Bird and spider news

May 11, 2011

A nice surprise this morning – a Great Crested Flycatcher making a racket down in the woody patch on the next block.  Not one for the yard list, unfortunately, but very nice nonetheless.  At first I had him pegged for a Mockingbird, since I wouldn’t have expected one here, but after several minutes of mixed ‘wheep!’s and ‘brrreeep!’s, I gave in.   It was nice to have heard the regular nesters down in Virginia on the weekend; maybe one followed me up here..

Otherwise, not much of interest; the Bowl-and-Doilys have  couple of webs up, and I saw one of the early small orb-weavers out last week (can’t recall the name offhand; Araniella or something like that).  I should be seeing the little Pirate wolf spiders in the garden plot soon, and Allocosa usually turns up about now.   The underbrick cribellates like Amaurobius and Callobius are out and about, and I’ve been seeing our indoor Theridiids putting up webs everywhere for several weeks.  No Yellow Sac spiders yet, for some reason; they’ll be up along the ceiling edges soon enough, I expect.  Also, I have to remember to check in the shed to see what sort of outdoor Steatodas we have.  I remember them being borealis, but we might have grossa instead or alongside.  The indoor ones are all triangulosa as far as I know.


Quiet Spring

May 7, 2011

Here we are at the tail-end of the spring migration, and it has been singularly lacking.  The only warblers around the house this year were a couple of Yellowthroats.  No Yellow-rumps, no Redstarts, no Yellow Warblers (not around here, anyway), not even a Blackpoll.  Possibly the very wet, stormy spring had something to do with it, but the warblers have been declining around here for years now.   Many other birds are going (or gone) as well.  I was listening to the singing out there this morning, and we had Robins, Catbirds, Cardinals, Song Sparrows, Mockingbirds, House Sparrows and a Downy Woodpecker.  The Mourning Doves, Flickers and Cowbirds are done whooping it up now although they’re all still around.  No Carolina Wrens (which replaced the House Wrens), no House Finches (well they’ve been gone for a couple of years, I think), nothing else.  At least we still have the Mockingbirds for diversity.  Very depressing morning, considering how beautiful it is.

Good day to mow the lawn.

May 1, 2011

Nice May morning; Yellowthroats singing loudly in the area and the back yard was invaded by a swarm of White-throated Sparrows for an hour or so.  I estimate somewhere around a dozen, maybe more.  They were mostly in the (tall) grass greedily scarfing up the Dandelion seeds which were available in profusion.  It was amusing watching them hop, sometimes quite high, to snag a seed-head and tear a few seeds out.  The image of the green yard with lots of scattered brown movement was very unusual.  It seemed to disturb the Catbirds a little, as the pair of them kept flying back and forth from the trees on one side of the yard to the other.  Now that the sparrows are gone, things have calmed down again, and the Catbirds seem much more relaxed.