The spring thaw is happening! The ice on our ponds is finally melting, although some slower than others. Soon the spiles and bags of sap in our maple grove will be taken down, because maple sugaring season is nearly over. Sandhill Cranes can be heard calling their trumpet-like sound. And our earliest spring migrants have returned, like the Swamp Sparrow, Common Grackle, and Red-winged Blackbird. Check the bird chart in the Great Hall to see when different species are beginning to arrive. Our first Red-winged Blackbird of spring arrived on March 12!  Visit during these early days of spring as you can watch winter melt away, and spring arriving.

Male Red-wing Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) can be heard calling “conk-a-ree!” nearly everywhere you can hike at the Center. The females will arrive later in spring.

 

spring thaw

Mystery Lake is slowly thawing. These Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) have already begun territorial disputes for nesting sites.

 

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) standing in slush on Mystery.

 

Song Sparrows have returned! They are an early arrival during spring migration.

 

Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) will soon be on their way out. They winter here, but are one of the earliest birds to migrate to their breeding grounds further north into Canada.

 

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) pair checking out one of the nesting boxes on the property.

Above Mystery Lake, a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) soaring.

 

On Mystery Lake, a male and female Hooder Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) resting.

 

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) showing the difference between when in the shade, versus its brilliant iridescence in the sun.

Maple sugar spiles and bags in our maple grove will soon be taken down until next season.

 

An American Robin (Turdus migratorius) foraging near a remaining pile of snow.

 

Winter melting in the woods.