Spring Courtship Has Begun

Barred Owl

Spring is underway in Dyke Marsh, especially in the “bird world.”  Former FODM President Ed Eder has taken these beautiful photographs and made a video of some recent bird sightings in Dyke Marsh.

Two barred owls (Strix varia) have been seen near the Haul Road.  Here is one flying through a sweet gum tree.

A Dyke Marsh tree cavity is home to a rufous-morph eastern screen owl (Megascops asio) for seven consecutive years.

Two bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are perched on the osprey platform at the Belle Haven Marina boat ramp.  Ospreys return in early March.

Common mergansers (Mergus merganser) are engaging in courtship, before heading north.  Males flick their heads, raise up their tail feathers to bare a white, under-tail covert which appears golden in sunlight and they initiate wake-producing dashes in the water to attract females.  The female also participates with head movements, lunges and vocalizations.

Raccoons are using a tree cavity close to the Haul Road entrance.  On March 2, 2016, when Ed Eder heard a raccoon grunting, he looked toward a tree and a smaller raccoon poked its head out of a cavity.

Screech1Screech owl

CMerganser1Common merganser

Common MerganserCommon merganser

raccoonRaccoon