Saturday, July 13, 2019

More Mountain Tales

We returned to the camp for our annual July 4th family trip. This year, Connie and I spent the whole week which gave me plenty of time for more nature hikes and photography. The first photograph isn't "nature" exactly but it is pretty interesting. To most, it just looks like a dirty window but look at the pattern of the dirt - bear paws!
Bear Print
Outside of the cabin, we found another "home" situation going on. Connie and I watched these dedicated Yellow-bellied Sapsucker parents as they flew back and forth the their nest hole with food for their screaming babies. Here is Mom. She would bring the food and then go into the hole and bring out the baby poop to remove it from the nest. 

Mom- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Here is Dad. He is truly a good provider. His beak was overloaded with bugs each time he returned to the nest. Typical male, he didn't do any dirty diaper duty. 

Dad - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
We spent an hour just watching the daily routine. Pretty remarkable. We also took a good hike up at the top of Nelson Run Road and stumbled on a male Mourning Warbler as he was carrying out his fatherly duties. Here he is with a beak full of bugs. 

Mourning Warbler
Mourning Warblers are secretive birds that spend their time in bushes so getting a photo isn't easy. He never revealed the location of his nest and babies. We left him alone after a few minutes so that he could deliver the goods. 

We expect birds to be singing in spring. The woods are loud with song in May and early June but we don't expect to hear birds singing in July. These 2 didn't get that memo. This male Towhee was singing away. He was either done with his first brood and looking to start a second family or maybe he missed out on a mate in May and is hoping for a late start. Either way, he was dedicated to the song. 

Eastern Towhee
This Chestnut-sided Warbler was also singing. At closer look, I noticed that he isn't quite in his adult breeding plumage. He doesn't have the "chestnut side" that gives this species it's name and the rest of the feathers are also dull. Maybe "he" is really a "she" who likes to sing? Maybe he is a young male still in that awkward pre-adult phase? Regardless of the situation, the song filled the trail. 

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Our neighbors, Linda and Frank mentioned that they have seen Flying Squirrels at their camp lately. The squirrels come out just before dusk. Come out from where? Apparently, the squirrels live in the rafters of the attic and come in and out through a tiny hole above the porch. We sat on the deck and watched for the critters to come out.

Flying Squirrel
How cute right? He would sit on the rafter for a few minutes and then run up to the roof and fly to a nearby tree. The whole motion takes a few seconds. Unfortunately, they are so fast and the light is so dim that capturing a photo is nearly impossible.  

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