Monday, May 13, 2013

New Birds and Spring Wildflowers

The first two weeks of May have been stunningly beautiful. It is the time of year that reaffirms why I love New England. The forests are lush and new birds arrive daily from their wintering grounds farther south. The snap peas are starting to climb the pea fence and the potatoes have sprouted. We got a much needed good rain the end of last week. The black flies were gaining strength but just today we entered a mini cold snap with a breeze and cool temperatures. It is a little chilly, but it keeps the black flies away.

A pileated woodpecker is working some of the big decaying trees in our neighborhood and up Bald Hill Road. We see it during our morning walk. There is one particular tree that it visits to hammer a section of hollow trunk, creating a deep resonating sound that alerts all to its territorial claim. Songbirds were slow to arrive back but seem to be picking up some steam now. I saw my first scarlet tanager of the year today in a red oak at the edge of a woods road. Bobolinks are back to the fields where they nest. Great crested flycatchers have returned. I heard their loud, slightly raspy, wheeep, in the woods today.

The gusty wind today made it hard to hear birds. I was surveying a property in southern Maine, documenting wildlife presence and mapping habitats. After watching a handful of male bobolinks flutter in a hayfield, I moved into the woods where I was protected from the wind. As I stepped over fresh moose scat and deer scat, I kept my eyes mostly on the ground, for there were many beautiful wildflowers to admire. I had to pause to take their photograph, if just as a reminder how fortunate I was to be spending the day in fields and forests and low wet areas, enjoying whatever I stumbled upon.

American fly honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis)
Fringed polygala (Polygala paucifolia)
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolium)
Red trillium (Trillium erectum)

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