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Looking for Spring

Last night I heard the spring peepers and the wood frogs croaking out their mating calls. Even though the days are slowly getting warmer here in Michigan, the nights are still cold enough to frost the tips of fallen leaves.

Spring is coming….

A few weeks earlier I saw my first red-winged blackbird . The males always arrive before the females and hang out with the grackle clan around our birdfeeders. They are mostly seen at the top of the tallest trees keeping sentry duty. It’s easy to spot their red and yellow epaulets. Don’t use Robins as the first sign of spring – the Red Winged blackbird is the bird to watch for.

Spring is coming…

The male goldfinches have begun changing their feathers from an olive greenish color towards their bright yellow hue.

Spring is coming…

It’s time to clip pussy willow branches from down by the lake and force forsythia blossoms in the time-honored tradition to celebrate the coming of spring.

Spring is definitely coming….

First the snowdrops arrived, then daffodils!

I don’t want to jinx it, but I think Spring has arrived!

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Nature Diary – Barred Owls

A young barred owl seen last August at dusk

I heard the barred owl again last night. He, or maybe it was a she, hooted as it flew in a wide circle around the perimeter of our property. The first hoot seemed very close , then a little more distant, and again on the other side of the house.

I’ve heard them before, beginning last month, just a few times and from a distance, but now, as the weather is beginning to get warmer, they seem to be settling in for the season. Since barred owls usually live near water, I’m pretty sure they have set up residence in an old tree down by the lake.

We had a couple that nested near us last year. Since we feed the birds (along with mice, squirrels and chipmunks-and any other critters that will eat sunflower seeds) the owls like to hang out near our house looking for a meal. I would often see one napping in a pine tree or just sitting and listening and looking for any dinner moving around on the ground.

Unfortunately, a rough gang of crows settled in our neighborhood as well, and seemed to take great pleasure hounding and harassing the owls, finally driving them away from the area. The last time I heard their call or saw one was in August 2020.

But now they are back! I have become obsessed with these birds and am keeping an eye out for them, hoping to see them, capture more photos.

Perhaps the Mama or the Papa owl seen a year ago in March 2020.

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