So far, this spring has brought us a solar eclipse, the northern lights, and the anticipation (for some) of millions of screaming cicadas.  What a time to be alive!  As we wait for the slumbering insects to emerge, let’s go on a quick nature tour to see what else is happening outside right now!

American Robin Eggs

Birds of all sizes and colors are nesting right now, and if you’re lucky you might just find a nest or see some juvenile birds hopping around.  While out monitoring conservation easements with Brandon Mann (Groundswell’s Easement Stewardship Manager), we stumbled upon an American Robin nest with two perfectly blue eggs.  Did you know that ‘Robin egg blue’ is its own color?  It’s not surprising given how vibrant they are!

American Toad

It’s not just birds that are out and about.  If you find yourself near a wet area, you’ll likely hear a chorus of all different kinds of frogs and even toads like the one pictured above.  I’ve always favored toads a little bit over frogs because of how easy-going they are.  They’re easy to catch, they’re incredibly diverse in their coloration/bumps, and they always look grumpy (or at least unimpressed at being caught).  I could do without the getting peed on part though.

DeKay’s Brown Snake

While walking around Westport Prairie, I quite literally almost stumbled upon this adorable danger noodle (pictured above).  It was extremely small (5-6″) and right away I knew it was a DeKay’s brownsnake.  These snakes are usually nocturnal so it’s not very common to see them out during the day and it’s the first (alive) one I’ve ever seen.  I occasionally see them in the road after unfortunately getting run over by a vehicle, so it was very special getting to see one thriving in its natural habitat (until I came around and bothered it).

Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this photo of a Pink Lady’s Slipper that I took this past weekend while camping at Buckhorn State Park.  I’ve been on the hunt for one of these orchids for SO long and have yet to find one until now.  Although, I can’t take credit for finding it, because it was actually my 7-year-old son who found it while we were hiking.  I was too busy crouching on the ground try to get a photo of some reindeer lichen, so my son was the hero of the camping trip.  Plus, we were out there celebrating his birthday which made it even more special.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s nature update and I’ll see you next time!