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In May the first hummingbirds hover, leopards snore

Ruby-throats and Baltimores are drinking, spring azures are alighting and frogs are peeping, snoring and ticking out their breeding calls. How's that for an exotic sentence? The first report of a Baltimore oriole came Friday, May 4 from Mary Rasm...

Ruby-throats and Baltimores are drinking, spring azures are alighting and frogs are peeping, snoring and ticking out their breeding calls.

How's that for an exotic sentence?

The first report of a Baltimore oriole came Friday, May 4 from Mary Rasmussen on the west side of Belle Taine. Kyle and Jackie Gylsen were kind enough to write to say they had three orioles at their feeders May 5 over in New York Mills. Tuesday, May 8, Sharon Friedman saw a Baltimore 11 miles north and east of Park Rapids.

Rose-breasted grosbeaks returned to the area Sunday, May 6. Mary Rasmussen saw one that day, and so did Stan from Becida and Dick from Lake Emma Township. I didn't see grosbeaks until Monday, May 7, but on that day I saw males as well as one female.

The first hummingbird reported in our area arrived at Sue Hillberg's nectar feeder the morning of May 9 at 6:56 am. Sue lives on Highway 113.

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In other bird news:

n Marlene and John Weber of Spider Lake heard the first hermit thrush of the season April 25.

n We have had many sparrows in the area. John and Marlene saw vesper sparrows April 26 and Lincoln sparrows April 28. Mary Rasmussen saw a chipping sparrow May 2 and Dick saw a clay-colored sparrow May 4. Mary and Noel Allard from Straight River Township spotted a migrating Harris' sparrow Tuesday, May 8 and so did Stan from Becida. These Harris' sparrows are sometimes seen in our area as they head to Canada to breed.

n John and Marlene Weber spotted pine warblers May 2 and Mary Rasmussen saw yellow warblers May 5.

n Dick from Lake Emma reported seeing barn swallows and purple martins May 3. He heard a black-billed cuckoo the morning of May 8.

n Stan from Becida had a rufous-sided (or eastern) towhee at his feeder May 8.

Reports of a black bear, a bobcat and a wolf have also come in, but I'll be vague in regards to the whereabouts, since not everyone welcomes reports of these bigger animals. On my way to Detroit Lakes Friday morning, May 4 I saw a porcupine trundling down a steep road ditch.

On the wing

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I saw my first blue azure butterflies Sunday, May 6, but John Weber says they've been out since May Day. I bet you've seen some too. Even if you aren't too good at identifying butterflies (like me), if you've seen a tiny blue butterfly in the past few days, it was a spring azure.

Even though the first locally-emerged butterfly, a meadow fritillary, was on the wing April 27 in Nevis Township, spring azures have a special claim to fame: They spend the winter as pupae and are the first butterflies to emerge from a winter chrysalis in our area. In comparison, meadow fritillaries pass winter as caterpillars.

In other butterfly news: John saw a red admiral in Nevis Township April 27, which was a welcome sighting since he didn't see any last year. May 6 brought an American lady butterfly, also welcome, since John spotted just a single one in 2006.

The first common green darner dragonfly was on the wing April 26 in Akeley Township. American emeralds appeared May 6.

Medley

n When John and Marlene Weber did their frog run April 29, leopard frogs were the most numerous species they heard. Here in the meadow, chorus frogs continue to call at night and intermittently during the morning and evening. Peepers are also calling at night, but wood frog breeding season is over.

n Wild ginger was in bloom as of April 30 and bloodroot was blooming for May Day, according to the Webers. Dick said violets are in bloom at his place.

n My husband sat outside Hagg-Sauer at Bemidji Sate University Monday evening, May 7 and watched a little brown bat dip-diving for bugs.

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n If you have birds crashing into your windows, you may want to pick up some scare strips at Ace Hardware and hang them in front of the glass. The angle of the sun is changing rapidly, and it can make window panes invisible to birds.

Puzzler

Spring peepers sport an X on their backs.

Here's this week's question: In addition to Baltimores, what other kind of oriole might you spot in our area?

Thanks to all who wrote with news. When sending your reports, be sure to give your name and a little information on where you made your sighting. Send to maureeng@unitelc.com .

This column is brought to you by Park Ace Hardware.

We have rocks from the Rocky Mountains and the Black Hills, the unique colors will lend natural beauty to any landscape.

Open seven days a week, Ace is located on Highway 71 south, Park Rapids, 732-4513. Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks.

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