Friday, May 4, 2012

Birds Arriving in the Rain

A family of barred owls cackled and called from our backyard at 4:30 am today. This was a nice wake-up call if you get up early like we do. Rain fell overnight, a continuation of the on-again off-again gentle rain that has fallen all week. The vernal pools and small brooks are nearly full again, for now, after this week of rain. The woods are filling in with vegetation and starting to fill-up with bird song.
I am always amazed at the transition from bud to leaf-out in spring. Not only in the transformation of the forest from openness to dense foliage, but the emergence of the leaves from such tiny buds. The beech is a great example of this annual ritual.
The wood thrush just arrived from its wintering grounds in central America. We heard a male singing his beautiful ee-oy-lay song from the hardwoods on the lower slope of Bald Hill on our walk at daybreak. The ovenbird arrived too. I heard its familiar teacher-TEAcher-TEACHer-TEACHER song today on a morning walk with Kodi. They've joined other migrants in our local woods including the black-throated green warbler, a common bird of mixed woods that is easily recognizable by its buzzy song: zoo-zee, zoo-zoo-zee.

Eric Orff who lives in Epsom and writes at New Hampshire Notes checks the movement of amphibians in his neighborhood every spring when it rains. This week he went out and found some spotted salamanders moving - unfortunately 50% had been run over by cars. Amphibians are small creatures with regular migration routes, which sometimes involves crossing roads. To avoid running over these animals it is best to avoid driving at night during spring rains.

This week we've helped a couple red efts across Bald Hill Road and sadly a few were already squashed. Thus, it was nice to cross paths with a live eft in the woods today -- this is for my blog friend John who is still looking for his first eft sighting.
On Monday (April 30th) we saw our first Canada goose goslings of the year. The parents were wary as they guarded their four fluffy young. Other geese, including the one below, in the same wetland were not so concerned with our presence.



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