At the park: 130

Mixed blessings in this week’s report:

Wood Thrush singing in the parking lot, and was that a Little Blue Heron in the main wetland? Warm weather, some good results and some less so.

Boxes #6 and #67 finally hatched, having been overdue. Box #3 apparently only fledged one duckling. Boxes #1 and #77 have new Wood Duck eggs, having already fledged a clutch. On the not so good side, boxes #2 and #10 were abandoned, and we cleaned out those boxes.

So while we had clutches started in 15 of our 16 boxes, which is higher than usual, 4 were abandoned — also higher than usual. Plus the predation of box #13 by a Black Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis). Perhaps it was the same animal that we saw at the box again on Sunday.

roof patchI put another patch on the knothole in the roof of box #67.

Down lower Barnyard Run, I found a big patch of Rattlesnakeweed (Hieracium venosum), and about four Fragile Forktails (Ischnura posita), a male and three females.

So we can shift over to spot-checking the remaining boxes with eggs (#77, #84, #1, #5, #61) on our next work day, on 29 May. I am on call for work that day, so I will have my phone charged up.

* * *

Thank you very much!

Where does it all go?

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At the park: 129

Sunday’s report:

Many adventures today! We had four successful clutches hatch and fledge (boxes #77, #1, #60, and #68). (K: I just have “cleaned” in my notes for #77, so I take it that there were no unhatched eggs.) Box #4 turned out to be a failed dump nest, so we cleaned it out. Box #3 was in the process of hatching when Megan checked it!

And box #13 was predated by a Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis). PJ has a picture showing three distinct bulges in the snake’s body. This box had only 3 eggs back on 17 April, so it seems likely that the hen was not there to defend the incomplete clutch.

Box #60 is new, and it has the fine mesh screen for the ducklings’ exit. It’s already coming detached at the top.

New migrants and breeders heard and seen: Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus), Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus), Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes).

I checked some references: the layer of tissue lining the shell is best described as the chorioallantoic membrane (just in case you need that word for Scrabble).

* * *

We’ll work again on 15 May. Köszönöm!

At the park: 127

More surprises in this week’s report:

Lots of activity in the boxes and outside, but no new hatches. We have a new clutch started in box #10, and we found 1 in in box #5 that might be the start of a clutch. That brings the total of boxes with eggs to 15 out of 16 (9 Wood Duck, 6 Hooded Merganser), which is unusually high; but it’s not clear that box #13 will be incubated. We saw a group of 7 small Hooded Merganser ducklings and hen in the new pool by the tower, so that group must have come from a natural cavity.

Several boxes were due, or almost due, on Sunday, but did not hatch, so we will have a lot of boxes to check next time.

* * *

Our next work day will be Sunday, 1 May. Much thanks!

Some links: 89

At the park: 126

First report for April:

First hatch! Box #7 hatched out. Photographers reported ducklings leaving the box at about 8:30 Sunday morning; estimate was 14 ducklings. I revised some of the previous notes. Box #7 must have been the box that was already started on 27 February.

Meanwhile, box #6 continues to incubate, along with several others. Box #4 has turned into a dump nest, with 24 eggs. Let’s hope for the best.

I had planned to patch the roof of #67, but a drake was standing guard atop the box, so I will postpone maintenance work until this box hatches.

Does anyone have notes for box #13?

* * *

Danke schoen!

At the park: 125

The weekly report:

And still more new nests! We have 12 boxes with at least one egg.

I repainted the number on #67, but my plywood patch on the roof has flaked off. The foam crack filler is still holding. Let’s hope for the best, because we have a Wood Duck incubating in this box.

Also new nests in #3 and #4, and a couple boxes with one or two eggs.

Box #6 may be ready to hatch by next Sunday.

* * *

Weather cooperating, we’ll work 3 April, 17 April, and 1 May.

Merci beaucoup!

On the way to Pirsig Avenue

The houses along Maple were a free-for-all of competitive decoration, their shrubbery and railings and rooflines infested with green plastic vines bearing fruits in dull colors. It wasn’t clear to Marion that the charm of Christmas lights at night was enough to offset how ugly the hardware looked in daylight hours, of which there were many. Nor was it clear that the excitement of Christmas for children was enough to make up for the disenchanted drudgery of it in their adult years, of which there were likewise many.

Jonathan Franzen, Crossroads (2021), p. 127

At the park: 124

A much warmer and more successful morning.

More nests started, and five are incubating! Eight boxes are active. Our first Wood Duck box is #1, in the pool by the tower.

patchedWe repaired the hardware cloth on box #68. Access to #84 remains a problem: as mounted, the lid won’t open sufficiently. Next week we plan to repaint the number for box #67 and clean up trash around the tower.

Some splashes of Spring Beauty, with most buds tightly closed in the mid-morning.

Until next week! Arigatoo!

At the park: 123

Small disaster. Last week’s cold snap and snow left the ponds iced over on Sunday. Ordinarily, we can break through the ice with our sticks, but the ice was just thick enough that instead, I tried following C’s footsteps out to box #2, the first box off the boardwalk— walking in an area that I didn’t know very well. Almost immediately, I lost my balance and caught some serious mud from the wetland. As a result, we cut the work day short. We’ll get ’em next week.

muddy jacket 1muddy jacket 2Fortunately, I had my chest waders on. My jacket got the worst of it.