Saturday, February 18, 2012

Looking For Spring

Indian Plum

Indian Plum is the first deciduous shrub to show signs of life in our yard after winter, and here is one that is getting close to blooming already.  This is one of the things that I anxiously look for in February as a sign that spring WILL be coming.  

Heron rookery at the Kenmore Park and Ride, 2/17/2012

The heron return to the rookery in Kenmore every year around the first week of February.  The rookery was definitely FULL Friday morning.  In the near future I'll post more pictures from my trip there.

Red-tailed hawk returns to nest in Kenmore's Wetland #3

A red-tailed hawk returns to the same nest in the cottonwood tree behind our fence every February.  There it was peaking out of the nest Friday afternoon.

So I have now seen all of the early signs of spring that I watch for along Little Swamp Creek.  Here are some other things we've seen along the stream in the last month or so -

Varied Thrush
Varied Thrush pair in a locust tree
Varied Thrushes were here in January but I haven't heard them lately.

Chickadees, of course

Flocks of (maybe?) Pine Siskins passed through and seemed to be pecking at alder cones

Towhee giving me the stink-eye because the bird feeder was empty

Stellar's Jay also pointing out that empty feeder


Flicker looking guilty after hammering on our stove pipe

Bees were going crazy on a hellebore one unseasonably warm afternoon

Some of my first photos of the year of the red-tailed hawk in the tree across the field from us -

I could tell that the hawk had returned because of the fussing of crows.  Speaking of crows, I have noticed that the huge flocks of crows that would stop for a while in our neighborhood as they pass through at dusk all winter long are no longer showing up.  That also seems to happen every February.

I haven't seen the Kenmore deer herd for quite some time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Heron Return to Kenmore

I had been keeping an eye out for the Great Blue Heron to make their annual return to their nesting trees next to the Kenmore Park and Ride, knowing that it is the time of year that they start showing up. On January 28th I glanced over when driving down 73rd and noticed one single heron perched there.  Walking through the P&R on January 31st I was disappointed to see only empty trees. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, a flock of about 20 heron flew in and landed in the trees.  Perfect timing!

I now knew that the heron were back, but they were never there when I returned with a camera.  Until last Friday, when I was in a hurry and didn't get a very good shot.  But here it is -

Perhaps they now have some eggs in the nests and are sticking around to guard them?

More photos to come soon of what's going on around Little Swamp Creek as we transition to spring, including pictures of our neighborhood Red-tailed hawk who has also returned.