By Vickie Shufer
Paul Simms photographed an “eagle drying after a bath at the Narrows at First Landing State Park” in Virginia Beach.
Randy Latimer sent a photo of an osprey carrying a branch in its talons. “The ospreys are back,” wrote Latimer. “And rebuilding their nests at Dam Neck in Virginia Beach.”
C. J. Maziarz sent photos of an osprey fishing at Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach. “Here it is, hitting the water and emerging with a fish in its claws,” wrote Maziarz.
Rick Robillard photographed a snowy egret standing in shallow water at Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach.
Evan Rhodes spotted a large flock of snow geese at Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina resting and feeding in preparation for their flight going north.
Woody Stephens photographed wood ducks in the tributary off Buchanan Creek in Thalia in Virginia Beach. “This is the first time I’ve seen any since last fall,” wrote Stephens. Wood ducks are pairing up now for the nesting season.
Suzy Szymanski photographed a female mallard on her nest under a bush in front of her dining room window in the Emerald Forest neighborhood in Chesapeake. The mallard had plucked off some of her feathers to soften the nest. “This mallard is nesting for the second year,” wrote Szymanski. “Last year she laid nine eggs, but we never saw ducklings. Hoping for a better outcome this year.”
Mike Weirich sent photos of killdeer that he spotted while biking at the Virginia Beach Sports Center in Virginia Beach. “I was surprised at the number of people that did not know anything about the killdeer and their wounded wing routine,” wrote Weirich. “Still not sure why they insist on building their nest on the ground.”
Bob Creekmore photographed a Cooper’s hawk outside his kitchen window one evening in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake. “He was stalking a squirrel in our flower bed,” wrote Creekmore.
Connie Owen photographed a pileated woodpecker probing for insects on the trunk of a tree in her backyard in the Robinhood Forest area of Virginia Beach. “I have been enjoying bird watching in the backyard, especially while the deciduous trees are without their leaves,” wrote Owen. “Makes the viewing much better. There is a fair amount of deadwood on some of my trees, which I am sure has tasty bugs for the woodpeckers.”
Stacey Enesey Klemencz sent photos of cedar waxwings that have finally arrived to devour her holly berries in South Shires Estates in Virginia Beach. “They are like a swarm of locusts,” wrote Klemencz. “The resident mockingbird and robin don’t take too kindly to hem, but I look forward to their visit each year. Once the berries are gone so are they.”
Jonathan Snyder sent a photo of a cedar waxwing perched on a branch in his backyard in the Sawyers Mill neighborhood in Chesapeake.
Reuben Rohn sent a photo of a blue-gray gnatcatcher at Stumpy Lake in Virginia Beach. “A harbinger of spring,” wrote Rohn. “They have begun to appear here.” The gnatcatchers flutter among the trees looking for tiny insects to feed on.
Harold Winer photographed a brilliant male Baltimore oriole and a colorful male bluebird at his feeders in Kings Grant in Virginia Beach.
Laura Joksaite sent a photo of a green tree frog resting on a flower about to open in her backyard in the Robinhood Forest area of Virginia Beach. “She was always smiling,” wrote Joksaite.
Vickie Shufer, email@example.com
To submit items, email no more than two photos and/or nature sightings each week for possible publication in Close Encounters. Don’t forget your full name and neighborhood. Email photos as .jpg attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have injured wildlife, call Tidewater Wildlife Rescue, 255-8710. Wildlife Response can be reached at 543-7000.