Saturday, March 20, 2010

3/20 First day of Spring!!

It was a beautiful day at PEEC. Beautiful and busy with bird chirps, whistles and tweets. Flocks of Robins and Juncos cover the ground, searching the warming ground for worms and insects. Canada Geese fly north in large groups.

The warm temperatures have brought out the reptiles. Painted Turtles at the swamp and Garter Snakes around campus.

Amphibians are also warming up and making some noise. Peepers have been peeping loudly for almost a week at the swamp. Red-Spotted Newts and Green Frogs have been found in the ponds and Red Efts are stirring on the forest floor.

Chipmunks are active and chasing each other all over in front in the main building. The nooks in the rock wall provide shelter and the nearby birdfeeder must be advantageous as well.

Insects are buzzing and flying. Enjoy the first mosquitos while you can, for their rarity.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Painted turtles were seen at the swamp, sunning themselves on logs and floating on the water's surface

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 2010 (part 2)

Garter snake!
Beaver swimming around Front Pond!
Spring Peeper peeping in the evening at swampside!

Bluebird perched on post on lower campus - darting down to ground for insects

Friday, March 12, 2010

March 2010 (part 1)

Spring has sprung! Or - at the very least - it's on it's way. The month started out with warm temperatures and sunny days. Red-tailed hawks and Red-shouldered hawks can be seen perched around campus and soaring high in the sky on warm days. Skunk cabbage - the first wildflower - has broken through the frozen ground and is growing along the creek. Mallards are swimming around our swamp and Canada Geese can be heard honking as they continually fly overhead in large groups.

Early season "Stream Ecology" classes have already found amphibians, including small, young salamanders and some very cold frogs.

Robins continue to pull worms up from the thawing ground and woodcocks have been seen in the forest - although noone has witnessed their unusual and fascinating mating dance yet.

The mammals are moving around more, which results in some great wildlife encounters. Virginia oppossum, red fox and bobcat have all been seen in the area, and some lucky staff members have seen the first black bear tracks of the season!

February 2010

The plentiful snow throughout February provided many great opportunities for tracking around the PEEC campus. The fresh snow showed tracks of white-tail deer, squirrels, coyotes and numerous rodents almost daily. Despite the heavy snows, the first flock of robins were seen in the third week of February. These birds return to our northern climates in search of thawing ground and squirming earthworms to eat.

The full moon that occurred on February 28 was historically called the "Sugar" or "Sap" moon, and marks the warming season that starts the maple tree sap flowing. PEEC staff tapped over 30 sugar maple trees (outside of the DEWA park) and are still collecting sap that will be boiled down into delicious maple syrup!