At around 9:35 yesterday morning, the natural history class gathered in Fox Park under an amazing clear sky and a light wind. Instead of going into the level of detail as I did over the winter (there were quite frankly less details to be had over the winter) I will try to summarize the two most significant findings .
- Porcupines are everywhere. It turns out these giant walking pinecones are leaving traces of themselves all over the place (though the chances of seeing one are still quite slim). In the winter, they climb up hemlock trees and nibble. Everything. They sort of just sit up there and eat the tree, trying to move as little as possible and thus will everything within reach. These foliage holes in hemlock trees are a dead giveaway of this activity, and will often have dangling branches with rodent-esque chop marks. I have seen a stands of hemlocks with large amounts of debris underneath at Fox Park, which is extremely indicative of a porcupine’s munching habits.
- The magnolia warblers have arrived. These are magnificent little birds. Famous for their “necklace with pendants”, these warblers have officially arrived, and in full getup. A pair of them were calling to each other (which I did not get right away- they have a few calls) then chasing each other through the forest. What fun!