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.
Spring has arrived early this year after a mild winter. Migrants have been here in full force. Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins blanketed the neighborhood for days and Sandhill Cranes were seen high overhead. All that planting you did last year to provide blooms for pollinators in late winter and early spring is now paying off.
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.
We photographed several butterflies this past month and had fun trying to identify them all. It’s difficult for us to tell the difference between the Cloudless and the Clouded Sulphur butterflies, so we just labeled them Sulphur. The same is true with the Skipper; there are many of them and while we think this is a Southern Skipper, we’re just not entirely sure. We were also very excited to see the first Monarch of the season! Hopefully there will be more.
American Chestnuts getting a head start at the Atlanta History Center
Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Canadian Geese on the South Fork
Great Blue Heron in the Kudzu on the South Fork
Mallards on the South Fork
Red-spotted Purple on apple tree (host plant)
Juvenile male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Pileated Woodpecker at the Atlanta History Center
Magnificent White Oak in Peachtree Park – 16′-9″ circumference