March 15, 2015

As we were heading out for our ride this morning, just at dawn, I caught sight of a Barred Owl flying out of one of my neighbor’s front-yard trees.

My better half and I were in our gazebo early this afternoon when we heard a bird drumming into a tree.  One of us thought it was a Pileated Woodpecker; the other (me) thought it was a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  As it turned out, it was neither:

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Check out the neat, horizontal rows of sapwells in the picture above.

Later in the afternoon I picked up Mom and we went down to see Gram at Westminster Woods.  For the past several Sunday afternoons, bird activity out there has been muted.  For a while over the winter we were seeing Wood Storks, Double-crested Cormorants, several Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Wood Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers.  But recently it has been quiet, and even the Anhinga has been keeping itself to itself.  So it was today until almost 5:00 p.m., when two Ospreys flew in from the direction of Julington Creek and alighted on the platform in Turtle Lake.

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Ospreys

In the late afternoon at home a Northern Parula (male, with red streaks on its upper breast) and the Hermit Thrush took baths, seriatim, in the bubbler.

In contrast to Westminster Woods, bird activity is picking up in my back yard.  Recently I’ve been watching two male Northern Cardinals chasing each other.  A pair of House Finches is now making regular appearances.  The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is still showing up as are a few American Goldfinches.  The regulars are all here–Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Gray Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, Carolina Wrens, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, and Northern Mockingbirds.  The Blue Jays take especially energetic baths.

Other flying creatures in the back yard include Carpenter Bees, and assorted butterflies (I think Yellow Sulfurs and some sort of swallowtail).  And columns of gnats!   Where are the gnatcatchers? Or hummingbirds?

Finally, my neighbor’s grapefruit tree is flowering, and the scent is dense, sweet, intoxicating. Both honey bees and bumble bees are pollinating the flowers.