Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday April 10th--spring in progress

Spring here in Chapel Hill continues to build with leaves beginning to be quite visible on most trees. The dogwoods and redbuds are still the dominant spring colors but they will begin to decline this week. We have had some thunderstorms the past 2 days that have provided some much needed moisture. Temps will fall into the 30's some nites, but temps are already getting as high as the mid 80's some days.

Two days ago I did another circuit walk of the property to see how the bird migration was doing. The Louisiana waterthrushes were all staking out territory. 3 ovenbirds were also busily vocalizing for the first time this spring. Blue-gray gnatcatchers, tufted tits, Carolina chickadees, robins and cardinals were all about. I found one of our breeding parulas high up in a tree. A late in the season red-breasted nuthatch came by the feeders.

The highlight of the walk was hearing "sweet, sweet, sweet" and then finding a lovely prothonotary warbler (bottom photo) working its way down Morgan creek (top photo--remember to click on any photo to enlarge). This warbler breeds in many places in the Triangle, but this is only the 3rd one that I have ever seen on our property. It is not clear why they don't breed along Morgan Creek, but for some reason they do not. This bird had probably come up the creek from University Lake where they are more easily seen.

We have 9 warbler species that usually breed on the land here--pine, La waterthrush, ovenbird, northern parula, common yellowthroat, prairie, hooded, yellow-throated, and yellow-breasted chat--so there are still some more breeders that have not yet shown up. Stay tuned!

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