Keep those photos coming in, folks; I’ll be here all year. Our first few come from (who else?) reader Stephen Barnard from Idaho:
Here’s a better photo (I think) of the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) chicks than one I sent before, and two more photos of mama hawk (I believe), guarding the nest. She’s a beautiful dark morph.
Here’s a Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) that had just eaten a small fish.
Finally, this Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) dove into the creek, perched in a Russian Olive tree, and shook himself off, but he’s still wet.
And a landscape:
A couple of years ago I seeded several acres near my house with native wildflowers and grasses. It’s starting to look good. This is predominately blue flax (Linum lewisii).
And these photos come from reader Don Bredes, who sent the moose photo and tanager photos in late May:
This gangly yearling paid us a visit earlier this week. Probably his (or her) mama has driven him off now that she’s about to give birth again.We have a large population of moose here in northern Vermont. We see plenty of tracks and once in a while a noble specimen or two. Alces alces is the largest animal in North America. While a large whitetail deer can weigh up to 300 pounds, a large bull moose can weigh up to 1800 pounds and stand 6 1/2 feet at the shoulder. The sight of an ambling bull is truly impressive.Moose in New England have declined quite a lot in numbers recently, particularly to the east of us in New Hampshire and Maine, because warmer winters have allowed the blood-sucking ticks–a real plague–to remain active throughout the winter, so the moose must endure blood loss during all three stages of the tick’s life, larvae, nymph, and adult. The calves tend to suffer the highest mortality.
The scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) is generally a secretive bird, a denizen of the forests more often heard than seen, according to David Sibley. One visited our place high in the wooded hills of northern Vermont yesterday afternoon and stuck around for an hour or so. Vivid against the pastels of early spring. They’re avid insectivores. This one may have been attracted by the golden dung flies that arrived with the load of cow manure delivered last week by my dairy farmer neighbor—I don’t know.
They don’t stay here long. Sibley says they breed in May in June and start migrating back to the tropical forests of Central and South America in July.