Sunday, May 4, 2014

Up From the Ground & Down From the Sky

Christmas Ferns are sending up fiddleheads
Things have been popping out of the ground at a pretty furious rate now. The Christmas Ferns have been producing new fronds which are slowly unfurling throughout the forest. Christmas ferns are evergreen and they retain their foliage from the previous growing season even as they push out new "fiddleheads". Spring ephemerals are also coming into their own, although some of the earliest ones to bloom show damage from a few inches of snow that fell about 2 weeks ago.
The best looking Sharp-lobed Hepatica I could find - others had been damaged
Bloodroot flowers were also spoiled by that April snowfall
Rafts of Spring Beauties cover large areas of the forest floor
Red Trillium was the first of the trilliums to bloom, but this year they are not so common
Dutchman's Breeches are also hard to come by this season
Toad Shade Trillium grows in our protected woodland gardens
Yesterday, we saw our first Rose-breasted Grosbeak for the season 
As spring progresses, the migrant birds continue to file in. Yellow-rumped Warblers have been at the beaver pond all week. It has been fairly chilly of late and since the pond remains a haven for insects even in cold weather, it tends to draw in their bird predators as well. Yesterday there were 3 Palm Warblers at the pond darting around after insects along with a large contingent of Ruby-crowned Kinglets. In the old woods - back at our twin gorges, a Louisiana Waterthrush was singing close to one of the streams. That species has been becoming increasingly uncommon in the region and generally in the northern portion of its range. We have plenty of his preferred habitat on hand at the nature preserve. My hope is that he remains with us and tries to lure in a mate.
The Yellow-rumped or "Myrtle" warbler at the beaver pond
The Palm Warbler nests in the far north woods and nowhere near any palms!
In his breeding plumage the Palm Warbler shows a bright Chestnut-cap
Caught in mid jump, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a bird that rarely ever sits still
The Louisiana Waterthrush sings its heart out right over the woodland stream 
This week a juvenile Golden Eagle flew over - the sighting was not unprecedented, but it was greatly appreciated.
A few Osprey have also been flying over just lately
Trout Lily or Dog-tooth Lily has begun to bloom
The Pine Warbler is another early arriving warbler species
Now this is how Bloodroot flowers are supposed to look!

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