Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wildlife found on trails in Hamilton this week

It's been a while since I've had time to add something to this blog. I've got a lot of photos from the last couple weeks, so I might as well use them...

First up, Bloodroot, an early spring wildflower that grows around Hamilton. This one can be found pretty much anywhere with lots of trees and the right soil, water, and sunlight.

Bloodroot at Borer's Falls Conservation Area
 Next up, the spring bird migrations are seeing the return of a very large number of birds species that are native to the Hamilton area. This means it's also nesting season for them, but these two (likely) mated Brown-headed Cowbirds won't need to worry about building a nest. Once pregnant, the female cowbird (on upper left of this photo) lays her eggs in someone else's nest. Her young will even be raised by adopted parent, even by smaller species like Chickadees.

You can pick out these birds by their odd sounding calls, which sound almost artificial in nature, like the strange digital noises you can get from a damaged CD.

A pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds at Binbrook Conservation Area
 On May 1, I took a hike down the Armstrong Trail, in the Rock Chapel Sanctuary. There I found a few of these wildflowers I had not seen elsewhere yet. It doesn't mean they aren't all over the place, but they're the first I'd seen this year. Thanks to a nifty new wildflower identification app I got this past weekend on sale, I was able to quickly ID it as the Round-lobed Hepatica.
Round-lobed Hepatica at Rock Chapel Sanctuary
Here's a common flower you should be able to find on any hiking trail of Hamilton right now and in coming days: the Trout Lily. These flowers pop up early in the season, to take advantage of getting good sunlight before the trees block the light with their leaves. When light is dimmer, you'll see the flowers close up and hang downwards. Apparently its corm is edible raw, though I'm not taking a taste any time soon.

Trout Lily at Crooks' Hollow Conservation Area

Lastly, these birds are all over but I never seemed to get good photos of them.. until now! The Common Grackle is, well, common, but always seems to hide from the camera in a mess of branches or perched too far to get a good clear photograph. This one perched right up a few feet away whilst hiking the Optimists' Trail in Greensville. The Grackle even posed pretty well!

Common Grackle along Spencer Creek at Optimists' Park in Greensville