March 2016- Month of Transition

Hormones surge, song erupts, the wild dance of courtship and its integral part in the race to begin new life is underway.  Both birds and frogs have begun their musical chorus to break the long silence of our winter season.  Butterflies and moths with warming temperatures have begun their emergence.  Color from dormant plants returns to stir our awe to the vibrant world in which we live yet so greedily try to destroy.

I visited Sussex County on Friday, March 18 and had several first of year species for Virginia:

Birds- Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-throated Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo
Odonates- Blue Corporal 13, Robust Baskettail 18
Butterflies- Juvenal’s Duskywing 1, E. Tiger Swallowtail 8, Falcate Orangetip 2, Henry’s Elfin 6, Azure sp. 1, Polygonia sp. 2
Amphibians- E. Cricket Frog 1, Southern Leopard Frog 2
Snakes- Black Racer 2

Robust Baskettail- male

Robust Baskettail- male

Robust Baskettail- cerci

Robust Baskettail- cerci

Robust Baskettail- female

Robust Baskettail- female

Robust Baskettail- sub-genital plate

Robust Baskettail- sub-genital plate

Eastern Cricket Frog

Eastern Cricket Frog

Southern Leopard Frog

Southern Leopard Frog

While in Fredericksburg, Virginia on Thursday, March 17 I observed a FOY Common Green Darner.

The first part of the month has held a few observations of interest.  Ross’s Geese in eastern Henrico County, Long-tailed Duck in Goochland/Powhatan County and a Northern Rough-winged Swallow in Goochland County.

Ross's Goose from eastern Henrico County, Va on March 6, 2016

Ross’s Goose from eastern Henrico County, Va on March 6, 2016

Long-tailed Duck from the James River in both Goochland and Powhatan County, Va.

Long-tailed Duck (male transitional plumage) from the James River in both Goochland and Powhatan County, Va. on March 13, 2016

Northern Rough-winged Swallow in Goochland County, Va on March 13, 2016.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow in Goochland County, Va on March 13, 2016.