By Joe Sebastiani, Seasonal Program Team Leader
This weekend was perfect for getting out and observing nature and evidence of the spring season. Yesterday, I had a great walk around the Bucktoe Creek Preserve near Kennett Square, PA and managed to get some photos and video of birds, flowers, reptiles, and amphibians (plus a neat mite).
American Goldfinches are turning yellow. Brown-headed Cowbird males are displaying. The males puff-up and send out a squeaky, gurgling sound to attract a mate. Mourning Doves are cooing. Look for the enlarged throat as the bird sings in the video. Brown Thrashers arrived yesterday, and I found several singing. Compared to the Northern Mockingbird, another member of the Mimidae family, Thrashers usually repeat their sounds twice, and Mockingbirds 3 or more times. Eastern Phoebes, a migratory flycatcher, have been in the area for a few weeks now. Wildflowers are blooming. In addition to the ones in the video, get out now to see blooming bloodroot. The Velvet Mite is an arachnid related to spiders. As larvae, they attach themselves to various insects and feed parasitically. As an adult, like the one pictured, they feed on small insects and other tiny creatures in the soil.
Finally, the reptiles and amphibians are emerging and calling. Eastern Garter Snakes are out and about. I’ve seen several that have been run over by cars recently. Green and Pickerel Frogs were out yesterday. American Toads are in the middle of courtship right now. Come to the Ashland Marsh near the parking lot and you’ll see and hear lots of them. Kids love them, and they are really fun to watch. Enjoy the warm weather and let us know what you are seeing!
Attend the free bird walks at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve which are held each Sunday and Monday at 8am. If botany is your thing, attend the free Bucktoe Botany Walks, which are held each Saturday at 10am. Directions can be found here.