(3/21/11) This morning started off with a surprise. Our basement waterproofing guy came out this morning to do the annual check-up on our sump pump. When he opened the top of the sum pump well, a 4 to 5 inch diameter (including its legs) wolf spider gave the waterproofing guy pause. After waiting for me to get my camera, we removed the spider and relegated it to bird food outside.
In the afternoon, Alice and took a walk around Lake Monocan and one of the golf course ponds. Not too much to see, but this Golden-crowned Kinglet caught my attention. Two Red-shouldered Hawks were flying above my back yard.
(3/22/11) I decided to do an early morning birdwalk, as we had a delivery truck coming to the house mid-morning. Today was a day of surprises, but let's start at the beginning. I saw the usual Cardinals, Crows, Bluebirds, Blue-Jays, Canada Geese, Eastern Phoebes, and Red-winged Blackbirds. Heard a Red-shouldered Hawk, a Pileated Woodpecker and either a Flicker or a Downy, and saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker. There were a few Tufted Titmice and Chickadees, and lots of Song Sparrows, and a few Field and White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. A few Yellow-rumped Warblers are still hanging around. I saw my first of this season Chipping Sparrow near the Allen Creek Nature Preserve.
This is the time of the year when many of the winter birds have left. Others are on their way out, early summer birds are already here, and your never know what else you might see. As soon as I entered the Allen Creek Nature Preserve, I saw a brown slug on one of the boardwalks, and there was a lot of avian activity. One of the birds flying around in the brush caught my attention. It was a Fox Sparrow. Another good bird to see today.
I needed to head home to be ready for the delivery truck, but a yellow bird caught my eye in the small pine forest along Deer Run. It was a Pine Warbler - another FOS species for me.
I still had time for one more stop, and saw three female Hooded Mergansers in Sawmill Creek pond #6.
Female Hooded Merganser
Female Hooded Mergansers
Okay, time for the delivery truck. Lowe's was bringing us a new BBQ grill, and taking the old one away to give to charity or whoever wanted it. I told the delivery guys that we had put the never-used rotisserie parts inside, and when they lifted the top of the grill to see, we were confronted by a field mouse in the grill that wasn't there a few days ago. The mouse scampered down into the grill somewhere, and I noticed a nest by one of the burners. Using the rotisserie prong, one of the delivery guys poked at the nest, and a baby mouse fell out, jumped to the ground, and tried to hide in a corner of our deck. I then saw another baby mouse in the nest, so we carefully took the nest out with a small shovel, and I placed it in the woods, and went inside to get my camera. The delivery guys were very patient and waited for me. I poked the nest and finally coaxed the baby mouse to come out - its eyes were still shut.
baby Field Mouse
I asked if they had seen momma leave the grill yet, and they said no, and they tried to maneuver the grill without success down our deck steps. We then decided it was a straight shot through our house and out the front door, so they went that direction, and I kept hoping that momma mouse had either already left, or would not decide to jump out while they were carrying the grill through the house. Whew! They made it and I didn't see mama. I then went back on the deck, scooped up the other baby mouse in a small shovel, and deposited it in the nest I had placed in the woods. It immediately headed off across our back yard.
baby Field Mouse
Alice had been out, and returned a little while later, and I told her about the mice, and we went out to see the nest - the first baby was still there. Unless mama comes to find them, they will probably be hawk food, as neither had yet opened their eyes. Thinking that my wildlife morning was over, I went down to the basement to get something, and found the brother or spouse of yesterday's Wolf spider - now more bird food outside. I hope that momma mouse was not on the truck from Lowe's.