phoebe – approximately 8
  • Blue Jay – approximately 10
  • American Crow – 5
  • Fish Crow – 2
  • Tree Swallow – approximately 100
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow – approximately 10
  • Barn Swallow – 1
  • Carolina Chickadee – approximately 10
  • Tufted Titmouse – approximately 10
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 4
  • Carolina Wren – 4
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet – 1
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 5
  • Eastern Bluebird – approximately 20
  • American Robin – approximately 50
  • Northern Mockingbird – 4
  • Brown Thrasher – 1, heard only
  • European Starling – approximately 50
  • Eastern Towhee – approximately 5, heard only
  • Chipping Sparrow – approximately 15, perhaps a spring arrival considering the numbers
  • Field Sparrow – approximately 10, heard only
  • Savannah Sparrow – 3
  • Song Sparrow – approximately 30
  • Swamp Sparrow – approximately 10
  • White-throated Sparrow – approximately 30
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 2
  • Northern Cardinal – approximately 10
  • Red-winged Blackbird – approximately 50
  • Common Grackle – 2
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – approximately 15
  • American Goldfinch – 4