An amazing new bird week started the day after my last post. On Monday, the 23rd of April, within a space of 2-3 minutes, I saw all of these birds right outside my study window (and not near the new bird feeder that no one has discovered yet!): a pair of tufted titmice, blue-gray gnatcatcher, male indigo bunting, two white-eyed vireos, a brown thrasher, cardinal, blue-headed vireo, male yellow-throated warbler, and an American redstart -- the first one of its species I have ever seen.
But it didn't stop there. On the 24th, I noticed a female Carolina wren catching food and flying toward a nest under my satellite dish. Over the next couple of days I saw both parents bringing food to the nest with greater frequency.
During my holler walk on April 27th, I heard the first wood thrush of the season, and, on the 28th, the song of a common yellow-throated warbler.
Wren feeding nestlings on April 28, 2018. [Video: Cathie Bird]
I'm now into day 5 of the wren nest watch. After getting my video camera charged up for the occasion, I caught one of the parents -- the mom, I think -- bringing more food to the nest.
Yesterday while I was watching the wrens, I saw another holler neighbor crawling up my porch steps while my cat, Buddy, looked on:
Left to right: rat snake, buddy. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
Once it crawled out of sight, I decided I should monitor its progress, first, to make sure it didn't turn back toward the wren nest, and, second, to make sure it didn't try to go through the pet door.
Up on the porch, I got the next two photos of the snake, and of the snake approaching my dog, Shadow, who came close to sniff but otherwise took alternate routes to his favorite porch spots:
Rat snake on April 28, 2018. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
Left to right: Shadow, rat snake. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
Very slowly the snake kept moving across the porch, occasionally winding its way up the hemlock sticks then back down to the rails. When I was sure it intended to keep heading north, I went back to wren watching.
Plenty of new things happened with trees and flowering plants as well this past week. The other American beech I observe for Nature's Notebook leafed out, and the Amur honeysuckle now has flowers.
Dogwood-3 has flowers, too:
Dogwood-3 flowers on April 28, 2018. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
After a rough growing season last year, Cutleaf Toothwort-1 has safely arrived at its fruit production stage. This is the first year I've seen its fruits develop this far. I hope to catch their ripening and seed drop in days to come:
Cutleaf toothwort (Dentaria lacinata) fruits on April 28, 2018. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
Finally, here's a dwarf crested iris in bloom -- not too many out yet:
Dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata) on April 28, 2018. [Photo: Cathie Bird]
Such an exciting week in the holler, and it's only the end of April!