Seven Days in May

As I was thinking about some of what has been happening in Eliza Howell Park in Detroit in the last week (May 15 – 21), the title “Seven Days in May” came to mind. After googling, I recalled that that was the title of a thriller novel and movie from the early 1960s.

It was an exciting week in Eliza Howell, a thriller for people like me


Scarlet Tanagers were around on two of the 7 days. The female (next photo) looks very different from the male (above).


(Note: All the pictures here were taken in the park during these 7 days, the bird photos by Margaret Weber.)

The middle of May is the peak time to see migrating warblers, most of which  pass through quickly on their way from Central America to their breeding grounds further north.

I recognized 19 different species just of warblers in the park this week, some of them very colorful, as they energetically sought out insects during their refueling stop.

Two examples are Blackburnian Warbler and Cape May Warbler.

Resized_blackburniann_flies_17941380818044Resized_Male_Cape_May_warbler_16636056805310The other category of migrants, species that return to breed here,were also active. I was able to observe as two of the more intriguing nests, those of the Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Baltimore Orioles, were being built.

Gray Catbirds build a more typical looking cup-like nest, but usually in a very-difficult-to -find location1 in a thicket. This week I frequently stopped by a more accessible one as nest construction was completed and the first 2 eggs were laid.


Also this week, two early blooming meadow wildflowers were annoucing that the prolific blooms of summer are coming soon: Yellow Rocket (mustard family)) and Lupine.



These seven days included a major Rouge River flood (the water flowed over the footbridge), the surprise late appearance of breeding American Toads when rain again provided standing water in their pond, and the rapid leafing out of many of the deciduous trees.

The first Common Milkweed plants emerged, a reminder that another year of Monarch butterfly breeding in Eliza Howell is about to begin.


Definitely,  an exciting week.

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