American Robins should be on your lawn by now. As soon as Pfister’s Pond is ice-free, look for Ring-necked Duck, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Mallards, and Canada Geese. A gray-brown, sparrow-sized bird perched on the buttonbush in Pfister’s Pond, tail a-wagging, it’s likely to be an Eastern Phoebe. This drab but jaunty flycatcher also sort of sings his name: “Fee-bree, Free-bidit” Also look near the Education Pavilion, where phoebes nested the past two years.
Look for the maroon-spotted green hoods of Skunk Cabbage flowers near the stream along the lower Red Trail.
Before many migrant birds appear, the amphibians & reptiles begin to emerge from their winter torpor. Listen for the shrill choruses of Spring Peepers and the flat quacking of Wood Frogs around the pond and vernal pools. Binoculars make it easy to spot the shiny black carapaces of Eastern Painted Turtles as they bask around the pond. Go slowly and quietly and make it a contest to see who can spot the most! Garter & Ring-necked Snakes may be seen if you are sharp-eyed.