Monthly Archives: April 2018

April 29, 2018

To Westminster Woods to see Gram today.  As we were sitting on the observation deck, we saw a couple of juvenile Green Herons (see below).  After a while, Gram asked, “What’s that?”  I listened.  “It’s a cardinal,” I said.  It was singing behind us, so I turned Gram around so that we could look at two trees behind the dam.  The cardinal kept calling, “Birdie!  Birdie!  Birdie!” and then in a flash of red and feathers it burst out of one tree and alighted in the other.

Two juvenile Green Herons

Back at home, I took this portrait of a Gray Catbird:

Gray Catbird

Finally, in the herp report, I’m pleased to report that I spotted two Broad-headed Skinks in our back yard.  Here’s one:

Broad-headed Skink

April 28, 2018

Migration season is in full swing.  Today I saw in the woods behind my back yard four different types of warblers:  Blackpoll, Cape May, Black and White, and Black-throated Blue.   It’s the first time I’ve seen a Blackpoll or Cape May here.  And it’s now family season, too.  There’s a pair of Carolina Wrens with two juveniles in tow, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker with a juvenile.

And Ms. Pileated Woodpecker also made an appearance:

Pileated Woodpecker

April 22, 2018

This morning at Hanna Park I saw a pair of Common Gallinules and eight chicks, all swimming at the edge of the lake in the reeds.

This afternoon we invited the black Lab puppy next door to play in our back yard with our full-grown (read:  middle-aged) dog.  Our dog alerted us to a Northern Parula that was in the grass, dazed and flapping around.  I placed it in a box lined with a soft cloth and put the box in the shade under the pergola.  Then we all played with the dogs for about twenty minutes.  When I went to look in the box after the neighbor dog had gone, the Northern Parula wasn’t there.  I checked the yard–no sign of it.   It must have struck a window, but it appears that it recovered its wits.

A short while later I saw a male American Redstart flitting about in my neighbor’s so-called East Palatka Holly tree.  And then I saw both a male and female American Redstart in my own back yard.

Here’s the male American Redstart showing up to take a bath where a Tufted Titmouse is already in residence:

“None shall pass.”

Here’s the male American Redstart again, fanning out its tail feathers:

American Redstart

April 13, 2018

Toward evening the day before I saw a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak near the feeders.  This morning, I sat outside and waited for him for an hour.  Nothing doing.  But I kept half an eye out, and later this morning I spotted him at the mixed-nut feeder and was able to snap his photograph:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

April 7, 2018

Northern Mockingbirds are all over our neighborhood, but they aren’t typically seen much in our back yard.  Yesterday, however, I saw one at two of our feeders, the suet feeder and the mixed nut feeder.  I was thinking about putting the the wire cover back over the mixed nut feeder–which is designed to keep the larger birds off the mixed nuts.  This morning, though, I saw a Brown Thrasher, which is a larger bird, on the mixed nuts, the first time I’ve seen the Brown Thrasher in quite a while.  Then I thought:  well, maybe I’ll leave the mixed nuts open for a while longer.  Plus a Gray Catbird is partial to the mixed nuts, and it’s been making itself conspicuous over the past couple of weeks.  But this morning the Northern Mockingbird is back, along with a Blue Jay.  So it may be time.

Speaking of the mixed-nut feeder,  as of yesterday the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is still hitting it regularly, though it’s about time for it to migrate north.  I haven’t seen the Yellow-rumped Warbler in the last few days (and it definitely liked the mixed nuts), so it’s probably already left.  But speaking of small birds that do like the mixed nuts . . . the Carolina Wrens are firmly in that camp, though they’re agile enough to cling to and eat from the suet feeder if a Northern Cardinal or Red-bellied Woodpecker moves in on the mixed nuts.  And in the last week or so I’ve noticed a Tufted Titmouse partaking of the mixed nuts, too.  Generally the Tufted Titmice (and Carolina Chickadees and House Finches) are seed eaters, but maybe this one is expanding its palate.

I’ve known for a while that there are plenty of worms in our back yard.  When I spray out the bubbler, they come wriggling to the surface of the yard.   In the last few days I’ve seen two different birds nab and fly off with a worm.   The other day, a Red-bellied Woodpecker surprised me by alighting on the ground–which I’ve never seen–and plucking out a worm.  This morning I watched the Brown Thrasher capture one, too.  It carried and dropped the worm across the back yard, then finally flew off over the retaining wall with it.

Two male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still vying for territory in our back yard.  When one drinks nectar at the feeder, the other will dive bomb it.  This morning, when one of them dive bombed the other, it actually thumped the breakfast nook window.  Both flew off, neither apparently worse for wear.  I think I’ll put a second nectar feeder up in the pergola.

Finally, in the Reptile Report . . . both my better half and I have been spotting Broad-headed Skinks in the yard.  Today I startled one that was sunning next to the lantana.

Spotted this Hooded Warbler in the woods behind our back yard this morning:

Hooded Warbler

And here’s the Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

Mourning Dove during a rain shower:

Mourning Dove


April 1, 2018

Saw the first-Swallow-tailed Kite of the season soaring overhead above Atlantic Boulevard.  Later, at Westminster Woods,Gram and I saw lots of Eastern Bluebirds and Palm Warblers patrolling the grass for tasty meals.  I also saw two Green Herons, a Little Blue Heron, and an Osprey.

Palm Warbler