These tiny little birds are relatively common in some areas of northern Virginia but I seem to see more of them in the spring. This one was alone and completely silent the whole time I was watching it. Lovely birds.
Sunny days in springtime may be the very best days for turtle lovers. These guys dig out of the mud where they spent the winter and climb up on whatever they can find to bask in the sun. At Meadowlark Botanical Gardens they have placed hay bales along the pond edges for the turtles, which look awful but really work. There were dozens of turtles basking, some still just totally covered in mud and others that had apparently been awake for a while like this pretty painted turtle.
Now that the Easter Bunny has come and gone, the fields are full of regular old eastern cottontails.
With the cold temps refusing to leave, some early migrants will struggle for a bit. Eastern phoebes started arriving a little while ago and could be heard singing on one of the warmer days. But these birds are flycatchers and usually hawk flying insects so will have to find other food sources with the cold and high winds that have been around. The low temps will likely stay around for another week which is also likely to be hard on the trees, many of which have just gone into flowering.
Everyone loves bluebirds! But did you ever look closely at one? Take a look at this female eastern bluebird and tell me another common bird it looks like. I'll even give you a hint: mentally add a white eye ring and turn the blue to the same gray as the head...
Okay, got it? How about now put it in the grass with a worm in its mouth...
Yes, the bluebird is very closely related to the American robin. Both are in the thrush family, the humorously named Turdidae, and share a lot of physical resemblance like beak shape, large eyes and general posture.
The usual late winter cold temps in northern Virginia, but spring is trying to break through and the birds are starting to arrive from points south.
We don't see a lot of these around here, but yesterday there was a chipping sparrow at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.
I always liked this photo I took quite a few years ago and have scanned from a photographic slide. It shows Jim "Crash" Kennedy rappelling down the 200-foot entrance drop in Cueva Infierno on the Camotera Plateau just outside of the little town of Laguna de Sanchez, Mexico. It was a pretty pit and has a large colony of rare nectar bats in it which we were there to study. And no, he didn't drop something, that is his pack tethered on a rope just below him. Having a heavy pack full of scientific equipment on your back can throw you off balance on rappel so having it on a short leash below you is much easier.
Testing out this photo idea I had here on the blog. I am thinking the sign on the door is too small but that is the real sign on a real school door and a real robot from Marshall High School's Robotics Club Team Gryphon Robotics: Team 5549
Keith Christenson - Wildlife Biologist