Monday, July 8, 2013

As the bird songs begin to ebb, the butterflies blossom

Rachel and I were off to survey the Booth Lake block this morning.  The cacophony of bird songs has certainly begun to ebb over the last two weeks.  Summer doesn’t last that long up north, so the birds have to hurry to raise the next generation.  Once the young ones hatch, the males don’t sing on their territories quite as much.  We’re down to the nitty-gritty of hoping to find adult birds with food in their mouths that they don’t eat.  That proves that they have nested and have young in the area.  For example, we are no longer hearing any black-billed cuckoos or golden-winged warblers at all.  It will only be a few weeks before these neo-tropical migrants begin their journey south for the winter.


                                                                         Atlantis Fritillary

In contrast, the butterflies are now coming into their own.  We didn’t see quite the swarms that we saw yesterday, but the numbers of butterflies flitting around us is still rather mind boggling.

Milbert's Tortoiseshell IMG_3766

                                                      Milbert’s Tortoiseshell

I had to check my field guide to identify this new to me species.  Milbert’s Tortoiseshell is a true northern butterfly.  They overwinter as adults by hibernating in old logs, under bark, or in old out buildings.


I must say that Rachel has been a very apt student.  She has gone from being a very beginning birder to quite knowledgeable about birds in this area in the span of under two months.  She still mixes up some of the bird songs we hear, but my goodness, I’ve been at this for over 35 years and do the same thing at times.


We were able to add about four new species to the list for this block, and confirmed about the same number of breeding birds.  We found the nest of an American redstart, and documented adults with food for young for common yellowthroats, yellow warblers, and song sparrows in the block. 


We felt pretty good about this while battling the deer flies.  Don’t know why I had a respite from ticks yesterday, but they were back today.  Not as bad as last week, but they made their presence known.

73 Tamarac NWR, 20139

The highlight of the day for me came as the sun was sinking in the western sky.  I haven’t seen this porcupine in several weeks, and it was the first time I was able to get pictures of it.  It likes to climb a particular tree out beyond our front yard.  Emma, of course, was going ballistic over it being nearby.  Little does she know what havoc it could cause to her tender nose! Disappointed smile

IMG_3775                                                                              THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy