This morning's Breakfast with the Birds Hike included a large number birds and signs of spring. Thanks to the thorough drenching from earlier in the week, the soils are sufficiently moist and beginning to warm up. Many species of trees are breaking bud, and the season's first wildflowers are on their way to blooming. Along the Easy Loop trail, the thin leaves of Spring Beauty are shooting through the leaf litter. Trout Lily and the large leaves of Skunk Cabbage can be observed along the inlet stream and banks of Bechtel Lake.
Within the confines of the lake, a pair of Canada Geese have been regularly seen in addition to fleeting glimpses of wary Wood Ducks and a Great Blue Heron during the past few days. With daytime temperatures well into the 60's and 70's, a number of Painted Turtles can be seen basking on the fallen trees along the lakeshore.
Deer, Gray Squirrels, Chipmunks, 2 Mourning Cloak and 1 Spring Azure Butterfly, and a whole host of other insects were observed during this morning's walk. As for the birds, 28 different species were observed - many in great abundance. Lingering winter migrants, early spring migrants, and a whole host of year-round residents filled out this morning's list. Below is a tally of the individual species with the number of each listed in parenthesis. FOY indicates first-of-the-year sighting on the sanctuary.
Canda Goose (4), Wild Turkey (1), Mourning Dove (4), Red-bellied Woodpecker (4), Downy Woodpecker (5), Hairy Woodpecker (1), Northern Flicker (4), Eastern Phoebe (1), Blue Jay (8), American Crow (3), Tree Swallow (5), Black-capped Chickadee (9), Tufted Titmouse (10), Red-breasted Nuthatch (1), White-breasted Nuthatch (4), Golden-crowned Kinglet (2-FOY), Eastern Bluebird (1), American Robin (16), Cedar Waxwing (1-FOY), Pine Warbler (1-FOY), Song Sparrow (3), White-throated Sparrow (55), Dark-eyed Junco (5), Northern Cardinal (4), Red-winged Blackbird (1), Brown-headed Cowbird (1-FOY), House Finch (6), American Goldfinch (8)
-Adam Zorn, Naturalist