Changes

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day. 

~W. Earl Hall

It’s coming. We can see it and hear it in our woods. The big change is near – the approach of spring in the Piedmont! The first warm days last weekend ushered in a host of other firsts – our first butterfly of the season (a Question Mark), the first Spring Peepers calling, the first sightings of the numerous Green Frogs in our disheveled water gardens, and so much more. This morning I see the long-range forecast calls for a string of sunny days ahead, something that seems like another first for this year, so I anticipate a lot of other noticeable changes in the coming days. Here are a few of the highlights of our woods wanderings last weekend. As in many of our recent walks, all photos were taken with my phone. At the bottom is a list of bird species we saw or heard on Sunday, a very good day for bird activity, especially raptors and woodpeckers.

Melissa spotted this (we think it is a Mud Salamander, Pseudotriton montanus) in our little creek over the weekend, a first sighting for this species on our property. Unfortunately, this is our only pic, as one misstep (mine) caused a flood of muddy water to cascade over it and by the time it cleared, this beauty had vanished. (click photos to enlarge)
The first spider webs of the season magically appeared on Sunday morning as the fog made their presence known throughout our woods – this one a tiny orb web
A Bowl and Doily Spider web in the fog
A sheet web on the forest floor
American Beech leaves continue to hang on and provide a canvas for the fog droplets
A view of our south slope woodlands across the creek and up the hill from the house (this area is much more open than the woods near our house, which is on the hill you see in the background)
Our latest bench on the south slope (one of 4 currently in our patch of woods)
One of the first plants to begin leaf out – Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
Our first snake of the year, a Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi). These small, harmless snakes are common in the leaf litter in our woods and feed primarily on earthworms, slugs, and other small invertebrates.

Birds from our Sunday explorations in our woods:

Turkey Vulture, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Barred Owl, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe, American Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Winter Wren, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal, and the still usual suspects at our feeders – Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Pine Warbler, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco

6 thoughts on “Changes

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