Daily Observations

Recently Fledged Winter Wren

Obviously updates have been a little sporadic recently. I’ve had other things going on that have kept me occupied and haven’t been getting out too much. In the last week or so I have been on a few short outings, including a walk from Indian River Road to Gavan Hill Trail along the Cross Trail, a couple of short outings up Gavan Hill Trail, a walk along Westwood Trail and up along the flume pipe, and Sunday’s Marbled Murrelet watch outing to Whale Park.

I have managed to keep up a little better with the 1000 Species Project, so you might consider checking it out, if you’re interested.

Today we took a family walk around Westwood Trail. Connor spotted a Winter Wren that we watched for awhile. Rowan led us up a hill to an opening where we rediscovered the wren and there were abundant Shy Maidens in bloom. I don’t know if it was the weather or what, but I could smell the lemony scent of the small white flowers on the air without even sticking my nose in the flowers.

Weather: The weather over the last week has been mixed. Most of the days were overcast with a little bit of rain, but late last week it was sunny and relatively warm. Today it was sunny and warm this morning, but overcast skies prevailed by this afternoon, temperatures were still fairly warm, and as of now (a little before 11pm) it’s still almost 55 degrees. Most days there has been some breeze (which I’ve especially noticed because several of the plants I have been wanting to take pictures of are tall and easily swayed).

Birds: I found the tree where the sapsucker nest is along the Cross Trail. There is also a sapsucker nest in the utility pole on the corner of Jeff Davis and Sawmill Creek Road. There also appears to be a starling nest in the same pole. A week ago Monday, the sapsuckers seemed to be sitting on eggs still, but the starling juvenile looked like it was getting close to fledging.

The neighborhood sapsucker has been very active. It seems to especially like to utilize the willow in the backyard. A couple of days ago I noticed that it had caught several large insects. I am guessing it was taking them back to its nest somewhere over in Westwood (though I’m not sure whether it would be feeding a mate or its young). It may have also been utilizing sap directly (and not just as bug bait). The sap was flowing enough that I saw it dripping.

I heard a couple of different bird calls along Gavan Trail (near the muskeg at the beginning) that I didn’t recognize. Of course when I brought my recording equipment, I didn’t hear the bird.

Today there was a young Winter Wren foraging along Westwood Trail. It seemed to be alone (the previous times I’ve seen Winter Wren fledglings, they’ve still be attended by adults). It was not nearly as wary of us as it should have been, but it was nice to watch it finding food. It didn’t seem to have any trouble finding little bites to eat, though I am not sure exactly what it was eating.

Flora: Lots of stuff is blooming. The Crabapples are a bit later this year than I’ve seen in years past. Many graminoids (though the breeze has made it hard to get photos). Single Delight seemed to be about at their peak today along Westwood Trail. Other plants I’ve seen blooming in the last week or so include, Buckbean, Alaska Bog Orchid (possibly), Twayblades, Labrador Tea, Cloudberries, Deerheart, Siberian Miner’s Lettuce, and probably other things I’m forgetting now.

I still haven’t seen any ripe salmonberries, but there are lots of green ones around.

Other Notes: Last Tuesday was the first time I saw a Damselfly this year. Today the kids brought me a Dragonfly that the neighbor’s cat had captured.

I found one of our local millipedes when I turned over a rotten piece of wood today. I notied an odd smell when I picked it up to look at it. It was not really unpleasant (nor would I call it pleasant), so I had others smell it. Connor didn’t seem to mind it, but Melissa said it burned her nose. I’m sure it’s a deterrant for predators, but when not concentrated it’s not bad. I guess Melissa just got a more concentrated burst of it.

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