Glenda Denniston has been pulling and bagging Garlic mustard and other invasives pretty much daily all season and in many areas. One of the perks of her labors, she says, "is seeing critters that otherwise would have escaped my notice." Here are a few of them.
The wooded pond marsh at Picnic Point is a favored habitat for Prothonotary Warblers. While these dazzling yellow warblers with black beady eyes are observed as far north as Wisconsin, their breeding attempts at the pond marsh are rarely successful. Unlike other eastern warblers, Prothonotary Warblers nest in holes in trees, rather than in the open, and at the pond marsh they nest in special birdhouses placed close to the water. Area birders care for these birdhouses and, as in previous years, are holding their breaths that this year's breeding pair will be successful in their efforts. We thank Perri Liebl for providing the photo of the male singing out his heart.
On her daily rounds of weeding and observing in the Preserve, Glenda Denniston enjoys monitoring the smaller creatures, such as frogs, dragonflies, butterflies and others. Here are a few of her photos. Insects have emerged in full force, after being delayed for some time because of needed prescribed burnings of the prairie this spring. Notice the beautiful markings and the green/blue eyes of the cobra clubtail, named clubtail for the enlarged abdomen tip. they can be found at large rivers and lakeshores and are most abundant in June.
This Eastern tiger swallowtail photographed by Glenda is not the usually yellow variety of tiger swallow tails. Females can range in color from the yellow of the male to an almost solid bluish-black. The black form of the eastern tiger swallow tail may be an example of deceptive coloration, mimicring a butterfly with unpleasant taste.
On her frequent walks in upper Bill's Woods, amongst the multitude of wildflowers that Glenda Denniston planted here over many years, she spotted this wild turkey hen enjoying the blue bells
A sea of Dutchmen's breeches is now carpeting the cliffs of Eagle Heights Woods on the northern slopes. With the cooler weather now they should stay for a little while. Further up the path big clumps of mayapples are spreading.
On his morning walks through Bill's Woods, some surprise often awaits David Liebl. On April 11, he observed "one Barred Owl coming off the nest .... The other arrived with fat rat in its beak. We moved away, and waited to watch the second BADO carry the rat to the nest hole, drop it inside and then fly off." That was a good start of the day for the owlets in the nest hole.
David Liebl and Glenda Denniston, when visiting Bill's Woods this weekend, sent photographs of the same patch of Bloodroot and also discovered Hepatica in brilliant shades of purple. The Bill's Woods wildflower trail begins at the top of the hill, across the service road from Heritage Oak. Other early natives are also emerging, such as wild leeks, shooting stars, trout lilies, dutchmen breeches and more. Take a walk and send your photos to preserveFriends@gmail.com
During morning hours these soggy days, joggers and walkers are greeted by a cacophony of sounds in the Preserve. In particular, at the Pond Marsh, half-way between the entrance and the point along the Frautschi Bay shore, a multitude of birds are filling the air with jubilant sounds of spring and new life to come. Listen to the soundscape recorded by Katrina Martin and note the two sandhill cranes claiming their nesting area in Angela Currie's photo, framed by in vivid red by the osier dogwood.
03/21/21 Soundscape at Pond Marsh. Movie Katrina Martin
Seeing a bluebird in spring brings good fortune - that is the lore. Along with Eastern Bluebirds, a small crew of the Friends citizen scientists, who were opening up the Purple Martin House for the season on March 14, also saw juvenile and an adult pair of Red-tailed Hawks, Song Sparrows singing nearby, Turkey Vultures circling overhead and other signs of Spring.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors