Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • May 14

Monarch. These butterflies have been back for a week or so when this picture was taken. I'll be watching the milkweeds for caterpillars.

American Goldfinch

Red Squirrel. This is a bittersweet tale, though simply the circle of life. This baby squirrel could fit in my outstretched hand, tail and all. It is also blind in its left eye. A sibling was with it when I turned the corner along the trail and found them both. The other baby squirrel immediately left, but this one couldn't see me and decided to stay and investigate.

Red Squirrel. It's right eye, seen here, is fine, but it's actions suggested it was exploring the world more more by scent and feel than by seeing or even hearing. None of this bodes well for its ability to survive longterm.

Red Squirrel. So, how does it decide to examine me?

Red Squirrel. It climbed my boot halfway, sniffing intensely as it went. Then it decided to retreat.

Red Squirrel. It then made its way away, though without any sense of urgency. I found the same squirrel again the following day at the same location. At that time it looked sickly and like it wouldn't last another twenty-four hours. Perhaps all for the best. When you are out in nature ever day, you inevitably come across a number of such episodes. I usually don't report them, but this one was more personal than most.

Blue-winged Warbler

Hairy Woodpecker. Now, on the other side of the circle of life, this female Hairy Woodpecker was having an absolute FIT and doing everything it could do to annoy me enough to leave the area. It would take a few more days before I would realize I was walking mere feet away from her nest with nestling calling loudly! (Her calls drowned out the sound of nestlings unless I knew to listen for them between her chattering cries.)

Herb Robert. To make matters worse, I found a newly blooming Herb Robert near her nest. I was trying to get a quick picture before leaving, but momma's scolding was becoming maddening, so I got an okay picture and left. One field guide says this flower is named for Robin Hood.

Wild Geranium

Dame's Rocket

Downy Woodpecker

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail


Song Sparrow

Jack-in-the-pulpit. I found this lone Jack-in-the-pulpit along the creekside! However, it was quickly smothered by the rapidly growing surrounding Stinging Nettles.

Tree Swallow. And that just about says it all!

Baltimore Oriole. This female built a nest near the bluebird nesting boxes. I found the nest a week or so after this picture was taken and will have pictures of it in the future.

Yellow Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler. This bird is also carrying nesting material, so we have indications of this species nesting in the park!