March 2, 2003
two white-breasted nuthatches
this morning. They were having an animated exchange using their "ank-ank"
I've been hearing these nuthatches over the past couple of weeks.
Some mornings there's been just one - giving it's "hey-hey-hey-hey-hey"
call. But on other days, I hear two of them excitedly giving "ank"
calls back and forth. I think they may be staking out their breeding
March 1, 2003
neighbor up the road saw a flock of robins
yesterday. Not all robins migrate southward in the fall; some are
winter residents in New England. I'm guessing that those were winter
robins that my neighbor saw.
Robins that remain here for the
subsist on fruits and berries. On
warm days in late winter, they tend to come
out into the open more - which leads some people to believe that they
are seeing the first northward migrating robins. The migrators will
come soon, but they're probably not here quite yet.
February 28, 2003
a female purple finch at my feeder
today - I think... Have seen some males but this is the first female
I sometimes find it hard to distinguish the female purple finch from
the female rose-breasted grosbeak.
I didn't get a very long look at her, so I can't be sure. Seemed too
small to be a grosbeak, though - and the beak didn't look thick enough.
February 27, 2003
morning, I saw the barred owl in
this photo. After a little while, it flew off to another tree and
immediately a blue jay came by and
started scolding it with its "jay, jay, jay" call.
Soon 4 or 5 other jays arrived and joined in the harassment. The
off again with the jays in hot pursuit.
February 26, 2003
some coyote tracks today. There was a
set of larger tracks next to a set of smaller tracks. I believe these
were the tracks of a male and female traveling together. Here's a
photo of one of the larger tracks. It's approximately 2 inches
wide and 3.25 inches long.
Mid-February is about the peak of the coyote's courtship period, which
usually spans two or three months. During this time, many male coyotes
may follow an available female.
Once the female accepts one of the males, the pair may travel together
for up to a month before mating takes place. The female is in heat
for only 2-5 days during the breeding season. It is thought that coyotes
pairs remain together for many years - and perhaps for life.
February 25, 2003
is a photo of a gall on a black cherry tree. This gall was probably
caused by a fungus called Black Knot (Dibotryon morbosum).
Here's an interesting
site on galls. The introduction describes how galls can, in some
cases, actually be beneficial to trees and plants. That's surprising.
brief research indicates that, even when galls weaken or kill the
host tree, they might
still benefit some other species in the forest. For example, certain
insects breed in the galls formed by Black Knot.
February 24, 2003
tufted titmice were calling back
and forth to each other this morning. I think they were in flight
- or moving quickly from tree to tree - because the sound was traveling
away at a fairly rapid pace.
They were each singing a two-note whistling call - occasionally a
single note or three notes. My guess is that these titmice were in
the process of establishing their respective territories.
Also, a barred owl stopped by early
this evening for a brief hooting session before going off somewhere
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