|Bill's cabin at his farm in Chapel Hill, NC|
A view of my "contemplation cabin" on our VA farm shows the lack of leaves on trees and the small amount of green vegetation. Yet there were several amphibians breeding in the ponds- the wood frogs had laid eggs, spring peepers were calling, and the newts were showing reproductive interactions. Wood frog eggs are usually laid together in large communal masses on the sunny side of ponds at the surface to take advantage of the
|Wood frong eggs in pond|
|Mantis egg case|
Yellow-rumped warblers were also staging at latitudes lower than their breeding sites, awaiting better weather for northerly migration. "Rumps" are better suited than any other warblers for remaining fairly far north during the winter and migrating earlier since they can feed on berries or even suet. Note the icicles hanging on this suet feeder in the NC Piedmont on March 14! It is a risky proposition for birds to migrate north early since they can often be caught by ice and snow storms. Perhaps the opportunity to reach breeding grounds earlier and to avoid long migrations to the tropics in winter compensates for this type of mortality. We can help them out by planting bushes that provide winter and early spring supplies of small fruits that they enjoy such as wax myrtle and various viburnums.
|Newt in pond|