Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hummingbird visits

Dropping by the Nature Center this afternoon, it was fun to watch ruby-throated hummingbirds alternate between the feeder and the open flowers nearby. Our hummingbird residents (differentiated from the ones who passed through on their way north) have settled in now, and females are nesting. In our warm southern climates, they have time for a couple of broods each season, according to Bill Hilton, of Hilton Pond and RubyThroat.org

The webcam on the hummingbird feeder onn the Nature Center porch is on now, so we can get a close look from the monitor inside.

In the pollinator border, I saw one male visiting red Salvia greggi flowers, and probably also the blue Salvia gauranitica, always a favorite of hummmingbirds.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Great Blue Heron

An early morning walk today found a Great Blue Heron at the edge of the Hosta Garden pond. She/he walked up the path above the pond, and must have flown on to the Duck Pond, where we saw him/her next.

We ran into Garden horticulturist Kathy Bridges on the Duck Pond dam, and she said that the Great Blue Heron was a 'regular' visitor each morning, moving from the Hosta Garden pond to the Duck Pond (presumably flying through the trees!)

How cool is that!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

An eastern box turtle and male hummingbirds

Along the Heusel Nature Trail this morning, we saw a Eastern Box Turtle crossing the path. The flattened shell and red eyes suggested that it was a male; females have a rounder shell, and brown to yellow eyes, although box turtles can vary quite a bit in appearance. His yellowish color was striking in the morning light.

Eastern Box Turtles have a home range of about 750 feet, which often overlap with those of other turtles. They're omnivorous, eating indiscriminately (everything from mushrooms to frogs), although younger turtles tend to be carnivorous, whereas older ones are more vegetarian.

I've seen a male hummingbird(s) outside my office window a couple of times over the last few days -- hummingbirds, like many other birds, have a hard time distinguishing windows, so collisions are always a hazards. But he seemed aware of the roof and flew off each time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Springtime in the Children's Garden

With today's sun and rain over the past few days, the snapdragons, zinnias, and salvia have become to blossom in the Children's Garden making for a beautiful scene. Of course the volunteers have made it possible by helping to maintain the Garden.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bluebirds and phoebes

One of my favorite spring sights is watching our bluebirds set up their nests. We have active nests near the Discovery Center, at the edge of the meadow, near the Hydrangea garden, and probably in the other boxes, too. I haven't had time to check them all, but I see the male bluebirds standing watch on the boxes, and the female bluebirds foraging.

And a peek in the box along the loop drive in front of the Discovery Center (waiting for rotations of first-graders) revealed several nestlings. I didn't have my handy automotive mirror handy to check on their numbers, but it made a good interpretive point for the classes!

Leaving the Garden in late afternoon, a phoebe was foraging near the Geology Museum. Last year, a female built a nest above the Museum porch, and I wondered if this might be the same one -- they often come back to the same nesting site.