Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nesting Birds and Morels

I had a delightful and peaceful afternoon today meandering in our woods and sitting on a bridge dangling my feet in our stream, all the time watching bird families. A pair of Hairy Woodpeckers were feeding their young in a nest cavity in a tree, up about 35 feet from the ground. The youngsters would squawk loudly when a parent arrived and for a little while after the parent departed, then quiet down until a parent appeared again. I think one of the young may have left the nest while another stayed behind, because I saw what appeared to be a juvenile male squawking on a branch nearby after leaving the nest cavity, while another was still being fed in the nest.

While I was watching the Hairy Woodpeckers, a raucous family of House Wrens were perching and fluttering nearby-- at least four young and one parents were clustered in a shrub and adjoining stump, while the other parents called and occasionally scolded a few yards away. The young wrens were tiny-- they looked about the size of golf balls, with two clinging to one stump and two others fluttering in a bush right next to the stump.

I turned around from watching the Hairy Woodpeckers to see a male Bluebird perched in a tree looking toward a stump with a hole in it. I stood still watching, and after a while I saw a female bluebird go into the hole, which is about eight feet above the ground. I saw the female leaving the stump and sitting on a branch nearby a couple of times, but I never saw the male enter the nest.

While I was watching the Bluebirds, a family a Carolina Wrens flew, perched, flew, perched, and flew again-- at least two young and two parents. They gradually worked their way across my field of view and over the stream, then out of sight behind shrubs. They seemed to be making more progress, or at least were covering more ground, than the House Wrens. It seems that today was Leave-the-Nest-Day for wrens on our land.

I also found two morels on our land today. Both were growing beside fairly small (4"-6" diameter dead trees) in grassy, leafy patches. They made a delicious addition to our dinner!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bronx Zoo Sketches

Stephen and I ventured to the Bronx Zoo on a beautiful February Saturday morning, expecting to find it crowded on such a nice weekend, but there weren't too many people, and many of the animals were more lively than I usually see them. Stephen took photos, while I sketched. We had a wonderful day, and I really enjoyed taking my time sketching in pencil or ballpoint pen and observing the animals moving around and interacting. After we got home, I added color to my sketches and wrote up some information about each. I can hardly wait to go back sometime soon!

(If you click on a photo, you'll see it large enough to read my notes.)

Scarlet Ibis
Ebony Langur
Silvered Leaf Monkey