April was a busy month with much nesting activity all over the neighborhood. Three of the four bird houses on the Nature Trail have occupants. Two neighbors on Darlington Commons had nests in shrubbery right outside their front door, and we counted at least four nests in our yard, including a Brown Thrasher pair who nested in the Carolina Jessamine vine on the side of the house.
Most trees have leafed out now. American Basswood, Pignut Hickory, Georgia Hackberry and Southern Sugar Maple along with eight other species were identified on the Nature Trail and will be marked. Hummers are here for sure, and flowering plants like Crossvine and Native Honeysuckle are in bloom for them.
And it looks like the Wild Turkey hen has moved on. We hope she’s safe and well.
Plants are waking up and everybody’s nesting. The dawn chorus is especially loud and full of courtship and the claiming of territory. Frogs are beginning to call at night. Native bees are busy and there’s plenty in bloom to provide nectar and pollen. On warmer days the honey bees in the hive on the Nature Trail are active. No hummingbirds have been seen here yet, although there are reports of sightings close by, and butterflies are still scarce. This will change soon.
It’s May and, as always in this month, there’s a lot going on. Pollinators are busy and some species of birds are raising a second brood. We’ve seen a few Hummingbirds, but they are still infrequent visitors to our blooms.
The neighbor across the street reports that the resident box turtle was seen hiking up their driveway. And one of the most interesting reports came from a neighbor on West Paces Ferry who sent us a photo taken in her yard of a Groundhog (aka Woodchuck or Whistlepig). She contacted Georgia DNR who confirmed it as a Groundhog saying that while it’s unusual for them to be this far south in Georgia, it’s not unheard of.
Native Bee on Agastache
Juvenile American Robin – Turdus migratorius
Native Bee on Beardtongue (Penstemon)
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Butterfly Weed (Milkweed)
Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis
Eastern BLuebird – Sialia sialis
Eastern Gray Squirrel crossing the street
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
House Finch – Haemorhous mexicanus
Native Bee on Spotted Cranesbill (Native Geranium)
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinali
Summer Tanager – Piranga rubra Providence Canyon State Park
Mild weather continued in March. It actually felt like Spring as we passed the first official day of the season. Last month we told you we heard frogs. This month we’ve been hearing them more and seeing them, as well as lots of tadpoles.
March’s photos include nesting birds, native bees and two butterfly species: Sulfur and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Also both of our native honeysuckle vines are blooming coinciding with the arrival of hummingbirds. So be on the lookout.
As you can see below, the Cooper’s Hawks are still here. This one had just caught a Mourning Dove.