Spring is finally here, but you wouldn’t know it here in Western Maine. I can’t complain too much because the weather has been absolutely beautiful this past month. We have had bright and sunny days with temperatures in the high thirties to high forties. In regard to snowfall, we haven’t received as much as previous winters. At this time of year, there are usually several feet of snow on the ground and it is still fairly chilly outside. This spring has been much different. There is still about a foot of snow in some places on the property, but it’s melting quickly. Many areas where snow can be found are receding and there is still that stubborn layer of ice remaining under the snow. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we will see a significant amount of melting. On the other hand, there is still a chance we could still receive a significant amount of snow. One of nature’s little jokes I suppose. Here are a few photographs from around the property.
Last Sunday, we had planned on going to a local sugar shack to attend the annual Maine Maple Sunday. Unfortunately, due to the current circumstances, the event had been canceled. Being that the day was sunny, gorgeous, and in the high thirties, I decided to stay around the property and connect with nature, instead. As I mentioned earlier, there is still a substantial amount of snow out there and getting around can be quite a challenge. I have lost count as to how many times I have gotten a boot stuck in the snow and ice layer underneath. It’s not always easy to get my boots loose, being the snow and ice are not willing to give them back right away.
A while back, my partner kindly made me a sort of seat that I can sit on in the snow. He used foam board insulation and plywood to construct what we have come to call “my cushion.” It is anything but soft, but I am thankful for his unique creation. It sure keeps me warm and dry while sitting in the snow.
I settled on photographing from a few places on the property. If you are familiar with observing and photographing wildlife, you know you need to stay put in one place and let nature come to you. I grabbed my camera gear, binoculars, and cushion and set out for the afternoon. I picked a spot to watch the birds and whatever else came my way. My first new animal sighting this spring was of a chipmunk (Marmotini). He seems to have taken up residence underneath an old brush pile. He came right up to me and sort of introduced himself and then went about is business. Since then, he has been coming to my feeders. So far, he has been behaving himself by eating only the fallen seeds and not getting into the feeders. I’m trying to be optimistic, but it may be too early. I’m sure there will be more of them coming and you know what that means…trouble!
My next sighting was of one of my American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) buddies. I had a total of three of these squirrels over the winter. That is nothing compared to the seven I had last year! Things have been less eventful in regard to the usual chaos these guys cause around the property. I haven’t had to bring my feeders inside the house that often, to keep them from eating all of my bird food. In a few weeks, I’m hoping they will hopefully move on and go farther in the woods to look for other food sources. I have to admit as much as they drive me crazy, they are cute.
I have to admit as much as they drive me crazy, they are cute. I have got to know this one quite well and when I’m outside it always comes by for a visit.
I decided to move on and pick another spot to sit since the birds weren’t showing up. Within a couple of minutes of me sitting in my new spot, a black-capped chickadee showed up, followed by others. The longer I waited, more species of birds had shown up and I got clicking away with my camera.
A black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) perching in a pine tree.
A black-capped chickadee looking at the camera.
This female downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is a frequent visitor at my feeders and I was happy to see her out and about in the woods.
A perching downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens).
A perching male white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis).
A black-capped chickadee against a blue sky.
A perching American goldfinch (Spinus tristis).
A slate-colored dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) in the snow.
A dark-eyed junco enjoying the snow.
A perching female purple finch (Haemorhous purpureus).
A white-breasted nuthatch posing for the camera.
A female purple finch perching in a pine tree.
My last sighting of the day was of my elusive brown creeper (Certhia americana). For a couple of weeks now, I have been trying to get a photograph of this bird. I have often heard or caught a quick glimpse of this creeper through the trees, but I was finally able to get a photograph this time. Not the greatest image, but here it is.
The next coming weeks should be more exciting for new beginnings. I have noticed a lot more birds singing and flirting with each other. I hope to see an array of new spring blooms, wildlife, and birds. I’m especially looking forward to the arrival of the American woodcock. I have heard about their being here already in other parts of the state. I can’t wait for the opportunity to see one of these birds on the property, as well as glimpses of more wonderful signs of spring.