I heard my first warbler- at least one that I can identify--the black throated green warbler. I was in a meadow in Guilford and the sounds resounded. I could identify the yellow common throat, red-wing black bird, etc, but the wonderful moment was went a Canadian Goose flew only 30 feet overhead and I could hear the whir it made when its wings were flapping.
It was a day of heat, humidity and thunderstorms: growing weather. Bluets appeared in my lawn along with both white and purple violets. Wood anemone shone white in the woods where just days ago there was snow. And (in Brattleboro) Dutchman's Breeches were flowering.
The avian rolls also gained at least one new member: Gray Catbirds!
When I got home at 4 pm there was a kettle of 13 hawks - mostly broad-winged - over my field. In an hour and a half I saw 121 raptors: 1 merlin, 1 red-tailed, 3 turkey vultures, 2 ospreys, 2 bald eagles, 2 peregrine, 69 broad-winged, 8 kestrels, 1 northern harrier, 4 red-shouldered, 6 Coopers, and 22 sharp shinned hawks.
The haze and heat that created the thermals to get the raptors aloft also triggered a dragonfly hatch.
This morning a few rather anemic looking Jack-in-the-Pulpit were flowering along a roadside seep with their feet in running water.
Nearby this Ranunculus - which I tentatively identified as Hooked Crowfoot - also flowered. The ranunculus clan, buttercups and crowfoot, includes about 101 species just in the northeast and north central states according to the Peterson's Field Guide! The differences are subtle!!
Red Efts are out and about. I moved two off the road this morning. One Cabbage White butterfly was flying. Daffodils are starting to bloom. And, it's Tick season - one was crawling up on my sleeve today. So goes the season.
There are many sights that signify that spring is here. Last night I heard one of the first signs. The wood frogs were quacking in the vernal pool on the East-West Road near Black Mountain. We crossed Jefferson Salamanders and Wood frogs although an equal amount had been killed before we got to the site. However, many wood frogs had already made it and there was a cacophony of wood frog mating calls.
Bright yellow alien Colt's Foot bloomed today, just hours ahead of the native Bloodroot.
In a vernal pool near Camp Arden Rd. Wood Frogs were "quacking."
I saw my first Garter snake of the year - unfortunately it was roadkill.
And Angle-wined butterflies are flying. Angle wings which include commas, question marks, Milbert's Tortoiseshells and Mourning Cloaks overwinter as adults. The one I saw today was probably a Question Mark.
Suddenly there are White-Throated Sparrows under my bird feeders.
And female Brown-headed Cowbirds have joined the males of that species. Cowbirds are brood parasitic. She will perch quietly in a tall tree observing where birds of other species nest. When the time is right she will lay her eggs in those nests. That is the extent of cowbird parenting.
This morning started with winds from the east and east-northeast.
Robins by the thousands, Blackbirds by the tens of thousands, geese, ducks, a pair of Loons - waves of birds were moving north with the storm. By 11 am the winds switched to NW, stalling out the migration. Along a quarter mile stretch of the West River eight to ten Phoebes bobbed and swooped. Fields were full of Robins and Flickers. At my feeders the Junco flock quadrupled and several Fox Sparrows joined them. Two Northern Harriers teetered and circled just above the trees. A Merlin powered through the wind. For the next two or three days I will be spotting new species that came north this morning: first sightings of the spring. Favorable wind brought today's pulse of migration north. Birds don't waste energy flying into a headwind. With the next south wind many of them will be gone.