Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunrise-Signs of Spring

 On the trails at Springbrook this morning spring was intensely present.

The Yellow Rumped Warblers were feeding in the wetlands on the midges that hatched yesterday.

These little warblers are often the first to return, and this year have been here for two weeks with very few other warblers showing up.

The cold weather has kept them close to the ground looking for food, so they are easy to see.

You can see in the picture below why they are called "Yellow Rumped" warblers.
Looking for bugs in wetlands and even eating from suet feeders, as I have seen one at my feeders doing, shows how well adapted these early warblers are to the chances of early spring weather in Minnesota.

They will travel to northern Minnesota to find a place to nest.
 The Cedar Waxwings were eating the berries of the invasive European Buckthorn this morning. The berries are a powerful emitic, so the seeds will be pooped out right away, planting more buckthorn trees!
 This male Red Winged Blackbird is showing the females how agressive he can be defending his territory.  What interested me was the band on his right leg (on the left here).  I photographed three male Redwings with bands this morning-but didn't notice the bands until I was looking at the pictures.

Below is one of the midge flys that hatched yesterday, caught in one of the first spider webs of the year.  The sun had just hit this web, turning the frost to dew almost instantly.

The emerging leaves on this Gray Dogwood twig were covered with frost as the sun rose this morning.  You can see which side faced east, as the frost changed to dew drops as the sun's warmth touched the twig.
The tiny lichen called British Soldiers is growing its red fruiting caps now.  Look for it on dead logs in open areas.  I found these in Springbrook's oak savannah.

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