So, yesterday (March 20, 2009) was supposed to be the first day of spring. Well, the photo above looks more like the first day of winter to me. 8am and the snow is coming down. "It will only last a few more minutes" I told myself as I looked to the sky searching for any sign of blue. Unfortunately is was nearly 11am before the flurries faded and the sun started to peak from behind the darned clouds that dropped all that snow.
Today, spring has decided to make it up to us here at the sanctuary. Despite the chilly 29 degree air, cardinals, titmice and chickadees were singing bright and early this morning. Not to be outdone by anyone's displays of territoriality, a group of 10 turkeys made an appearance in the yard this morning. 10 in all (3 toms, 7 jakes) made their way out of the pine stand on the Easy Loop trail, past the cemetary and into the lawn in front of the naturalist's cottage.
I couldn't get them all into the frame of the camera, but you can see half the crew here on the right. I had to take the picture through my windows so I wouldn't scare them off or disrupt the display of one particular male. This shot shows two toms (one displaying on the left and the other to the far right) and three jakes. The toms are the one's most likely to take a harem of females this spring, while the jakes will seemingly hang around as long as the toms will let them. I'm guessing this display was all about reminding the other boys in the group who's the boss. It doesn't hurt to get a little practice in before showing off for the girls, too!
Other sites and sounds from the morning includes a pair of Eastern Bluebirds eating bugs in Nichols Field and checking out the nesting boxes. The male was singing and telling his girl all about the great place he had found to make a nest. That was a sign for me to get our nesting boxes all cleaned out.
A number of robins were foraging for insects in our neighbor's field adjacent to the Catbird Trail. Tufted Titmice and Carolina Wren were calling out through the forest. A Downy Woodpecker was drumming on a tree, setting up the boundaries of his breeding territory.
-Adam Zorn, Naturalist