Monday, September 28, 2009

Indian Summer Morning

60 degrees at 7:30 a.m. this morning. Balmy with the sun just starting to emerge. I had to check out the big tree in the lower gardens which lately has become a hotspot for interesting birds.

Saw several song sparrows right away. Then I saw what may have been the fall colored American Redstart. Also saw a small bird with a bright yellow breast but it flitted around so frequently that I really couldn't tell at all what it was. Thought I identified a pine warbler, but it had a white eye ring or spectacle so not 100% sure as I thought they were supposed to be yellow. Very poor quality picture here, but maybe someone can help me identify it. Also saw the red-eyed vireo again. It really has been spending quite a lot of time in the lower gardens!

Saw a great blue heron flying overhead. Had to head down to the pond to see if that's where it was going. Sure enough, there was our friend, wading about looking for something to eat.

In the gardens some of the last flowers in bloom are the sweet peas, dahlias, cosmos and zinnias.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Gardens

It was pretty chilly this morning at the park. 44 degrees at 7:15 a.m. Went down to the pond and saw a mallard couple. Moved on up to the upper gardens where there was a flock of chittering cedar waxwings - lots of juveniles in the group. Saw all the regulars; i.e., chickadees, mockingbirds, blue jays, song sparrows, nuthatches, cardinals, downies, etc.

Then went to the lower gardens and ran into Ian.  Haynes joined us shortly afterwards. We saw an American Redstart which was gray with some soft yellow in spots. This picture doesn't really do it justice, but it was the best I could do with my camera (it's right in the middle and facing away).

In the upper gardens, we were standing near this tree and Haynes suddenly noticed this huge red-tailed hawk right in front of us. He was totally unphased by our presence. He really was spectacularly grand! We saw chipping and savannah sparrows, an indigo bunting couple, eastern phoebes, house finches and mourning doves. Also saw a beautiful male yellowthroat with a faded mask foraging in the brush.

Ian and I thought we had seen pine warblers and Haynes said he had seen some Blackpolls. Just as it was time to leave, we saw the red-eyed vireo. An elegant way to end the morning.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hummingbirds Have Moved On

I guess this entry is in the "Other Musings" category as it pertains to my backyard here in Newton.

For three years now, we have had a pair of hummingbirds in the summer and later in the season, their offspring, coming to our backyard feeders. Of course we don't really know if they are the same individuals, but we like to think they are. My daughter named the female "Ruby" (of course) and the male is "Reggie". We can't wait for them to arrive in the spring and always feel sad when they leave as we get so much pleasure watching them. In fact, that is often our dusk entertainment. At any rate, the last time we definitively saw Ruby was Sept. 16th and haven't seen Reggie since Sept. 9th. You can tell they're getting ready to migrate because they're all over the flower garden and at the feeders all day long fueling up whereas they are normally a bit shy and mostly coming at dawn and dusk.

Last year, we had newcomers to the hummingbird feeders and I never would have believed it possible, but a pair of downy woodpeckers come after they're done breeding and apparently they really can get the nectar out! My neighbor has the exact same phenomena going on in her yard. So even if our hummers are gone for the season, this is some sort of consolation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Day of Fall

Today is the first day of fall and I thought this would be a great day to start this Nahanton Park blog. It was pretty chilly (46), but the gardens looked beautiful - all the grasses and flowers covered in dew. The asters, Queen Anne's Lace and rudbeckia are almost done blooming.

It seemed very quiet when I first arrived. Only a few chickadees and house wrens - not even a song sparrow! I took some pictures and wandered down to the pond where I was so amazed to see our stately friend the Blue Heron strolling about in the shallow waters with some mallards splashing nearby. Haven't seen him for quite some time and what a great sighting to start out this blog with.

Quickly went back to the lower gardens. The sun was coming out and it looked like the birds were starting to come to life. I couldn't stay long, but saw a red-eyed vireo, heard the warbling vireo and saw some little warbler with a flash of yellow - it was so quick, I wasn't sure if it was on it's cheek or sides and definitely couldn't
identify it.

The Bird Register recently had some sightings of a black & white warbler and several pine warblers so it seems like the migration is finally happening.

I'd like to let people know that Alison will be leading a birdwalk at the park on Oct. 4th at 8:00 a.m. Hope to see you there!