Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring is in the air

The air smelled like spring yesterday. Fresh, green, and damp around the edges. The increasing songs of birds are evident, too, and I'm thinking I need to check the bluebird boxes for any early activity.

Red maples are in fruit, and alders, junipers, and birches are releasing pollen. Achoo!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Healthy Soils presentation

Because of the snow and ice on Saturday, we had to cancel Amy Dabb's winter lecture series presentation. It will be rescheduled in spring, but in the meantime, you may want to take at look her presentation, posted on a Picasa web album.

Monday, February 15, 2010

American Robin behavior

We've had unusually large flocks of robins over the last few week devouring holly berries in various parts of the Garden.

Here's a report from Journey North about robin behavior; we're seeing what other folks are seeing all over the Eastern U.S.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow views

The Arboretum road framed a view of the stream side forest cloaked in snow. The road's surface was crackly black ice dusted with snow.

Friday, February 12, 2010


A heavy wet snow came into the Upstate late this afternoon and it's still snowing. There's about two to three inches on the ground and coating trees and shrubs. I've had to cancel tomorrow's Winter Lecture Series program (the slushy snow will freeze overnight) and will try to reschedule the program for spring. I was hoping for dry snow that would blow away by tomorrow's predicted sunny skies.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coyotes spotted in the Garden!

Coyotes have been seen in the Garden recently. James saw a pair early in the week, one trotting off with a squirrel. Allison and Kendra saw a male late Wednesday in the Pollinator Border outside the Hanson Nature Learning Center. It's quite interesting (and exciting) to see them.

Coyotes have become abundant into the Eastern US in the last decades, finding suburban landscapes full of the mixed woodlands and clearings that they favor.

They're not a threat to humans, but can occasionally be predators of cats and small dogs. I'm afraid we'd be glad if they snagged more of our overly-abundant squirrels!

This image is from a Texas Parks and Recreation site.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Downy woodpeckers and robins

On a morning walk today, I first heard tapping, and then spotted this downy woodpecker up in a tree near Hanover House.

S/he was busily foraging under the bark, it seemed.

Nearby, a robin flock was mobbing the berries on the hollies along Duck Pond Rd., above the HCC/Hanson Nature Learning Center.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Robin flocking behavior

The feeding frenzy outside my office window is continuing this morning, with large robin flocks also feeding on the hollies at the entrance to Garden. There's a continuous murmur of bird calls. Remarkable.

Here's some more interesting information about robin flocking behavior from Journey North.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Flocks of robins

The hollies behind the Fran Hanson Discovery Center are being mobbed by robins devouring its fruits this afternoon. I can see the robins from my office window, a constant whirling stream of foraging birds and those waiting their turn in nearby branches. Holly fruits are a mid-winter staple of foraging flocks of fruit-eating birds like robins and cedar waxwings.

(I noticed that I posted about robins singing in mid-February last year. Something to listen for in the coming weeks!)