Abe’s Arboretum Adventure Series – April 19, 2021

Abe’s Arboretum Adventure – Earth Week Edition, 4.19.2021

TEMPERATURE : 38 degrees F
WIND: 13 mph, NW
Bird species: 28 (https://ebird.org/checklist/S85892646)

Happy Earth Week all!

I visit the marsh every day. It’s a short bike ride away from my apartment that I make most often in the morning, but some days around lunch and others in the late afternoon. Then every Monday, I take time to reflect on my daily visits and my daily observations. Well, this week my trips threw me around like a roller-coaster ride. There were lots of cold days at the marsh and lots of gloomy days, usually on the same day. On top of the overcast and chilliness, I only found two new bird species for the season. But there were also short bursts of sunshine that I smiled at from benches, which the plants and animals of the marsh appreciated in their own way. Then, yesterday, I experienced my favorite day of the spring so far.

Yesterday started off as a mammalian takeover. I heard rustling at the short boardwalk on the western side of the marsh, only to find a mink running over the cattails! I took videos and admired the mink as best I could, and then I lost it, only to find a second mink pop up 20 feet away. Mink are a common member of the weasel family, but I’ve never seen one in an urban area. As I calmed down from my mink sighting, I found my friend, the blonde squirrel. So I took a video of it chomping on a seed. I’ve also found a new rabbit friend that has greeted me on the boardwalk on occasion – before this one I had only seen signs of the rabbits.
Following my squirrel encounter, came the onslaught of bird experiences. First I communed with a chickadee- it got within a foot or two of my face as I walked down the path. Chickadees are notoriously curious, but this one had curiosity fever. Next I found two great egrets (a slender, white, wading bird similar to a great blue heron) walking around in the marsh muck. Followed by a pair of barn swallows (the FOY species of the week) swinging and gliding across the water. The afternoon concluded with a hunting display from the local osprey.

While yesterday was abnormally exciting, I got to know more about the life of the resident birds like the american goldfinches, downy woodpeckers, brown-headed cowbirds, and others throughout most of the week. I also got to experience the explosion of green that you can also experience by comparing this week’s pictures from last.

We’re headed towards the end of April, yet there is so much more to see at the marsh. I’m looking forward to all of it as I continue my phenology and observation journey.

See you next week,