Saturday, May 14, 2022

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Couple

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Male
Got to the park at 7:00 a.m. A beautiful day! Sunny and 69 degrees.

I thought it would be very birdy since the Northeast winds stopped blowing, but it was actually pretty quiet.

The lower gardens had tree swallows (but not nearly as many as previous years, unless it's still early?), song sparrows, mourning doves, robins, catbirds, house wrens, blue jays, cardinals and a nuthatch. The female oriole is finessing her nest which is almost complete.

The bluebird couple have still held on to their nesting box, so I am feeling somewhat optimistic that they may be able to successfully breed there this year. 

There were some goldfinches and a couple of red-bellied woodpeckers. I was most excited to see a pair of red-breasted grosbeaks in a spot we have seen them before - near the grape vines. They flew away when I approached but then I heard/saw one singing in a spot that wasn't where they flew to, which made me wonder if there might be two couples...

The soccer field had a couple of yellow warblers, some catbirds, a savannah sparrow and a red-winged blackbird calling.

Along with the tree swallows, we don't seem to have nearly as many yellow warblers. Is it a late start due to the weather or is something else going on?

I have now counted 7 lady slippers, with 3 in bud!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


New Beehive
This is a good week for checkout the early migrators so I went back today. A tiny bit warmer at 7:00 - 48 degrees and sunny.

I was greeted immediately by a group of male and female cowbirds and a red-winged blackbird. Someone has attached a feeder to the info board at the entrance to the lower gardens and it's attracting a wide variety of birds.

There are lots of couples busy singing, mating, building nests etc. Ms. Oriole was continuing work on her nest. It's fascinating to see how she starts it with pieces of long grass hanging here and there and how she turns it into a basket with her beak is totally amazing. A cardinal pair were present as well as a house finch couple perched atop someones plot gate. A savannah sparrow was on the ground searching for something good to eat. Song sparrows were singing as well as chickadees. I caught a glimpse of one of the few yellow warblers to be seen so far. I ran into another birder who told me the Northeast winds were funneling migrating birds to the center of the country but when the wind dies down, we would see a lot more. A dogwood is in bloom and the flowers are so delicate and beautiful.

Apparently there must have been two queens in one of the bee hives, so one must have left and hundreds of bees followed her and swarmed around her to create a new hive. Wonder if the bee person will capture them and set them up in a new wooden hive...
Flowering Dogwood

The upper gardens had several tree swallows and the bluebirds are still there so fingers crossed that they will be successful! Saw some goldfinches, blue jays, several house wrens, orioles, song sparrows and my first male hummer!! His red throat was glowing in the sunlight at a small feeder in one of the plots next to the huge honeysuckle which is not yet flowering.

I heard a Carolina wren down by the pond, but couldn't locate her. 

A last trip to the lower gardens on my way to the car yielded an oven bird. We watched it and its coloring is so good at camouflage that it disappears before your very eyes and then reappears. We had several good viewings. That was definitely a treat.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Migration in Full Swing!

Inspired by a fantastic Mother's Day Birdwalk at Cold Spring Park, sponsored by the Newton Conservators, I couldn't wait to get to Nahanton Park and see what was happening there.

It was cool - 45 degrees at 7:00 a.m., but nice and sunny. This puffed up catbird was the first to catch my eye, along with blue jays, robins and starlings. A red-tailed hawk flew overhead. There were several orioles. The first I saw was a beautiful male on a crabapple tree. It's so nice to have them back. Meanwhile, the female was busy building her nest in the same tree that they have been using for the last few years. She isn't wasting any time! There was a house wren singing and flitting about, cardinals, grackles, song sparrows, and yellow warblers.

In the upper gardens I was happy to see that madame bluebird has somehow maintained possession of her nest box for a whole week. Maybe the addition of so many bird houses has satisfied the greedy tree swallows and she will be ok. In addition to the female, the male was hanging out across the path looking very handsome! There were several tree swallows. I may be mistaken, but it doesn't seem like as many as in the past or maybe they are already settled in to their various homes and are rather quiet. Several yellow rumps were about as well as chickadees, more house wrens, male and female red-winged blackbirds.
Female Nestbuilding

The soccer field had a half dozen white throated sparrows, robins, red-winged blackbirds, nesting chickadees, song sparrows, orioles,  yellow rumps, carolina wren, a nuthatch and a blue gray gnatcatcher near the parking circle.

Female in nest box
The pond had a huge, blue heron perched in a tree, but it flew off as I watched. It was gorgeous. I also saw an odd looking thrush walking along the path. I had trouble identifying it because it wasn't a wood thrush or a Louisiana Water thrush or a hermit thrush. Its back was mostly gray with a slight tinge of olive in it and though it had spots on its chest, they faded out near its belly. The tail was not rufous, so that eliminated the hermit. Thankfully, I ran into Mary Lou who told me it was most likely a Swainsons, which would be a first for me, so that was exciting.

I was expecting to see a lot of warblers on Florries path by the river, but it was very, very quiet.

Woodcock meadow was very quiet save for a singing house wren and one grackle.

Bluegray Gnatcatcher
Checked out the woods near the parking lot for lady slipper foliage and found 5 plants - one with a bud on it already. 

Nahanton is such a beautiful park!

Sunday, May 1, 2022

May Day! and some mystery deaths...

It was a beautiful morning. Sunny, 40 degrees at 7:00 a.m.

The lower gardens sported blue jays, chickadees, a cowbird, nuthatches, robins, song sparrows, grackles, titmice and red winged blackbirds. The large crabapple tree is in full splendor! Gardens are just beginning to be attended to.

The upper gardens had several tree swallows, already reserving their nesting boxes. However, I was most surprised to see a male bluebird poking his head out of one of them. I hope he can fend off the swallows. It has been such a long time since blue birds have nested in the upper gardens. A large flicker was hanging out on a tree branch, a robin had nesting material, but was so cautious about showing anyone where the nest would be that I ran out of patience and had to move on. Several song sparrows were foraging and singing.

The soccer field/pond area had robins, red wing blackbirds and 2 savannah sparrows high up in one of the trees bordering the soccer field. As I approached the path to the vernal pool, I was stunned to see a large, dead skunk near the edge. It was in a strange curled up position - almost as if it was sleeping, but it was not breathing. It looked very intact, so I am not sure what could have happened to it. It was also in this area, only 4 feet away, that I saw a dead wood thrush. The thrush looked like something had attacked it. There are so few of them and they are so special, that it made me very sad.

I moved on to the river, where our Eastern phoebe is already sitting on her nest perched in the eaves of the Nature Center. Such a reliable and wonderful sight. There were cardinals and robins and a downy woodpecker. I have noticed more and more bird houses being erected which is great and also lots more feeders which the birds are really appreciating!

Woodcock Meadow had some mourning doves, robins, blue jays, gold finches, chickadees and heard my first house wren of the season!

Checked out the woods for signs of lady slipper foliage, but it is too early.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

September roundup

Well, I passed through Nahanton Park quite a few more times in September after the last post. Here are some photos. I'll let you id them! Hint: Not all of them are birds!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Fall Warbler bonanza

After Ida's rains, I thought the Park might be exciting this morning. I was right! 33 spp, including four American Redstarts and this Tennessee Warbler at the back of the upper garden (along with Northern Parula and Common Yellowthroat)

a nice juvenile Northern Mockingbird on the soccer field

But the best display was in a birch and pine at the edge of Woodcock Meadow -- this fall Blackpoll Warbler ...

this Black-throated Green Warbler 

a pair of Northern Parulas


and, the best surprise of all, a beautiful Connecticut Warbler, only my second time seeing this bird! 

And an almost tail-less Song Sparrow permitted this portrait --

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mothers Day and more

Alison Leary and I ran an impromptu and unadvertised Mothers Day walk on Sunday. I failed to get decent photographs of the consensus bird of the day - Wood Thrush. I think there are at least three breeding pairs in the park now. 

We also enjoyed the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks around the nature center --


I'd been there on Friday, and found this Least Flycatcher (that responded to a recording) 

as well as a small sample of warblers and a Blue-headed Vireo. 

This morning I went through the Park again. Immediately a Veery appeared, in the copse between the entrance road and the lower garden -

At the soccer circle there was this female Orchard Oriole, high in a tree --

and just as high in a tree at the upper garden, this Nashville Warbler.