Backyard Discoveries

FledglingSubmitted by Laura, Certified Virginia Master Naturalist

There have been a number of visitors to our yard this month including a pileated woodpecker who toured the whole place, pausing long enough to throw back its head and give me a great view of the cackling that earns it the nickname “wood chicken”. Another afternoon I spotted a Fowler’s toad that wasn’t moving with the usual ease. I discovered a malformation of one rear leg which ended at the ‘knee’.

 

Two Rat Snakes-One Tree Trunk

Two Rat Snakes-One Tree Trunk

These photos are my favorites–the only sighting of a fledgling from the bluebirds in our nesting box (a thunderstorm rolled in soon after this little guy or girl appeared and we’ve never seen it since)–and a pair of black rat snakes in a high wire act.   It was not my first encounter with black rat snakes showing off their tree climbing abilities, but it was the most impressive.  These two quickly scaled the white oak until they disappeared forty or fifty feet above us. The next morning I saw one snake descending, presumably returning  from a separate trip.