We went to the Arboretum this morning with the main intention of photographing the first forest-floor flowers of the year (there’s a competition we want to win) and indeed we did find some fine examples but arriving in the car park we met a friend (Peter T) leaving and after a conversation with him and his wife decided this could be a good bird day also.

Indeed it was.

A shrieking Red-shouldered Hawk caught our attention.  The bird was perched high in a tree and most annoyed at the presence along the trail of a parent (bright red coat) and child (bright yellow coat).  The bird launched itself as we located it, flew 100 metres towards what we were delighted to see was a large, twiggy nest and then circled over it, rising into the air as it went before vanishing over the trees.  On the nest was the other half of the pair, standing tall and equally glaring at these inappropriately coloured interlopers into their territory.  We, clad in decently dull greens and browns didn’t seem to be of interest. [Pictures below]

A pretty good start to the day … and we assumed that would be as good as it got but shortly afterwards loud drumming and calls led us to not one, but a pair of Red-belleid Woodpeckers who allowed us to watch them for a several minutes and were clearly travelling together.  I don’t think it’s too much to hope that this year we might well have some home-grown youngsters. [Pictures below]

We had expected to see White-throated Sparrows as they have been around our nearby garden for a couple of days, but none were to be found.  Juncoes aplenty, Sapsuckers by the dozen … even our first Turkey Vulture of the year was circling over the Pinery.  Mallards on the quarry and northern field vernal pool; a Songsparrow calling in the vicinity of the Bobolink Field and all the other usual suspects were accounted for.

Some cute interactions with Red Squirrels were also enjoyed [Pictures below]

Not bad for what was supposedly a day devoted to botanising … on which subject the trilliums are putting up shoots and some flower buds are evident, Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is all over the place and Trout Lily leaves can be found in patches, Bloodroot is in flower if you know where to look and there are a lot of stands of the early dark purple leaves of Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

So – here are some pictures …

Red-shouldred Hawk on the nest

Red-shouldred Hawk on the nest

Red-shouldred Hawk on its nest

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red squirrel on the alert

Red squirrel dining at lunchtime

Coltsfoot with spring bumble bee

Sanguinaria (Bloodroot) flowers

Trillium - first leaves and flower bud

Blue Cohosh


… a finally, as this is Easter Sunday, here is an opportunity to spend a quiet 90 seconds with a happy Easter Bunny who visited our garden on Good Friday.  He doesn’t do much other than rabbity things but he makes a change from the election.