Monday, May 28, 2007

On the Road: Geese Nesting and Goslings Everywhere

A recent visitor was directed to the Colvin Run Habitat blog by a Google search of “goose nest.” While we have numerous folks of local and migrating geese fly overhead, geese have never been observed on the ground or nesting in the Habitat. However, geese are known to the Northern Virginia area year round. Nesting geese and their young are common. At least once a summer, I come across the parents leading a line of goslings across a road. These photos were taken by my youngest son – now a law student at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Ft. Worth – at the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens about 2 miles from the Colvin Run Habitat as the crow – or in this case the goose – flies.The geese parents created the nest on top of mulch at the base of a tree and at the edge of a large pond. The photos were taken on May 14. The goslings are quiet large and active. While you can see in the last two photos that they were exercising their wings, they clearly lack the feathers required for flight.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Young White-Tailed Deer Traveling Without Mom - Sprouting Antlers

In our last post about the white-tailed deer, the doe (mom) and the two young ones (now a full year old) were still together. This week, the two young deer were observed in the Colvin Run Habitat alone. Now it is always possible that the doe was present but just not seen, as the foliage in the Habitat is full.

These two photos showed the larger of the two young deer. They are so used to me photographing them that they do not even put up their white tails - the normal alarm sign. The last post showed that they had survived the winter well - displaying good coats and full bodies. The first photo shows a clearly thinner deer.
The second photos shows the black velvet nubs that will by fall be a rack of antlers.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Chickadees Chicks Hatched

Three days ago, I finally found the Carolina Chickadee parents off of the nest inside the bird box. Expecting to find the eggs in the nest, I was surprised to find that the chicks had already hatched. They were laying limp in the bottom of the deep nest; their bodies dramatically moving with each beat of their hearts. (Click on the photos to get an enlarged view.)
Forty-eight hours later when I opened the side panel of the bird box, I was greeted with four small heads pointing straight up, mouths open, eyes closed, but clearly expecting mom or dad to provide a meal. Today, I finally managed to get some photos. The chicks are clearly larger than just 24 hours later. Today, only one chick greeted me with a headed pointed upward and waiting for a meal.
Each time I approach and open the box, one of the Chickadee parents perches about 5 feet away in the oak tree. They squawk a lot to make sure that I know that they are there.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Red-Tailed Fox Returns Again This Morning

For the second day in a row, the red-tailed fox returned this morning. He was first observed in his normal relaxation perch in the brush, then made a run at the squirrels. The fox chased one of the squirrels past, around, and through the Hellera Holly bush. The squirrel being chased lost the fox when he came out of the bush and immediately went back in. The fox either lost interest, energy, or perhaps the fox did not see the squirrel turn and re-enter the bush.
It had rained overnight so the fox's coat was wet from laying in the brush and running through the wet holly bush. Assuming this is the same fox (which I think is very reasonable given his behavior of the last two days), then he appears only a bit thinner than when we saw him last on March 25 (55 days ago). The first two photos are from this morning; the third photo was taken March 24.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Colvin Run Habitat Red Tailed Fox Returns

In his (her???) first appearance since March 25, the signature Colvin Run Habitat Red Tailed Fox returned this morning. He was announced with the loud calls of numerous crows. Although thinner, the coat looks full and in good condition.
I assume that this is the same fox as he takes up the exact same spot in the brush - where he lays in the sun and observes the birds and squirrels one and under the bird feeder.

I mention 'her' above in that this is about the time that the female might be leaving the den for the first time since birthing the pups. I'll compare with last year's timing.

Additional Information: I am having considerable trouble posting photos on the blog - appears to be a problem with Google blog service. That is why the number of blog entires is down for May. Please be patience as I continue to work the problem.

Chickdees Still Incubating

The chickadee is still sitting on the nest – neither moving nor making noise when I open the house side to check. We have at least 6 days since the eggs were laid.

Colvin Run Habitat Blooms

Let me provide a quick tour of this week’s blooms. These are from the side rhododendron, which is now 15 feet high and about 10 feet wide.

Continuing, here are this week’s iris blooms.
Continuing, some pansy blooms remain. They’ll wilt as soon as the summer heat arrives in June.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Chickadees Nesting in the Bluebird House

I have been keeping an eye out for visitors to the new Bluebird house. As of three weeks ago, there had been no sign of nest building or visitors entering the house.
So imagine my surprise, when I checked the house today and found not only a fully built nest, but a female incubating. I was really surprised that it was not a Bluebird, but a Carolina Chickadee, who are extremely common year-round in the Colvin Run Habitat. Given that the Chickadees are known as early nesters, hatching may be right around the corner.
The photos are quite marginal in that the side door to the house was intended only to clean out old nests, not for photographing.
And here is a photo of a chickadee not sitting on the nest.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

After Seven Month Vacation - The Hummingbirds Return

At the end of a morning of planting flowers (or should I say deer food) and general cleaning-up in the backyard, that is the Colvin Run Habitat, I caught a quick glimpse of a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. No photo, as the camera was in the house. He did not stop at the filled hummingbird feeders. The last observation of a hummingbird was September 22. Over seven month, but they are back!

This photo is from last year.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Cardinal and the Dogwood

The green leaves are nearly fully out in the Habitat. Thankfully, the dogwood blooms remain, through they are fading fast. Of course, when the Northern Cardinal visits the Habitat, we have the marriage of the Virginia stat bird and the Virginia state flower/tree - the Cardinal and the Dogwood.Update:
>5 weeks since the last red-tailed fox was seen
>6 weeks since the last red-shouldered hawk was seen
>10 weeks since the last Cooper's hawk was seen
>No bluebirds in the new bluebird house
>No hummingbirds seen yet
>No flickers seen yet

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Need Some International Help

I have previously written about the worldwide reach of the Colvin Run Habitat blog. With a new translation service from Google, here is what the Colvin Run Habitat blog looks like in another language.And here is where I need the help - please pardon my ignorance with respect to foreign languages - what language is this? Please post a comment and let me know.