Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Yesterday, I spent a sunny half-hour sitting by a nice little pond. The things I do for science. My reason for being there is the Dragonfly Pond Watch Project, a citizen science project aiming to record the movements of five different dragonfly species: common green darner, black saddlebags , wandering glider (the most widespread dragonfly on the planet, according to Wikipedia), spot-winged glider, and variegated meadowhawk. I like the idea of these creatures zooming hundreds of miles on their shiny wings, and I would love to see some of them on their journey. Yesterday was an unlikely day for it, because the earliest any of them are expected to show up is April. I did see yellow-rumped warblers, chickadees, robins, and two tree-loads of pine siskins. A male red-winged blackbird let off a volley of sound from a bush next to me, as a female picked through the branches. A ruby-crowned kinglet ventured within arms length. Two song sparrows sang at each other, a flicker let off a hicupping tirade and a male rufous hummingbird zipped by, making that mechanical chirp that always reminds me of a 1980s sci-fi space laser. A male Anna's Hummingbird did diving displays over the pond. When he went off, a female quietly came in and gathered fluff from the top of some of the cat-tails. No dragonflies, though.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
The first thing that hit me when I opened the car door was the sound of red-winged blackbirds, male ones, perched on trees, bushes and cat-tails, flashing their red epaulettes and declaring their territorial dominance and their availability to mate. Another sign of spring: tree swallows and violet-green swallows, newly arrived and chittering and swooping around. Sometimes a male would feed a female in mid-flight.