This has been a good spring for seeing birds in our local park. In addition to the pair of Yellow-crowned Night Herons that returns each year, we have two and possibly three pairs of Mallards nesting along the stream. During my morning walks with the sprout, I’ve seen the usual suspects (Northern Flickers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Eastern Phoebes, Northern Cardinals, Northern Mockingbirds, Catbirds, Blue Jays, American Crows, Grackles, Carolina Wrens, Song Sparrows, House Sparrows, Starlings, American Robins, Carolina Chickadees, Downy/Hairy Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves, and American Goldfinches) as well as some fun surprises. We’ve come across Brown Thrashers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Common Yellowthroat, and Wood Thrushes foraging in the brush along the stream banks. There was a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks hanging around for long enough that we thought they might be nesting, but we haven’t seen or heard much of them lately. One day we walked along behind a Pileated Woodpecker going from tree to tree; now that the woods north of town have been demolished, I doubt it will be able to find suitable habitat nearby.
While I’m always happy to see birds, I’ve been thrilled to find frogs in the stream! So far I’ve only been able to spot bullfrogs, but I have high hopes for more diversity in years to come. We’ve also startled several bunnies (making the sprout cackle with glee) and seen one or two groundhogs in our travels. No luck yet with our nocturnal friends, although I’m pretty sure something (possum? raccoon? fox? skunk?) is visiting the side yard to chow down on the mulberries.
Now that summer is kicking into gear, I need to think about incorporating a bird bath into my plans for the garden. It’s getting hot out there and the little fluffballs of sparrow, cardinal, blue jay, and robin that we’re starting to see are going to need a place to cool off.