Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lady slipper time of year

Lady slipper twins
It was cloudy at 7:30 a.m. and 59 degrees. Before entering the lower gardens, I took a quick trip to see if the lady slippers were blooming and YES, they were. In some ways they are very discreet in the woods, even if they stand out in this picture. At first, I thought there were only these twins, but later I realized there were three others scattered around for a total of five. Pretty impressive - especially with such a strange winter and a couple of 16-18 degree evenings in April.

The bird excitement has definitely quieted down. There was some singing, but it seems that most of the birds are settling down to their mating and nesting duties. There were robins and warblers sitting on their nests and others in the process of building theirs. Even the tree swallows have quieted down. Some have even had their babies. The lower gardens sported yellow warblers, orioles, song sparrows, cowbirds, catbirds, house wrens and robins.

The upper gardens were similar save for a red-bellied woodpecker, goldfinches and house finches. The plots are going great guns, especially with cold weather crops like lettuces etc. and several gardeners were out working the soil, even though it was early in the morning.

Down by the pond I could hear a warbling vireo and FINALLY heard the wood thrush calling from the area near the JCC! Yay!! Actually, I ran into Ian who said there were two wood thrush and also saw the great crested flycatcher in the lower gardens. I saw a female common yellow-throat with her olivey back and bright yellow breast busily working her way through a shrub. There seem to be a lot of winter moth caterpillars and perhaps that was what she was after. A male cardinal sang and a red-winged blackbird declared itself.

Down by the river were orioles, yellow warblers and more warbling vireos but otherwise, fairly quiet. Woodcock meadow had a catbird and nesting tree swallows and I noticed a chimney swift flying overhead.

I walked the wooded path by the JCC in hopes of finding the wood thrush, but by that time it was not to be heard. However, as I neared the end, I was happy to hear my first pee wee singing off in the distance. It is such a beautiful sound.

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