|Can you see the Red-winged Blackbird in the white birch tree?|
"The observation of seasonal changes including the blooming of flowers, the appearance of migratory birds, the hatching of insects, and animals coming out of hibernation."(Well, isn't that what garden bloggers do?) Diane explains why phenology is important,
"Phenological events are very sensitive to changes in our environment including climate change. By monitoring key species, we can observe the impact that environmental change has on our natural resources."Wow! And I am now part of this important project! I know that anyone in Eastern PA can help, but I am thrilled that Diane thinks my blog has important data embedded in it. Now, when I take a morning walk around my gardens, I observe with new eyes.
I am happy to report that this week, a flock of red-winged blackbirds arrived. They did not move close enough for a really good picture (the one above is the best I could do.) There were at least a dozen of them, all males. The males, identified by the red and yellow wing bars called epaulets, return before the females. This flock settled in the walnut trees, on the edge of the upper field, and stayed there for several hours.
|You can just see silouettes of Red-winged Blackbirds in the walnut grove.|
A flock of robins visited every day this week. They spent time foraging where the snow melted at the edge of the pasture. I recorded my first sighting of them here.
|American Robins at the edge of my horse's pasture.|
Most of the avian activity is around the bird feeder and the heated water dish. Large numbers of dark-eyed juncos are still evident, with titmice, nuthatches, and cardinals.
And what is this bird with such pretty feathers? ...
It is a house finch. The house finch stays around all winter, but this is the first I've seen this year.
|This gray squirrel is an opportunist, waiting for the bird seed to fall his way.|
My faithful friends, the cardinal couple, continue to visit the feeder daily and scratch around under it.
|Female Cardinal on the roof of the bird feeder - looking for hubby?|
The Northern flicker came to the heated water dish back in January. I haven't seen him since.
|Northern Flicker on January 22, 2011.|
|The male Northern Flicker has a black moustache.|
The flicker is a woodpecker. Other woodpeckers like the suet H.H. puts out for them. The downy woodpecker below was rather disconcerted to find that it was all gone. He hung around all day until H.H. returned from work and refilled the container.
|Downy Woodpecker waits for suet to appear.|
On yesterday's walk through my gardens I found a few more buds, leaf-bursts, and shoots:
|Blueberry Vaccinium angustifolium|
|English bluebell Hyacinthoides - non-scripta|
|Stonecrop Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'|
|Rhubarb in the Kitchen Garden|
This posting is probably my (early) entry for March Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, as I am returning to the hospital for cardiac surgery again next week. Don't forget to write your GBBD post on the 15th, and visit Carol's blog, May Dreams Gardens, to see what is blooming around the world this month.
Your friend in gardening,
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I look forward to visiting your blog in return.