At this time of year, the pond at the Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre is alive with activity. Compared with the summer months, the pond is nearly double in size due to a high water table, runoff, and the spring thaw.
It all started last week with the arrival of Eastern Bluebirds, (Sialia sialis) Pileated Woodpeckers, (Dryocopus pileatus) Canada Geese, (Branta canadensis) and our 2 resident Trumpeter Swans, (Cygnus buccinator). Then came the Wood Ducks, (Aix sponsa) the Mallard Ducks, (Anas platyrhynchos) Sandhill Cranes, (Antigone canadensis) a Great Blue Heron, (Ardea herodias) and then a Moose, (Alces alces) with her twins to top it all off.
The bluebird scouters, the males, arrived the day after the spring equinox, (March 20th, 2022) and we watched as they inspected the nest boxes we built and installed last year. They are wonderful little birds with their brilliant blue heads and backs and rusty throats and chests. Research and various studies have shown there is a one in three chance that bluebirds will return to breed at the same location. We are hoping they will make one of the nesting boxes here at the Centre their home for the summer.
We heard first and then spotted a pileated woodpecker pecking at a partially dead tree this morning. Even though these birds are non-migratory it was our first sighting for this season. Very exciting to see this big, stunning bird working at getting a meal.
The Canada Goose! Lots can be said about these majestic birds but suffice it to say there are hundreds in the sky, especially at dusk, flying overhead. Some land and stay for the night in the pond. They seem to communicate with each other constantly with their familiar honking and crackling calls.
Canada Geese at the Pond
Trumpeter Swans at the Pond
Our two resident Trumpeter Swans continue to come and go during the months of March and April. Their first arrival for the season was March 24. They require an abundance and a high diversity of freshwater aquatic plants for feeding and raising their cygnets. They also require a stable water level, which unfortunately our pond does not provide. We believe this deters our guests from nesting and having their young here at the Centre. We are grateful they visit us in the early spring. And we know we will see them again later in the summer.
The various species of ducks and the Sandhill Cranes are a joy to observe. Especially when the Sandhill Cranes are coming in for a landing. We've observed them dancing, leaping into the air, bowing, bobbing their heads up and down, all with a captivating elegance.
We had one lone Great Blue Heron visit the party on Saturday, April 2nd. This heron stood still for what seemed like an eternity and then struck with lightning force at something (we couldn't tell what was in its mouth) in the water.
And then to top everything off a moose and her twins came out of the wetlands, last night around 7:30 pm., walking and browsing various plants as they made their way to the pond. We watched in wonderment as these three majestic mammals continued to slowly walk through the fields at the Centre, getting a drink and nibbling on twigs and shrubs. It was a spectacular experience witnessing the behaviour of these mammoth beasts. When at last it was too dark to see them any longer, we reluctantly put down the binoculars. They were still on the property, we could see dark patches where they were standing and hoped they would bed down for the night.
We will be hosting a gathering in a few weeks and would love for nature-loving people to join us. It will be a great opportunity for you to visit the Centre and possibly see some wildlife. We'll keep you posted with the date and time.
There are still a few spots left for our upcoming event this Sunday, April 10, from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. Bob Bowles will be discussing 'All About Trees' - Winter Dendrology.
Registration is required. https://www.robertlbowlesnaturecentre.com/programs