May’s journal focuses on activity in and around backyard feeders one afternoon on the north end of the neighborhood. We were invited over to see Rose-breasted Grosbeaks who had been showing up to recharge on good food in a wonderful wooded setting before continuing on their migration. For one hour we sat quietly with our friends and watched. This is some of what we saw.
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.
January was an unseasonably warm month. Lots of bird activity with many of the usual suspects and one unexpected rare appearance by a Wilson’s Warbler (see our recent January 14 post). In addition to the photos below we had visits from a Great Blue Heron and a Red-tailed Hawk. The Northern Flickers in the photo below were engaged in a territorial fencing display, which we have seen one other time.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Sphyrapicus varius
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Cedar Waxwings – Bombycilla cedrorum
Brown-headed Nuthatch – Sitta pusilla
Brown-headed Nuthatch – Sitta pusilla
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Eastern Bluebird- Sialia sialis
Eatern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Golden-crowned Kinglet – Regulus
House Finch – Haemorhous mexicanus
Mourning Doves – Zenaida macroura
Northern Cardinal (male) – Cardinalis cardinalis
Northern Cardinal (female) – Cardinalis cardinalis
Neighbors and friends contributed great photos of wildlife in December: Sandhill Cranes flying south over Peachtree Park, a possum looking for birdseed, a Cooper’s Hawk hunting in a parking deck at Lenox mall and an owl box newly mounted way up high at owl-height. Credits and photo descriptions are at the bottom of the post. Thank you all and Happy New Year!
Sandhill Cranes over Peachtree Park
Possum looking for bird seed
Possum in the trees
Owl box mounted high
Cooper’s Hawk at mall
Japanese Maple seeds
female Northern Cardinal
Possum in ferns
 Greg Thomas heard the unmistakable sound of Sandhill Cranes flying high over Peachtree Park on December 22 and snapped this great photo with his iPhone.
 Stella and Jack Wissner have a guest living in their back yard. Stella took two great photos their resident possum looking for food under their bird feeder and resting in a tree.
 Cindy Mayer convinced somebody to mount her Barred Owl box very high in a pine; we reckon somewhere between 30 and 40 feet judging from the photo. See our post: Here’s Looking at You for more on Cindy’s Barred owls.
 Jan Kuttnauer sent us a photo of a Cooper’s Hawk sitting on an automobile as she was coming back to her car from an exercise session at Lenox mall. Think he’s hunting for rodents?
It’s been a warm, dry fall so far. With the drought, birds and critters have appreciated the water in birdbaths and the pond. But the drought was broken as reported in our previous post, and we have started hearing toads again at night.
A flock of several hundred grackles passed through a few days ago and we have started seeing Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Surely colder weather is not far off.
October’s journal is in two parts: photos from the neighborhood, followed by photos of wildlife from Jekyll just after hurricane Matthew.
We’ve been seeing Monarchs in our yard all month. One stayed and visited flowers for most of one afternoon. This Monarch was so pristine we speculated that perhaps it had just morphed out. There were many Monarchs on Jekyll as well, which was most encouraging.
Monarch butterfly on Georgia Aster
We arrived on Jekyll on October 12, two days after the island was re-opened and five days after hurricane Matthew hit. While the island sustained a fair amount of damage, things were in better shape than we had feared. And we were encouraged that wildlife seemed to have made it through. Also, very glad to see that the magnificent Live Oak in Brunswick known as Lover’s Oak, which is said to be over 900 years old, made it through as well.
Deer on the north end of Jekyll
Sulfur and Gulf Fritillary
adult Bald Eagle
juvenile Bald eagle
Gulf Fritillaries on Bottlebrush
Lover’s Oak – Brunswick, GA 
Green Darner dragonfly
Florida Softshell Turtle on Horton Pond
Carolina Chickadee with signs of leucism 
Wood Storks and Roseate Spoonbills near the toll booth
July has been full of birds. We think our yard has never been as full of birds as this past month. A cake of suet lasts about a day and a half and we’re filling large feeders every 4 days. Catbirds are everywhere, and we are getting up at sunrise to beat them and the robins to our ripening figs.
Birds are still fledging, and some bird houses up and down the street and on the Nature Trail are hosting their third brood of this season. Two of the photos below, shot through our window, are of a baby catbird who wasn’t quite quite ready to fly and wound up in boxwood for a few hours. His parents continued to feed him and eventually he got his wings and left.
Gray Catbird in the blueberries
American Goldfinch on Agastache
Carolina Wrens – nature trail
Cooper’s Hawk right outside the door
Gray Catbird juvenile stranded in the boxwood
Gray Catbird feeding the stranded juvenile
Eastern Bluebird juvenile begging
House Finch gathering
American Goldfinch on Coneflower
What’s missing are butterflies and dragonflies. They were everywhere this time last year and this year we are seeing very few. Maybe the birds are eating the larvae. We are hoping that mosquito spraying is not involved in their disappearance.