Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • February-March 2024 • Circulation 5000


Observations as Seasons Change

A hare in McCauley Orchard. Nathan Binnema

Since our last issue, we experienced one of the most important events in nature’s calendar: the full moon after Spring Equinox (after which the Easter holiday is derived), which fell on April 19 in the Gregorian calendar. On or around this day across the northern hemisphere, many birds, including waterfowl, lay their eggs, indicating the end of winter starvation and the beginning of new life for all. This day occurred rather late in the Gregorian calendar this year, because we had a full moon fall right on the Spring Equinox.

We also experienced our transition to the summer season. The new moon preceding the first lunar cycle of summer fell on the days May 3-5 or so this year. It snowed that weekend, and that snowfall constituted our third post-Equinox snowfall, the last of three that we expect in the Edmonton area.

My personal observations since last issue include:

On March 30, I saw crows and Ring-billed Gulls for the first time this season, and was glad to see them return to the neighbourhood as well.

A pair of juncos were feeding in my front yard the morning of April 8. On April 9 I noticed lady beetles flying about.

On April 10 in the evening, I witnessed one of the hares navigate its way from the McCauley Orchard eastward, and across 95 Street. The hare needed to skillfully avoid many hazards along its way, including unaware pedestrians and drivers, and I felt a moment of great admiration for them and the heroic feats that they perform on a daily basis to ensure that they continue to exist and persist within deadly urban environments.

On April 13, in the morning, I watched a Red-breasted Nuthatch feeding from a cavity in one of the elm or ash trees on the west end of the boulevard on the south side of 107 Avenue. Several female house sparrows accompanied the nuthatch on the tree.

On April 20, I saw the Canada goose pair sitting by the maple tree near the southeast corner of the vacant lot where the community garden used to be. Are they nesting there?

On May 9 I heard a White-throated Sparrow outside my window. The next day, on May 10, I saw a pair of White-throated Sparrows foraging in my front yard, with their white and black striped crowns, white throats, and bright yellow lores (patches behind the eye).

Nathan lives in McCauley.

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