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
There’s been much nesting activity in April, as there should be. Three of the four houses on the Peachtree Park Nature Trail have occupants and there is a Red-bellied Woodpecker pair nesting in a snag on the trail: (see the recent post Nesters on the Nature Trail). The bluebird house in the Darlington Road triangle is occupied, and Bluebirds are competing with Brown-headed Nuthatches for a box three houses down. Birds are nesting in shrubbery in multiple locations in our yard and Carolina Wrens in the oven vent. This is occurring all over the neighborhood, and most likely in your yard.
Also, Goldfinches descended in mass in the trees inback of us for several days and emptied the thistle feeders every day for a few days. The morning chorus at sunrise continues to be quite loud; some singers go on almost all day, like the Brown Thrasher below. It’s a great time of year.
Peachtree Park Nature Trail – Darlington Commons Entrance
The Peachtree Park Nature Trail is a gem tucked in along the southeast boundary of the neighborhood. When you walk this path, have you considered how much wildlife this little spot of land supports?
As a part of Ryan Tuemler’s Eagle Scout merit badge, he built four bluebird-size houses and installed them along the trail. Here’s the cool part: three of Ryan’s four houses have birds nesting in them right now! The one closest to the community garden appears to still be waiting on occupants. Thanks Ryan! Hope things are well at West Point and wish you were here to see what you’ve done.
(1) Darlington Commons cul-de-sac
(2) Close to Darlington Commons
(3) Trail Midpoint
(4) Close to Community Garden
Birdhouse #2 has Eastern Bluebirds. This video shows they are hard at work feeding their chicks.
Take a stroll down the Nature Trail and tell us which bird you think is in house #1 and house #3. Please read our notes on etiquette and take care not to disturb the hard-working parents.
While we were checking out the birdhouses yesterday, we noticed a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers who have built their own nest in the top of a snag near house #3. So awesome to see in our neighborhood!
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped establish and are maintaining this trail!
Notes on Etiquette
Juts a few things to remember when watching nesters:
Keep a safe distance from the birdhouse: 20 – 30 feet is good – you can see a lot from this respectful distance.
Be patient. Bird parents are especially skittish when they’ve got babies. But if you’re quiet and still, they will think you’re safe and continue feeding.
Don’t go up to the birdhouse and certainly don’t touch it.
Don’t check the house early in the morning. Also, avoid the nest at dusk and at night.
If you think you’ve disturbed the birds, then back up a little and give them some more room.
Nesting season is off to a great start! Let us know who you have nesting in your yard.
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.
Again our monthly journal is mostly about birds. In addition to these colorful visitors, we saw many Blue Jays, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Red-tailed Hawks in January. The weather continues to be unseasonably warm, and we are seeing territorial disputes already beginning; particularly Eastern Bluebirds, Brown-headed Nuthatches and American Robins. And we are on the lookout for early hummingbird arrivals.
White-throated Sparrow – Zonotrichia albicollis Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January 3, 2016
White-breasted Nuthatch – Sitta carolinensis Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Song Sparrow – Melospiza melodia Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January, 2016
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January, 2016
Pine Warbler – Setophaga pinus Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January, 2016
Eastern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Eastern Phoebe – Sayornis phoebe Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Eastern Bluebird – Sialia sialis Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 16, 2016
Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Dark-eyed Junco – Junco hyemalis Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January 3, 2016
Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 16, 2016
Brown-headed Nuthatch – Sitta pusilla Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Happens every year about this time. Snows one day and two days later it’s 70 degrees. Today was glorious and things continue to wake up. Budding, buzzing and if not foolin’ around, then certainly thinking about it. The bluebirds are out in abundance. (male and female Eastern Bluebird, male eastern Bluebird and Yellow-rumped Warbler and male Eastern Bluebird and Downy Woodpecker).
Plants are starting to come alive too. There are buds on the native azaleas and the woods poppies are beginning to leaf out.
Some plants overwintered in the basement with grow lights. The Limequat is having its leaves cleaned since in the artificial environment the plant, because of the presence of aphids, gets sooty mold. Outside, aphids have natural predators. Ridding the plant of the sooty mold allows the leaves to do their job of photosynthesis and respiration and makes the plant much healthier.