A beautiful clear shot of a white-throated sparrow, taken by Robert near the Ash Woods feeder. These birds are just flocking into our area now and their distinctive song can be heard all over the region. We actually had a couple of these guys overwintering at the garden (2013/2014) as has occurred in other recent winters. This one is in fine fresh breeding plumage.
Robert photographed this shiny green fly in the old field area. It looks like a Lucilia species, one of the blow flies that develops in carrion.
21 April 2014
Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)
Wood frogs were calling on this warm day at the FWG. Although they usually hide among the cattails causing everyone to look around for the "quacking ducks," today several were right out in open water, floating on the surface - prossibly soaking up some heat from the intermittent sun.
Winter aconite (Eranthis hymenalis)
Diane photographed these lovely yellow blossoms in the Backyard Garden portion of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden. David planted these non-natives several years ago and tells us that " Early season insects, (bees and flies love it)". So this is another bulb that can be planted as an early food source for insects. David also notes "If you don't want it to spread pick off the seed heads and mark it so that routine cultivation around other plants does not move it."
Winter firefly (Ellychnia corrusca)
The earliest of our fireflies to be seen, it can sometimes be found on warm winter days, but generally I've seen it in very early spring rather than in mid-winter. I've been looking for them for several weeks, at different locations, and the first I've found this season, was at the FWG, on an ash tree.
Walking through the ash woods at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, it is hard to ignore the accumulations of bark strips at the foot of each ash tree. This is the work of the hairy woodpecker, seeking the larvae of emerald ash borers, and anything else it can find. The woodpecker work doesn't kill the tree, but the ash borers do. Many of the strips of bark were lichen covered and, I thought, very pretty.
Red squirrel nest in old blue post
Some of you may have seen, or seen photos on previous FWG blogs, of a long pale blue post, hollow in the centre, placed high up in one of the conifers in the ash woods. None of us know who put it there, but we reckoned it was for something to nest in. The other day, I found it on the ground, split in two, so I guess it must have fallen and broken on hitting the ground. Inside, and scattered next to it, were the remains of a red squirrel nest. So, something was using it.
After a long absence, the kestrels returned to the Fletcher Wildlife Garden last year, and again this spring, right on schedule.
Meadow vole nest
Each spring, when the snow melts, tunnels and nests of voles are revealed. Although we are largely unaware of their existence, especially in winter, they are active under the snow all winter long. This clump of grass is actually a warm nest, and it is surrounded by myriad tunnels (just out of the image). This year must have seen a bumper crop of voles, so to speak, because anywhere I've been where open grassy areas occur, I've seen countless tunnels and nests. Thousands and thousands. The owls, hawks and foxes, as well as coyotes, must have been well fed this winter.