The Joy of Spring

SkunkCabbage17May17#8054E2c8x10

Skunk Cabbage leaves unfolding

Chipmunk28May17#8717E2c8x10

Chippy after a field trip to the bird feeder

NSpruce15May17#7848E2c5x7

The female flower of a Norway Spruce tree

EurasianHoneysuckle27May17#8680E2c4x6

Eurasian honeysuckle, an invasive shrub, in full bloom

DoeAppleTree24May17#8634E2c5x7

A mature doe reaching above my protective fencing to nibble on the new growth of a young apple tree; deer are losing their winter coats and look pretty ragged

Morel29May17#8775E5c4x6

Morels in a maple-hemlock woodlot

RedSquirrel27May17#8709E2c8x10

A fat and happy Red Squirrel framed in dandelion seed heads

Osprey10May17#7514E5c4x6

Osprey after an incredible 30 meter dive into the shallow water of a large pond

Gone fishing………………………………….

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

The Solitary Doe

White-tailed deer are social animals, and multi-generational family groups of does and fawns are the norm. That said, this young doe has been alone since last fall (I see her once or twice a week while trail walking) and is now including the bird feeders in her daily routine. I suspect the family group was broken up due to hunting season or highway mortality.

Doe5Mar17#2274E5c8x10

Doe5Mar17#2291E2c8x10

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

Asters and Goldenrods

Leaves falling, geese honking overhead, frost in the air, deer hunting season around the corner; time for one last colorful meadow story before moving on and embracing autumn.

The aster bloom, a wonderful palette of white, blue, lavender and purple, follows the goldenrod bloom, with just enough overlap to create a memorable finale to the wildflower season…..

The September bloom, brilliant when the sun is just right, frames idle nest boxes,

astersgoldenrods19sept165391e2c8x10

Fuels late season butterflies,

comma5sept164775e3c8x10

A “Comma”, one of the anglewing group of butterflies

Hides a fawn,

fawn25sept165616e2c8x10

And its alert mother as well!

doe25sept165619e3c8x10_edited-1

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Late Spring Scenes, 2016

Becoming immersed in the continuum of spring scenes from March to June is a bit like viewing a blog post that features an endless gallery of world-class images. Each phase of spring has exceptional, defining visual qualities and it’s virtually impossible to pick favorites.

Young Red Squirrels are maturing rapidly, but still show the fearless curiosity of a juvenile.

RedSquirrelJv10June16#0097E2c8x10

Buttercups are in full bloom…

Buttercups10June16#0078E2c5x7

Buttercups10June16#0086E2c8x10

As are the Dame’s Rockets…..

DamesRocket6June13#050E2c4x6

Tiger Swallowtails, our most common, large butterfly, liven up the June landscape as they follow the sequence of bloom.

TigerSwallowtail10June16#0025E6c5x7

Tiger Swallowtail on hawkweed

And it’s not all about youngsters and flowers: large herbivores seize the moment, feasting on succulent new plant growth (throughout the day if undisturbed).

Doe10June16#0060E6c8x10

A young doe (yearling) foraging in a brushy meadow

Doe10June16#0056E6c8x10

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Wildlife Odds and Ends

I walk often, usually traveling short distances on local trails. Late Spring is a wonderful time to do this because there’s so much going on in the world of wildlife.

Doe28May16#1850E2c5x7

Wildlife populations are approaching their annual peak as new recruits arrive daily!

RedSquirrelJuv24May16#1568E2c8x10

Juvenile Red Squirrel

Geese20May16#1252E2c8x10

Goslings

Songbirds are in various stages of nesting: some are building nests, some are sitting on eggs, some are feeding young. Regardless of the species, males can usually be heard singing on the nesting territories.

CSWarbler22May16#1393E2c8x10

Chestnut-sided Warbler above a dense thicket of shrubs and young trees

GCFlycatcher26May16#1694E5c5x7

Great Crested Flycatcher nesting in a “Bluebird” box (1 of 3)

GCFlycatcher26May16#1696E2c8x10

GCFlycatcher26May16#1717E2c8x10

Reptiles and amphibians have come alive in the summer-like heat. This American Toad has claimed my compost pile as home.

ToadCompost27May16#1833E3c5x7_edited-1

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Mammal Encounters

Surprise encounters with the wonderful world of mammals must be shared, even if there is no particular theme to tie it all together!

Serious birders know that a slice of orange attracts orioles to backyard feeders. My orioles are still singing and foraging in the tree tops!

Chipmunk17May16#1076E2c8x10

Cottontail at rest in the protective cover of a fencerow thicket

Bunny12May16#0591E2c5x7

This groundhog was caught off guard and didn’t have a clear path to its den. It hid under a log, then came out to see if I was still a threat. Had I been a fox or coyote, it would have been dinner.

Groundhog17May16#1039E2c8x10

Groundhog17May16#1054E2c8x10

The gestation period for White-tailed Deer is about 200 days. This doe will soon be giving birth to a fawn or two. The lush herbaceous vegetation of stream bottoms is preferred habitat for fawning.

Doe20May16#1266E2c8x10

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.