I live 3 miles northeast of Alston, Michigan, a small town in Upper Michigan south of Lake Superior. I just noticed your post from 2013 (https://www.drewmonkman.com/may-8-2013-3/). We had an essentially identical-looking YELLOW Hairy Woodpecker visit our mesh sunflower feeder last evening (6/1/2010).  See the attached photos. Some folks here are suggesting environmental factors for the yellow coloration (rubbing against sap in a nesting cavity, or perhaps diet), but I’m now thinking genetics (xanthochroism), based on your post. Cool-looking bird for sure! Doug Welker, Alston, Michigan

While this could possibly be xanthochromatism, it is more likely just stained feathers.  It’s not uncommon to see that staining on the white of the tail in both hairy and downy woodpeckers, since they use their tail to prop themselves on dead wood and tree bark as they forage.  I would bet this one has been carving out a nest inside a rotten tree, and got his feathers a bit dirty. Dave Fehringer, Regional Director, Great Lakes Region, Forestland Group dave@forestlandgroup.com https://www.forestlandgroup.com/

Here are my sightings from a recent visit to the Miller Creek Conservation Area on Selwyn 7th Line on 5-Jun-2020 6:29 AM – Drew Monkman

7:49 AM Protocol: Traveling 1.18 kilometer(s) Checklist Comments: Walked south over bridge and completed the loop trail 33 species: Mallard 2 Mourning Dove 1 Virginia Rail 1 Great Blue Heron 1 Northern Harrier 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1 Pileated Woodpecker 1 Willow Flycatcher 1 Warbling Vireo 1 Red-eyed Vireo 3 American Crow 1 Black-capped Chickadee 1 Tree Swallow 2 Barn Swallow 6 House Wren 2 Sedge Wren 2 at lookout at south end of loop trail. Singing nonstop. Veery 2 American Robin 2 American Goldfinch 2 Song Sparrow 3 Swamp Sparrow 8 Eastern Meadowlark 1 Red-winged Blackbird 12 Brown-headed Cowbird 1 Common Grackle 2 Northern Waterthrush 1 Black-and-white Warbler 1 Common Yellowthroat 4 American Redstart 3 Blackburnian Warbler 1 Yellow Warbler 2 Northern Cardinal 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1 View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S70072239

Sedge Wren – Miller Creek Conservation Area – Drew Monkman

Here are some photos of our incredible female Polyphemus silk moth! A student of mine, Margaret, found a giant green caterpillar on September 16 on her way out to the bus at the end of the school day. By the next morning it had spun its cocoon. A Google search revealed that it was a Polyphemus moth caterpillar and that it would need to over-winter before the moth emerged. Fast forward to May 1. I retrieved the cocoon from my garage and set it up in a box (photo attached) to wait and see what happened. I faithfully checked the box every morning. By June 1st, I was thinking that perhaps the cocoon hadn’t survived the winter. Then, on the morning of June 5, I thought I saw something through the mesh on the box. Unbelievable! I so wish my students could have shared this magical experience in the classroom but hopefully these images help to convey some of its wonder. Anria Loubser

This morning, June 8, we had three Red-headed Woodpeckers at our feeder here near Keene. Unfortunately, I was only able to capture two at one time in the photo. These woodpeckers are such a vibrant red and lovely sight!  Karen Taylor, Duncan Line

Red-headed Woodpeckers at our feeder on Duncan Line – Karen Taylor

We have a baby Great Horned Owl that has been sitting along the edge of one of our fields. My son, daughter-in-law, and grand-kids have visited with the baby a few times. It seems to be very healthy! Brenda McCarrell, 2069 County Road 2, Otonabee-South Monaghan

Today, June 12, 2020, I did a walk with staff from Camp Kawartha at the Ingleton-Wells Property (Kawartha Land Trust) near Viamede on Stoney Lake. We walked the Yellow Trail and first 200 m of the Red Trail. Also part of Brown at west end. Cool and windy. Drew Monkman
LIST: 2 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1 Northern Flicker
4 Eastern Wood-Pewee
2 Eastern Phoebe
5 Great Crested Flycatcher
9 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Blue Jay
2 American Crow
2 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Cedar Waxwing
3 American Goldfinch
1 Field Sparrow
4 Song Sparrow
4 Swamp Sparrow
4 Red-winged Blackbird
2 Common Grackle
3 Ovenbird
1 Golden-winged Warbler
1 Mourning Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroat
2 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Pine Warbler
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
1 Scarlet Tanager
3 Indigo Bunting

Today, June 12, I had three Sandhill Cranes fly over my house near the Pigeon River, calling all the while. They came from the north. Gavin Hunter, Omemee

Sandhill Cranes – Wendy Leszkowicz

We’ve had two recent “turtle events” I’d like to share. On June 5 we discovered seven tiny Midland Painted Turtles all huddled together below a plant pot. When the adult dug the hole last year, the area was clear. The pots were placed there in the autumn. We put all seven babies in a bucket of water and all the mud washed off, turning the water a bright orange.  Soon the little ones started swimming about and trying to climb out.They were released into a shallow muddy edge of the Indian River.  We were perplexed that there appeared to be no shells about, but when the hole was later excavated, the shells were further down. And on the morning of June 18, we found three shallow Snapping Turtle scrapings in our large, gravelled turning circle and a fourth with soil piled up and the mark of her tail at the entrance.  We have covered up this hole to protect the nest from predators. Just hoping that it is the right one! Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

On our island in the eastern section of Kasshabog Lake (but not everywhere) the oaks, poplars, and White Pines are almost completely defoliated by gypsy moth caterpillars.  Last year’s outbreak was bad. This year it’s horrible. I noticed the same thing recently on Looncall Lake – devastation on the north side of the lake but almost no evidence of caterpillars 200 yards away on the south side. In the photos I’ve sent, you can see a formerly full canopy of vegetation that now looks like a forest fire has gone through. The caterpillars have moved on to sumacs (see photo on right), blueberry bushes, and even ferns. The forest floor (and our furniture, the boat, the porch) are covered in an inch of leaf and needle bits and frass. Terry Rees (June 23)

A video of adult Northern Cardinal feeding a juvenile.Taken June 24 outside our sunroom. Ron Egan, Peterborough

Northern Cardinal interactions

Starting on about June 11, we would occasionally see an adult Peregrine Falcon on top of the cliff near our cottage. It was flying around but we could not see anything on the nest used for the last seven years. It looked barren. We boated to the cliff on June 25 and saw an adult on top of the cliff and an empty nest. However, on a very narrow ledge only 10 feet up from the water, there were two white balls of fluff looking at us. Very cute! There was also what looked like another chick lying down motionless. We then learned from other cottagers that 3 adults were seen around the cliff in mid-March…maybe two adults and a yearling? It’s seems that 4 chicks hatched around June 6, and there are still 4 chicks today, June 27. Marie Duchesneau, Anstruther Lake

Baby Peregrines on cliff on Anstruther Lake – June 2014 (Drew Monkman)

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.