Apr 27, 2009

Heat Wave

Temperatures have been in the high 80s since Saturday. This after sleet and rain on Wednesday, April 22nd and snow and rain on Monday April 20th. Still, the migrants are back in force. I stopped at the Hollidaysburg Library this afternoon and had four chimney swifts (they were twittering long before "twittering" on phones took place) fly by in formation. I believe I heard an oriole this evening, and a hummingbird did a flyby.

It's actually hot. While I am sure this will generate some great tans and lawn work, I'm praying for a lot more rain and milder temperatures. Things are still dry. And the rain needs to come.

Other noteworthy nature stuff: toads have been trilling for two days. The peepers continue peeping. There are at least 21 great blue heron nests in the nearby rookery. And three deer were grazing in my yard last evening when I pulled in.

Apr 14, 2009

Turkey Vultures

Last night I spent 15 minutes watching the vultures come into roost. The largest count was 85 turkey vultures spiraling around in a large, wide kettle on the north-facing mountain on Beaver Dam Road. Some close views occurred as the slid across the sky over the house, but in spite of my careful looking, I couldn't turn any of them into black vultures. I am told black vultures have roosted here, too, but I haven't seen them yet. It could be I'm just missing them. It could be with the cold temperatures (in the 40s around 6:00PM yesterday and 26 this morning at 6:30AM) they simply aren't roosting this far north yet. I will continue to watch for the black heads and different underwing pattern of the black vulture. I hope they are here.

Apr 4, 2009

More Frogs and Two Bats

Thursday night April 2 found my daughter and I at Legion Park in Altoona. As dusk was settling, two bats flitted across the parking lot. I'd have to say the wingspan of both bats were about 10 to 12 inches. I saw some cream colored markings on the wing of one bat, but I can't say which species it might have been.

Getting out of the car at home, the spring peepers were at full tilt. The temperature was in the upper 50s. Then I picked up the trill of toads probably 150 yards off to the southwest. It was great to hear toads. It wasn't until the next morning at 6AM that I heard the third species, wood frogs. Their unusual quacking was a welcome edition to the chorus.

Rain and probably snow is in the forecast for the next few days. But winter is losing the battle and the advance of spring is definitely in the air.

Apr 2, 2009

Peepers, Toads, and a Red Fox

It was 60 degrees today and beautifully sunny. The past twenty-four hours have been full of springtime fun. Last night, I could hear spring peepers loud enough to penetrate the closed doors and windows of my house. Around ten in the evening, three sharp barks were heard outside of the house. From past experience, these were the calls of a red fox. He must have been a few yards from the porch, because I could hear him from inside the house.

Tonight, the spring peepers were louder than ever when I got out of the car. A new sound joined them. The trill of toads. The toads weren't present in any great numbers, but they were there. Charly and I listened to the spring peepers and toads with the door open for a few minutes, then closed it and continued to hear the spring peepers.

Rain is coming tonight and thunderstorms tomorrow. I can't wait.