Today I decided at last minute to go for a stroll behind my house around 7:15 pm. Gathering up my camera (I neglected to bring my binoculars, but this was supposed to be an impromptu biridng trip, after all), I headed out the door. Once I was out of the fence, the first thing I did was to check my three bird boxes. I was pleased to see that all three of my boxes had nests being constructed in them, albeit the third was a mouse nest. I ousted the mice from the box twice, but they refuse the relinquish their 'home' to a mere bird. Oh well. I guess this one will make just as nice of a meal for my cornsnake as the rest of them did. If I am patient enough, I will wait to catch the little stinker(s) before removing the box to be cleaned. It is quite dirty from the mice that used the box as a dwelling place all winter. I was also pleased to discover my first bird nest of the year- a mourning dove nest complete with two eggs.
One of the nests being constructed in nestbox #2.
This mourning dove nest is my first bird nest of the year.
Having checked my nest boxes, I proceeded with my trip. I saw no birds of note until right before I reached the woods. A white-crowned sparrow, which I thought would have migrated from southern Ohio by now, flitted across the path and perched in a briar bush not far off of the trail. I paused just long enough to snap a quick photo. I rounded the bend to find another (this time a group) winter resident which I was surprised to see was still in the area. A small group of white-throated sparrows was mingling with a pair of eastern towhees. I snapped a photo of both species, and then moved on.
A white-throated sparrow perched in a briar bush.
Along the next stretch of trail I saw no imressive birds, but heard the drumming of woodpeckers off in a patch of adjacent woods, and the call of a pileated woodpecker echoing through the (for the most part) empty woods. I paused to look for new woodpecker holes along the trail, but saw only the abandoned holes from previous years. I moved on only to spook out a white-tailed deer, and I spent the next fifteen minutes on a wild-goose chase trying to photograph it. I never did see deer again, but I did see a squirrel. That concluded my walk. The sun was sinking low behind the horizon, and it was high-time to get back to the house.
This pair of holes is in a dead tree not far off the trail. They are most likely from a red-bellied woodpecker and a Carolina chickadee.
Sunset over the field.