Saturday, April 30, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The Yellow Rumped Warblers were feeding in the wetlands on the midges that hatched yesterday.
These little warblers are often the first to return, and this year have been here for two weeks with very few other warblers showing up.
The cold weather has kept them close to the ground looking for food, so they are easy to see.
You can see in the picture below why they are called "Yellow Rumped" warblers.
They will travel to northern Minnesota to find a place to nest.
Below is one of the midge flys that hatched yesterday, caught in one of the first spider webs of the year. The sun had just hit this web, turning the frost to dew almost instantly.
Friday, April 15, 2011
This is the first year males have been present in the park, and they are really putting on a show, gobbling and strutting in front of the windows while the hens are feeding.
I believe they see their reflection and think it is another male, so they try to out-perform the reflection, getting right up close to the window so the hens will have an easy time comparing.
Also notice the short "beard" projecting from the turkey's chest. the short length suggests this turkey is young, probably a "Jake," just one or two year's old. Maybe that is why he is at Springbrook, where he does not have to compete with older, more established males in other areas. Older Tom turkeys have beards over one foot long.
The bright colors on the head of the males are what tells the difference from the females. Other wise they look pretty similar, except that most female turkey's also lack the beard. About one in ten females do have short "beards," which is why hunting regulations for turkeys allow shooting of "bearded" turkeys. That way very few females are taken, and reproduction is high the next year.
The hens seem to ignore the performance of the males, but I am pretty sure they are watching, and that Springbrook will have baby turkeys by the end of May.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
They were calling at Springbrook yesterday, and I was only able to get these poor quality photos. The pool is big this year--because of the big snow melt.
You can see the air sacs on the lower photo--sorry for the quality.
Still, it is always a great pleasure to hear the wood frogs the once every three or four years I am able to catch their calls on the one day they are there.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
How do supposedly "cold blooded" animals do this? Animals that are not able to raise their body temperature except by sitting in the sun.
This turtle looked like fox or mink food to me. A mink crossed the trail in front of me and entered this wetland just a few minutes after I saw this turtle.
Hope the turtle knew what it was doing and we see it this summer swimming in the wetland.