Daytime temperatures are now consistently above freezing, and even overnight slightly above freezing, or barely below, and birds are arriving here one species after another on a daily basis.
I have agreed to become a bird monitor for rare, a local land trust in Cambridge, ON and this Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe was photographed while reconnoitering one of the two routes I will be covering.
This hardy little bird is always the first of the flycatchers to arrive in spring and a species I always look forward to seeing.
A few Song Sparrows Melospiza melodia overwinter here but the main surge of migratory birds is now well underway and males seem to be singing from every elevated perch. This individual was observed at Laurel Creek Conservation Area in Waterloo, ON.
Eastern Bluebirds Sialia sialis are favourites with birders and non-birders alike and we have already been observing several pairs for over a week. This male was staking out a nest box with a female along Bricker School Line near Wallenstein, ON.
Birds are not the only signs of spring, of course, and during our walk at rare Bill Wilson was able to point out this rare Rock Polypody Polypodium virginianium fern.
Maidenhair Spleenwort Asplenium trichomanes was also present but not in a location amenable to photography.
Both of these species of fern are provincially significant.
Having now emerged from winter hibernation American Red Squirrels Tamiasciurus hudsonicus are seen scampering everywhere searching for food. They are not averse to raiding a bird feeder as can be seen from this individual in Laurel Creek C.A.
Returning to birds, Brown Creepers Certhia americana have returned en masse and this bird was observed on Martin Creek Road in Waterloo County.
The landscape would not be complete without great numbers of American Robin Turdus migratorius; they really do seem to be everywhere.
The same could be said of Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscala, although they are not as abundant as American Robin.
Common Redpolls Carduelis flammea that have wintered farther south start showing up in this area as they make feeding stops on their way north. On several occasions recently small numbers have shown up in our yard.
The battle for my newest nest box seem to have been won by House Sparrows Passer domesticus and here is a male carrying nest material and then emerging from the nest box having stuffed it in there.
I'll keep you posted on the progress of the family!