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April 7, 2013 / Rae Spencer

Spring Birds and a Basking Snake (Ophidiophobia Alert!)

Our weather took a definite turn toward spring today. A combination of warmer temperatures and cloudless skies created the perfect conditions for a stroll with friends at First Landing State Park.

Osprey April 7

The osprey have returned to the park in force. They wheel and soar over the marshes and beaches, voicing high-pitched challenges as they claim their summer territories. Their massive nests dominate the scenery, but there are plenty of other birds to see, as well.

Ducks April 7

Ducks April 7

These ducks were not alone in the water, but I spent too long trying to line up the “perfect shot” of a loon, so missed it altogether.

Loon April 7

Further along the trail, we saw a pair of brown-headed nuthatches hopping in and out of a nest cavity. One of them stayed in the nest most of the time we were watching, but the other seemed less convinced.

Nuthatch April 7

Nuthatch April 7

They spent a great deal of time calling back and forth, one in the nest and the other on a nearby branch, almost as if they were discussing their options.

Nuthatch April 7

Nuthatch April 7

Nuthatch April 7

It seemed to me as if the nest was going to win.

Nuthatch April 7

After my friends left the park, I wandered a bit further in search of a woodpecker that I had heard calling in the distance. I never found the woodpecker, but I did find a lovely snake basking in the sun.

Snake April 7

Snake April 7

I wonder if the snake feels like I do tonight, peaceful and content, happy that spring has arrived at last.


  1. FarAway Peach Garden (世外桃源) / Apr 7 2013 10:25 PM

    Amazing photos…

  2. jeanryan1 / Apr 8 2013 7:53 AM

    Especially love that first tender photo of the mallards.

    • Rae Spencer / Apr 9 2013 8:42 PM

      They seemed very devoted to each other, and never strayed more than a few feet apart…

  3. bardessdmdenton / Apr 8 2013 6:02 PM

    Love all the photographs, but especially the ones of the Nuthatch and snake. Nature is so stunning! We have had a beautiful spring day here. At last! XO

  4. lynnwyvill / Apr 8 2013 7:56 PM

    These photos are terrific. Love the one of the snake. Nuthatches are one of our favorite birds. Thanks for following my blog.

    • Rae Spencer / Apr 9 2013 8:53 PM

      I love nuthatches, but rarely have any luck photographing them. This little scene more than doubles my nuthatch archive!

      • lynnwyvill / Apr 11 2013 4:26 PM

        They are tiny birds and quick so you got some great shots!

  5. Sharon Poch / Apr 8 2013 9:33 PM

    Rae, your photos capture the magic of our Spring outing. Glad I left before the snake–not my favorite of God’s creatures . . .

  6. Random Acts of Writing / Apr 9 2013 1:38 PM

    Great photos! WHAT KIND of snake is that? It’s beautiful!

  7. cinzia8 / Apr 20 2013 5:21 PM

    These are great photos. I love birds. I keep pet finches. In addition, this is the only way I want to see a snake up close!! Don’t like snakes. LOL

    • Rae Spencer / Apr 20 2013 6:38 PM

      We have too many cats to keep finches!

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