April is spring in full abundance!  Migratory birds are everywhere, flowers are vying for the attention of pollinators, the weather begins to warm in earnest and the water temperature is on the rise.

It's a Great Time to Learn some Beach Botany

I found it fascinating that the plants that grow on the dunes follow a predictable succession pattern.  Sea Rocket is one of the first plants to arrive, and then Seaside Panicum primes the dunes so new plants can take hold, like sea oats, pennywort, and dewberry.

Screech Owls Begin to Hatch in Nest Boxes

I put up a nest box with a camera a few years ago, and lately Screech Owls have been nesting and raising young in them.  In 2022, the first check hatched on 3/31, with two more following a few days later.  For the entire month of April, we got to watch the two birds grow and grow. Two of those chicks made it to fledging! For the 2023 season, these owls have their own instagram account: you can find them @nature_walks_screech_owl.

Migratory Birds are on the Move

There is a lot going on in the trees.  Spring migration is in full swing, and it’s worth checking every day.  Lots of warblers are flying through, but other birds have arrived for nesting season.  Some of our winter birds are heading north to nest in northern areas.  The last ducks to take off are usually Blue Winged Teal

That Call in the Dark is a Newly Arrived Chuck Wills Widow

It’s a sound that is designed to carry… like a whippoorwill, the Chuck Wills Widow calls in the night to establish territory and attract a mate.

Meanwhile, our local birds are pairing off and finding homes

Egrets and Herons begin to Nest in Rookeries

The Marsh Comes Alive in April

Beachcombing Always Leads to Discoveries

April Plants and Pollinators

Keep a look out for Tiny Turtles and Land Snails

Many diamondback terrapin, mud turtles, and yellow-bellied sliders are waking up after spending the winter underground.  Though many of these hatched in the fall, they’ve spent the winter in the relatively warm temperatures under the ground.  Now, they are looking for their home territory in a pond (mud turtles and sliders) or the salt marsh (terrapin.) And you might see a rosy wolf snail crossing the road.  These big land snails prey on other snails.