A tail of two nesting sites

One was the best of sites. One was the worst of sites. That’s as far as the wordplay goes.

Here’s a male red-bellied woodpecker showing off his fine nesting site in hopes of attracting a mate. He made it look very easy-in, easy-out, and note how the hole faces downward so that it is sheltered from the elements. Very nice, and ready for immediate occupancy, although it is probably not yet furnished.

Here’s a less-fortunate red-bellied woodpecker fending off a starling that had the gall to show up with nesting material in its beak! At first, I was just trying to get a decent picture of a starling, but then when the woodpecker dove in and messed up my shot. I noticed, however, that neither were taking off, so I continued to try for a picture, and I finally realized what was going on. Starlings are known for stealing nesting holes that woodpeckers make, and this hapless chap chose a spot that starlings like. I hear they are relentless, and I hope he has better luck next time.

Phew! After all those acrobatics, let’s see what else was going on.

Our heroes are still incubating on the southern tip of the island in the pond, a second goose was either laying another egg or finally incubating on the northern tip, and the carp are back in school at last, despite the apparent die-off over the winter! Thanks to my buddy Dan for spotting the carp for me.

The northern flickers are seemingly everywhere now, and here are a couple more of shots of a female again.

The geese and mallards are as plentiful on the river as ever, and the buffleheads and one goldeneye are still around.

I finally got a more-appropriately-colorful picture of a goldfinch singing the most cheerful song and on its way to becoming bright yellow.

Lastly, another new blossom is up beside the maintenance building south of the pond, but what it is called is still a mystery to me. They’re not snow drops (Galanthus) because they don’t hang down. They’re not spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) because they don’t hang down and they don’t have little green spots on the petals. I don’t think they’re musli (Chlorophytum tuberosum) because the petals aren’t pointed at the ends. If you can identify this pretty little flower, please let us all know!

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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