Sunday, April 28, 2024

Pine Barrens Today


I had a long walk in the New Jersey pine barrens today. I was hoping to find early-blooming pink lady's slipper orchids, but it really is too early for them, so I found none.  I did find a pink dogwood tree reflected in a pond. Click to enlarge.

And I found luxurious mats of fresh green sphagnum moss.

And long dangling oak tree flowers.

This painted turtle was sitting by the path, sunning itself.

Picked it up very gently and carefully for a picture, supporting the lower shell.

Took a peek underneath. See the red details!

Then put it back where it had been. Note the sleek shiny shell.

 A pink dogwood tree and a lilac bush posed for a photo. 

Carpenter bees were humming around the lilacs.

And another typical pine barrens thing -- signs of abandoned industry. It's been a long time since the last train came down these rails.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

White-breasted Nuthatches Are Singing


I have been seeing and hearing a lot of white-breasted nuthatches in my neighborhood. They are cute little birds with blue-gray on the back, white cheeks, black cap, and a rusty patch on the white belly. It's one of the birds whose distinctive sound stands out in the spring chorus. Click to enlarge.

Males sing in spring to attract mates, using 6-12 nasal-sounding notes that some people hear as ha-ha-ha. Also, both sexes have a call that sounds to me how tiny, fast-talking sheep would bleat, others hear the honk of a little tin horn. Clicking on this sentence will take you to e-bird, where you can select LISTEN to get a list of recordings of the song and call of the white-breasted nuthatch.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

White-throated Sparrow


White-throated sparrows are singing in my neighborhood. Their song is a loud, clear, attention-getting whistle that stands out among the other sounds of spring. Birdwatchers think the song’s phrases sound like “Po-or Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody.” Or “My sweet Canada Canada Canada.” Click on this sentence to hear the sparrow sing. Yay, spring!

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Blueberry Buds


The flowers on my blueberry bushes are little bundles of spring-colored buds right now. I know they are lovely when they are fully open, when bushes are covered in white bell-shaped blossoms, but I have never before noticed how beautiful they are before they open. Very pretty. Click to enlarge.

Before you know it, carpenter bees will be hanging under them, taking nectar.

Then this.

And, of course, there will be blueberry jam.


But right now, there are bundles of spring-colored buds on my blueberry bushes.