Spring Bloom

Spring Bloom
Spring Bloom

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday Was a Very Good Day

Saturday was the first nice day after last Monday.  In between it was cold and rainy or cold and cloudy.  Birds were hardly in evidence, except for the chipping sparrows and American goldfinches that hang out at my feeders most of the day.


It was a stained glass kind of morning

 Saturday had lots of birds feeling their spring oats. The pine warblers were warbling their melodious one-note call all over. A cardinal was singing to his lady. I surprised a pair of great blue herons, all decked out in dating clothes. But most exciting of all were the marsh wrens. Three males were all singing very near each other.  Definitely another sign that spring has arrived.  I love their songs.  This morning, the first time I heard it, it sounded like a ghost warbler. To hear it for yourself, click here.


Great Blue Heron in his courting clothes

A singing male marsh wren - they are usually almost invisible as they move through grasses and reeds

Just as I was about to go to the boardwalk and hunt more birds, I got a call to come work in the visitor center. I ended doing that until almost noon. By then the birds were not very active and the light too bright. But right after I started working at the Visitor Center, a visitor reported he had seen and heard a northern parula.  Migration has started. Another visitor reported that her sister had robins in her yard trying to feed in the snow.


I'm ready to give these guys the boot.  They are so numerous, active, and loud, they hide other birds from view

This chippie just got his new spring suit and paused to show it off
I had a great afternoon driving and walking around and stopping to talk to visitors. Our biggest alligator had hidden in plain sight, across the road from his usual sunning spot.  I was able to help several people get to see him.


THERE he is - just on the other side of the road

I stopped to talk to another couple who were looking for pitcher plants and were upset that someone had apparently mowed them down. They were near the blooming bladderworts so I asked them if they were familiar with them.  They were.  So I asked them if they wanted to see a patch of butterworts.  They got excited and said they knew about them but had never seen them.  So I told them to follow me and I'd take them to the patch.  There we chatted and took pictures of the very interesting little plants - blog on them coming soon.  They were so happy, they insisted on taking a picture of me.  They won't send it to me for another few weeks since they aren't traveling with their computer.


Visiting the butterworts

Then  as I visited the tower late in the day, I found the resident snowy on the near side and I grabbed a good enough picture to put in my e-bird check list. This is a bird that gets automatically filtered althouogh we have several at different places on the refuge. 

I'm pretty distracted right now.  I have a friend driving over to go out in the swamp for three days.  We'll come out of the swamp, get a night of rest with showers, then go on the St. Mary's river for another night.  Then he'll leave for home early next Saturday. I've finally finished the newsletter - in an on-line and mail version - and expect to have bee labels by the time I'm finished playing.  And my new side project is to photograph as many shelters as possible as well as other features, together with their coordinates so the Georgia River Network can use the pictures in their interactive digital map of the Swamp. And two new friends have invited me for two different weekends, and an old work buddy from last summer is bringing his girlfriend to visit me for two days over spring break. (He attends graduate school in Jacksonville.)  

So blogs may get skipped sometimes, including this Wednesday, unless I end up with more time  that I think I'll have.  But I will have lots to share about my Wilderness Camping and the exploration of St. Mary's River.

And the last thing  on my bucket list I got done today was to take pictures of the only dogwood tree I've found, one right in the picnic area.  Monday morning, there was enough light but not enough flowers were out.  Then we had rain and heavy clouds the rest of the week. But Saturday afternoon, everything was just right. 
Dogwood

Yes, a very good day. Tomorrow I work and entertain Pat with refuge activities, then Monday we go paddling and camping.  See you next Sunday.  Now back to cleaning up for company and finishing my packing for canoe camping.