Monthly Archives: March 2019

If a mockingbird perches in the forest…

DSC_2620.jpg

…The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his insouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
– Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

The neighborhood owl

DSC_2791

“The great horned owl is back!” my neighbor texted. She lives a block away. It was getting dark. But I managed to hustle over there and get a few shots of this impressive bird.

DSC_2792

With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. This powerful predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on daintier fare such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics.

DSC_2796

This owl has been spotted in this tree a number of times in the past month or so.

DSC_2773.jpg

In other owl news, the Screech Owl house my husband built has been occupied by a pair of lovey-dovey squirrels. Annoying.

Haney Creek East

DSC_2692 (1)

I often wander the Haney Creek North section but a few days ago I finally explored “East” shown on the map above highlighted in yellow. It’s located in Stuart, Florida north of the St. Lucie River.

DSC_2695

A trail leads away from the pull-off area along Dixie Highway.

DSC_2696

We can thank Stuart City Commissioner Jeffrey Krauskopf for helping save this land from development. There is a freshwater marsh on the right hand side here, and brackish swamp with mangroves on the other.

DSC_2697

An Osprey rested on top of a pine tree.

DSC_2698

Enjoy this good bird news: Ospreys Have Made a Remarkable Recovery

DSC_2710

Blue flag? It used to bloom by our New Hampshire pond in spring. I didn’t know it grew in this part of Florida.

DSC_2711

Boardwalk with plenty of cautionary signs.

DSC_2723

Got a good look at a young Little Blue Heron. Yes, they start off as Little White Herons.

DSC_2727

Little white.

DSC_2729

Maple? Also haven’t noticed that around here. Maybe swamp maple… which also grew by our old pond 1400 miles north of here.

DSC_2732

Palm Warbler in the trees.

DSC_2733 (1)

Unless you live in Canada, spring, fall, and winter are your best times to see Palm Warblers. They spend the winters in the Caribbean and in a narrow strip along the southeastern United States and occasionally along the West Coast. They’re a fairly common early migrant across much of the East, reaching New England by mid-to-late April. They start slowly heading south in late August.

DSC_2733

Weedy fields, forest edges, and scrubby areas are great places to look for them during migration and winter. Look through groups of birds foraging on the ground—they’re often with sparrows, juncos, and Yellow-rumped Warblers—so watch for their characteristic tail wagging to pull them out of the crowd. They also forage in low shrubs and isolated trees in open areas, where they sometimes sally out for insects like a flycatcher. Palm Warblers typically aren’t skittish, so if you find one, you should have enough time to get a good look.

DSC_2739

I like the way the light hit the bird’s eye in this shot.

DSC_2749

Also spotted a Downy Woodpecker, near the southern end of its range too.

DSC_2754

View walking back on the boardwalk over freshwater.

DSC_2764

Great Egret.

DSC_2767

Great Blue Heron, with “civilization” beyond.