Original Post submitted to the PBC Newsletter (April 2013 edition)

With great anticipation for the Ospreys to return along the river, they didn’t disappoint. We not only have the two pairs but we also have four others who seem to be juveniles, hanging out near one of the nests. I think they are juvenile because they call out like they do when they are young and hungry and haven’t fledged yet. If they get to close to the parent nest they are chased away.

I witnessed a scene this morning that I have never seen before. Two males were flying just East of Main St when one dove down and picked up a large stick and started chasing the other Osprey with it. I couldn’t believe my eyes, at first I thought that maybe he was taking it to a nest that he was building but no, he chased the other male with the stick. When the unarmed one finally gave up and flew off the one holding the stick dropped it to the ground and then flew up into a tree.

 Eight of the eleven Great Blue Heron nests having sitting pairs in them. Two of the remaining three had activity in them last month but the birds seem to have moved on. Three weeks ago on a beautiful warm morning I had the privilege to witness the most spectacular event at the rookery. All of the birds were flying, picking up sticks, returning to their nests, courting and mating. This went on for over half an hour. It was so beautiful to see. It was as if it was taking place in slow motion. I could imagine an orchestra quietly playing with the birds slowly gliding along, picking up sticks and returning to their mates.

 The most active birds this month have been the California Quails and the Ring-necked Pheasants. Not a morning goes by that I don’t see the male Pheasants defending their territory. I have even seen a Prairie Falcon twice hunting along the road north of the bridge.

 The Common Nighthawks, Kestrels, and Black-crowned Night-Heron were appearing regularly but when the weather turned cold again they seem to have disappeared.

It was a pleasant surprise this morning to see the lone Belted Kingfisher flying through the air with what looked like a possible mate.

Cliff Swallows, Violet-green Swallows, Eurasian Collared-Doves and Rock Doves are all busy in the early morning hours.

One morning two weeks ago I swear every bird that I saw had twigs and other nesting material in their beaks as they headed to their nests.

 I saw a pair of Wood Ducks again this month. They were hiding out in a small area where the beaver has been living.  This area is about a half mile west of where I saw the pair last month.

My favorite sighting this month was of a Yellow-Bellied Marmot who popped his head out of his den right at the moment that a pair of Canada Geese were walking by on a trail.  He ducked back into his den, waited a few seconds, and then popped back up. The geese were even closer so he ducked back in. On the fourth try at popping put, the geese had passed so he came all the way out and stood staring at the geese as they walked away. I really do believe that that was the first time it had ever seen geese.

 It has been a mostly cold Spring, I actually walked in a light snow two mornings ago. Today though we have a wonderfully warm afternoon with Lilacs and Tulips in bloom. Maybe Spring is here this time.

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