Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day After Christmas

White Throated Sparrow
It was 28 degrees this morning at about 7:15 when I went to the park.

I decided to go for a walk before the "threatened" snowstorm arrives, but it was already coming down lightly and gently - a beautiful morning for a walk.

I walked all around the park and found it extremely quiet and wondered where everyone was hiding. I'm sure they know a storm is coming!

From the upper gardens I went on the path that goes through the woods to the river. Nothing. When I arrived at the dock at the Nahanton Street entrance, I finally heard some little noises. First I saw some chickadees, then some titmice, then some juncos, and then a nuthatch. It was cute how they were all hanging out together - the brave crowd ready to tough out the snow. As I stood and watched, I finally realized that some kind person had thrown some sort of food for them on the ground and that was why they were all congregating there.

Before I knew it, several blue jays had appeared, some mourning doves, a pair of downies, a red-bellied woodpecker and the white throated sparrow pictured above.

Still no sign of the barred owl...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Oh, Nahanton Christmas Tree...

O Christmas Tree!
O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
O Christmas Tree!
O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer's here,
But also when 'tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree!
O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas Tree!
O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
O Christmas Tree!
O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
How often has the Christmas tree
Afforded me the greatest glee!
O Christmas Tree!
O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Bird Count Today

Today was the bird count and though it was a little chilly, the weather cooperated - no snowstorms, wind or rain which made for much easier hiking than last year.

After some delicious coffee cake and hot drinks, we broke up into about five groups. Haynes was the leader for the Kennard Park, Brown and Oak Hill areas. He has the final list and tallies, so I will do my best to recall some of the birds we saw today, though nothing unusual was spotted.

Between the two areas, we saw many juncos, robins, starlings, some crows, seagulls, geese and ducks. There were carolina wrens, chickadees, titmice, song sparrows, a red-bellied woodpecker, nuthatches, a red-tailed hawk, downies, cardinals and blue jays.

As we were leaving, Haynes spotted some unusual shaped, freshly made holes in a healthy pine tree near the entrance to the Kennard, that he felt could be serious evidence of a pileated woodpecker. That would be quite exciting! May go back to investigate.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Bird Count Tomorrow!

Please join us for The Annual Christmas Bird Count - tomorrow morning, Sunday, December 19th.

Meet at Cris Crisatello's house at 2 Raeburn Terrace, Newton Highlands at 7:00 a.m. Several groups will be formed to cover the Newton area. Those who'd like to search for owls should plan to come at 5:00 a.m. Coffee, cocoa and coffee cake will be available.

The count should be finished by 2:00 p.m. at the latest. Most groups finish well before that time.   

If you have any questions, call Cris at 617.244.6397 or Alison Leary at 617.821.5619.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Red Tail Again!

Red-Tailed Hawk
38 degrees at 7:15. Very quiet at the park. A few joggers etc. Birds were very quiet in the upper gardens. I think this is the same hawk I saw a few weeks ago and it may be a young one. It flew from the back of the upper gardens to the mulberry tree in the middle and hung out there for quite some time.

I decided I was going to try out the video feature on my camera but spent so much time trying to figure out how to turn it on that when I aimed my camera up to try it out, the hawk was gone! And I never heard a thing.

The lower garden area was a little more active with chickadees, juncos, robins, blue jays, goldfinches, song sparrows and American tree sparrows.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nahanton's Little Christmas Tree

7:15 a.m. , 31 degrees and overcast. It felt really cold.

I had to admire this little Christmas tree growing wild in the lower gardens. It's so perfect, that I think it would be really fun to decorate it and put tiny little wrapped presents underneath for all the birds and creatures who have to tough it out over the winter.

Today was very quiet. Only our regulars were apparent. There were juncos, blue jays, chickadees, a downy woodpecker, cardinals, robins, song sparrows, nuthatches, titmice, tree sparrows, mourning doves and a white throated sparrow foraging in the leaves by the side of the path.

The pond is completely frozen over, so no ducks there now. I notice that the dock is still in the river. I thought they usually hauled it out by now.

SAVE THE DATE: The Christmas Bird Count will be held on December 19th. More details to follow.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Update

It was 35 degrees this morning at 7:15 a.m.

I got to the park early today in hopes of seeing a deer. As I got out of the car, I thought I saw a dog with a white tail dip into the woods near the path to the upper gardens. I was hoping it was the fox, but it seemed too large. I decided not to follow it but to see if it was near the swamp area so I headed to the path near the beehives because it has a great view of the area - being high on a hill. As I stood there, I heard some crunching noises in the woods. Expecting to see a squirrel, I turned my head and saw a flash of a white tail again. It was a lone deer feeding in the brush. I got to watch it for quite some time as it meandered around the backside of the upper gardens, but it kept to the brush so I couldn't get a decent picture. Something made me wonder if it was the young deer I had seen on its own earlier in the summer down near the soccer field.

Red-Tailed Hawk
As I was watching it, I saw a flash of white wings and thought maybe our owl was present. Decided to go down near the soccer field and look in the woods near the river where I thought it might be. As I looked into the woods near the pond, I saw this large creature in the distance on a branch and hoped for an owl. However, it was a red-tailed hawk. To get a better picture I bush-wacked my way through that awful cat briar. This photo can not do its size justice. It was enormous and sat on this branch for quite some time until it became interested in something and flew off to chase it.

I ran into Haynes around 9:00. Hadn't seen him for some time. We walked the upper gardens together. Saw several tree sparrows, goldfinches, juncos, cardinals, chickadees, house finches, titmice and song sparrows. Of course we saw a few robins and blue jays as well. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting Cold!

American Tree Sparrow
It was 35 degrees this morning at around 8:00 a.m. Partial clouds and sun, but feeling quite chilly.

Several geese were flying in small groups overhead and I think I know where they were going as I saw a large group grazing at the golf course on my way to the park! Guess the word was out about the delicious grass.

Otherwise, the lower gardens had titmice, tree sparrows, goldfinches and juncos, all hanging out together. Of course we also had a mourning dove, blue jays, robins and a male downy woodpecker.

The upper gardens were as quiet as I've seen. I don't think I even saw one bird, but I noticed that the bees have been put to bed for the winter. Each bee hive box has been covered with its insulating black rubber jacket and kept in place with a red belt!

I saw a puddle that had ice in it as well as seeing that the pond was partially frozen. The mallards were all at the far end today as well as some little birds that were darting around on the ice. Couldn't quite tell what they were - possibly sparrows. I didn't realize it was cold enough for ice. Some of the ground seemed frozen, even though that hasn't happened at my house just down the street. Microclimates are very strange.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

American Tree Sparrows Back!

Well, today was the first day I had to truly scrape the frost off my windshield! It was thin, but it was there. 35 degrees at around 7:15 a.m. Sunny and pleasant.

The meadow has been mowed (yesterday) and was covered in white frost as well as the edges of grasses and leaves. It was very pretty.

The upper and lower gardens were fairly quiet. There were chickadees, robins, blue jays, juncos, titmice and goldfinches.

I ran into Ian, and we both agreed, the big excitement was the reappearance of the American tree sparrows who will be wintering over here until spring. I love their little chirping noises and their indian red caps are beautiful. They were hanging out with song sparrows and goldfinches in the upper gardens, feeding on weeds on the edge of the woods. The goldfinches were a large group and outnumbered the others considerably. A single seagull flew overhead as well as a small group of crows.

I took a quick look at the pond, which is finally filled with some water and equally filled with at least 10 pairs of mallards. One pair was secluded together, resting under some branches overhanging the water but the others were very active and social. Wish I knew what they were thinking. Are they really paired up, or is this the beginning of the negotiations?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sharpie Attack

It was 41 degrees at around 7:30 a.m. this morning and overcast.

In the lower gardens, there were juncos. chickadees, goldfinches and titmice, but didn't even see a sparrow - not even a song sparrow which is most unusual.

I heard a lot of noise coming from the brush in the lower gardens that parallels Winchester Street. The blue jays were upset. And then every once in a while, I'd hear a loud squawk. Went over to check it out and found what I think must have been a sharpie (as it was not much bigger than the jays). It was absolutely on the attack. They would all fly from tree to tree and the sharpie was in hot pursuit.

I didn't have the patience to wait it out or the desire to see anything too brutal so not sure if the sharpie was successful or not.

The photo below, left, shows the jays with the sharpie silhouette in the upper right, so you can see the size comparison.

The upper gardens were also filled with juncos and chickadees and not much else, at least while I was there. Pretty quiet in general.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bluebirds & Weekend Update

Saturday was quite cool at 7:30 a.m. at 38 degrees whereas Sunday was a warm 51 degrees.

I was joined by Mary Lou today and we had many of the same sightings as I had seen yesterday, so I think I'll lump them all together.

The bluebirds were there both days and were probably the highlight. I wasn't sure if there were three of four, but Mary Lou confirmed four today. I believe there were two males and two females. The males still had quite a bit of blue in them making them look very royal.

Bluebird Male

Other interesting sightings included white throated sparrows, a savannah sparrow, a yellow-rumped warbler, juncos, ruby crowned kinglets and a hairy woodpecker. Otherwise, we saw many of our regular, year-round inhabitants: cardinals, mockingbirds, nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, song sparrows, flickers, house finches, goldfinches, bluejays, robins and mourning doves. Geese and ducks flew overhead at various times.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Look Who Blew In!

Well, of course we are always looking for new migrants who blew in, but today we had a special migrant - Sue A., a previously very active member of the Newton Conservators who moved last year and travelled against the prevailing winds to land in Newton from the South instead of the North!

It was chilly this morning, but not too bad at 8:30 a.m. We walked most of the park and spent a lot of time in the upper gardens. It was nice to catch up personally and also for Sue to see the park. I think it was spring when we last saw her there.

We saw many of our regulars including robins, blue jays, goldfinches, cardinals, song sparrows and lots of juncos.

The upper gardens had many sparrows. We think we saw song sparrows, swamp sparrows, white-throated sparrows and I am almost positive that we saw Haynes' white crowned sparrow. I think I have finally learned how to identify it (at least for now). I'll probably forget by next year.

There was a bit of a commotion in the gardens with some crows that were very upset. We thought we saw something large and white that they were after but couldn't identify it. I was wondering if it might be our owl or a red-tailed hawk, but we really couldn't see it. Later, as we walked along the Charles River path, we ran into a group that had experienced a similar mobbing. They couldn't quite see it either, but a self-declared experienced birdwatcher said that he was pretty sure it was an owl of some kind. I would love it if our barred owl was in the vicinity.

We climbed up the hill to Woodcock meadow where we saw more juncos, a male downy, flickers and my first sighting of yellow rumps or butter butts as Haynes likes to call them. We also saw a couple on the path back up to the parking lot near the meadow. Sue has seen them already on Long Island. It's a little bittersweet to see them as they are among the last migrants to come through. That means winter is around the corner although I will look forward to seeing what wildlife will inhabit our park this season.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Windy Bird Walk

Linda Ferraresso led a BBC walk through Nahanton Park this morning. Very windy, following yesterday's Nor'easter. Still, a good turnout and some good birds: An amazing display by a Field Sparrow at the foot of the upper garden, where there were also White-crowned Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, and a Nashville Warbler. Several Palm Warblers were hanging around too. Also flyovers by Red-tailed Hawk, Coopers Hawk, and Osprey.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bird Walk with Jane Z.

Today started out chilly as well, but warmed up quite quickly. The BBC walk was well attended with about thirteen people in all. The first person there was sitting at the entrance to Winchester Street and while he was waiting, he got to watch 2 deer.

I guess I hadn't realized that the walk actually started at 8:30, so I did a little perusing in the upper gardens where myself and another birder saw three bluebirds investigating one of the nesting boxes. Made me sad the breeding season is over for this year.

We spent most of our time in the upper and lower gardens looking for unusual sparrows and others. Among some of the birds that we saw in the lower gardens were cardinals, flickers, goldfinches and house finches. A few people saw a blue headed vireo. Haynes and I somehow missed it, but luckily we had a beautiful view of one down near the soccer field, looking very much like a kinglet they way it was flitting around in the trees.

Jane saw a female purple finch and some people saw an osprey flying overhead. We saw a ruby crowned kinglet, some titmice, a downy woodpecker and a golden crowned kinglet. Some saw the black throated green warbler which sad to say, I missed. A beautiful phoebe was hanging out in a large tree with a beautiful yellow breast.
On the way to the upper gardens we saw a swallow overhead which is quite unusual for this time of year. I don't believe anyone could definitively identify what type it was (possibly tree?).

Palm Warbler
The upper gardens had a palm warbler, swamp sparrow and a beautiful white crowned sparrow. Otherwise, fairly quiet in the rest of the park. Haynes and I saw another beautiful phoebe in the Woodcock meadow and at the parking lot we got a great view of a palm warbler.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bird Walk with Alison and Haynes

Today was quite chilly - 38 degrees but with a clear sky and it quickly started to warm up.

We had a small group, but we had some really nice sightings.

In the lower gardens we had several sightings of one or more Nashville warblers and some ruby crowned kinglets. Several bluebirds were there as well flying from tree to tree. There were white crowned sparrows, chippers, swamp sparrows, songs and white throated sparrows.

As for the soccer area, the upper gardens and woodcock meadow, we saw a golden crowned kinglet, a deer foraging in the woods, a red-bellied woodpecker, downies, chickadees, crows, a flicker, robins, bluejays, cardinals, house finches, a mockingbird, juncos, a phoebe and a red-tailed hawk flying overhead.

Haynes and Jane decided to stay a little longer and emailed me this addendum:

"In our extension of the walk, Jane and I saw an Osprey, a Yellow-rumped warbler, and a Black-throated Green warbler. Some others showed us a photo of a Field sparrow they had just seen in the weeds below the upper garden. And we saw again the mystery sparrow in the upper garden - another White-crowned sparrow."

Tomorrow is another walk with Jane Zanichkowski from the Brookline Bird Club. Check out the Nahanton Park website for time and meeting place. Click here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Warblers and Sparrows

Today was 45 degrees at about 7:15 a.m. Pretty chilly, but a beautiful day. I decided I'd hang out in the lower gardens for a while since that's where a lot of the birds have been hanging out too.

Wild Asters
There were lots of sparrows and I was getting frustrated trying to identify them. Obviously there were songs, and I'm sure I saw some chippers, but some I just have no idea. Almost had a close encounter with our red fox. It started trotting down the lane that I was standing in between gardens and then suddenly realized I was there and turned tail. Too bad, because I thought I could get a great close up photo.

Saw a flock of crows, robins, and what I think was probably a Coopers hawk that flew from the golf course side across the parking lot. The little white wild asters are doing very well and are populating the meadow in excellent numbers. I don't remember seeing these or at least so many last year. I believe the lack of dumping this past winter has made a difference in the wildflower numbers.

Pine Warbler? (It's a Blackpoll)
Finally decided to check out the upper gardens. On the pathway up I heard a nuthatch and saw lots of chickadees, but something else caught my eye. I think it was a pine warbler (pictured left) and hopefully, someone will correct me if I'm wrong. There were several of them.

In the upper gardens were lots of sparrows and some kind of warbler or kinglet that was too quick for me to identify. Was wishing I had someone with me to help id some of what I saw but hopefully we'll some of these birds tomorrow on the bird walk with Alison and Haynes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pete Gilmore Bird Walk

Today was a bird walk with Pete Gilmore. It was in the mid-40's this morning - pretty chilly!

We met at the Nahanton Street entrance with a great turnout of at least 18 people. We headed over to the gardens where Pete had seen some great birds on Saturday.

For some reason, today was very quiet. We weren't sure if yesterday's birds had taken off in the night on some good winds or if they were just laying low due to the cold.

At any rate, we did manage to see several interesting sparrows. Of course we saw our song sparrows, but we also saw the white throated sparrow, chipping sparrows, a savannah sparrow and some swamp sparrows.

Haynes, who had arrived early had seen 2 Coopers hawks circling around that we later saw get chased away by a mob of blue jays. I think he also saw an indigo bunting. The group saw several house finches including one very brightly colored male, cardinals, catbirds, goldfinches, mourning doves and a red tailed hawk. Also saw cormorants and swans flying overhead.

Looking forward to next weeks walk as well...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

From Herons in Trees to Plant Communities

The weather ranged from the 70's early Saturday morning to the high 50's this morning! Quite a variation, but luckily today felt much warmer then the temperature showed.

This weekend had all our regulars, plus some really nice sightings. Saturday included a black throated green warbler, and some white-throated sparrows in the lower gardens. Saw some interesting looking sparrows, but couldn't identify them. One house wren is still around and there seemed to be lots of titmice flitting about. Also saw 3-4 chimney swifts flying overhead and a huge flock of blackbirds.

Today, Jane and Haynes were there and we walked around together. Before they arrived, I am fairly certain that I saw a few black & white warblers in the trees right near the parking lot. Thought I saw a vireo (only because of it's eyestripe), but I think it was determined later that it may have been a chipping sparrow with strong white eyebrows. The chippers were pretty active and did a lot of chasing and diving. It was all getting a little confusing because of course the birds wouldn't sit still.

We saw chickadees, song sparrows, and apparently the juncos blew in last night because the lower gardens were covered with them. The white-throated sparrows were still there with catbirds, house wren, house finches, a phoebe, bluejays and cardinals. Haynes honed in on a towhee call, but we never located it. We also managed to see a white crowned sparrow! As we were about to head to the upper gardens, Jane spotted a blue heron flying overhead and then it landed in a large tree in the woods between the lower gardens and golf course (pictured top left). It is still hard for me to believe these large creatures can perch in trees.

In the upper gardens we saw a gorgeous male American redstart with his black and bright orange plumage. No dulled down colors for him. Also saw a red-tailed hawk flying near the forest edge.

At 10:30 was a great walk led by Jon Regosin about plant communities at Nahanton Park. Jon is extremely knowledgeable and it was amazing to learn of all the diversity we have at the park and the actual names of the plants, shrubs and trees that we see so often. We saw royal ferns, dogbane, little blue stem grass, fresh water mussels (in the river) button bush and wintergreen to name just a few.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Arrivals Continue

Today was wonderfully pleasant and cool. The feel of early fall is in the air as little drops of dew are edging most flowers and grasses early in the morning. I was only at the park a few minutes when Haynes arrived and shortly afterwards Jane appeared. Eventually a fellow named Glenn joined us as well. In a way it seemed quiet, but on the other hand we actually saw quite a lot! In the lower gardens we saw goldfinches, song sparrows, chickadees, catbirds, robins, bluejays and a common yellowthroat.

However, we had some new migrant friends such as a beautiful Nashville warbler and some Savannah sparrows (pictured right). There were several house finches and much discussion about the difference between the house finch and the purple finch. A house wren was heard scolding in the scrub and a group of cowbirds were seen high in a tree. Haynes spotted an indigo bunting which was very drab and barely a hint of blue on its sides and tail tip. A young red-tailed hawk flew right overhead and we had a wonderful look at it. Very elegant and powerful.

Jane had seen something with a white tail earlier and thought it was a fox. As we were about to head up the path, there it was - trotting across the path and then it disappeared in the brush. We have now had several sightings as has Duane Hillis who lives next door. So this is our Nahanton fox.

In the upper gardens we were excited to see that some white throated sparrows have arrived and we had a great view of a red-eyed vireo that was gorging on the grapes towards the back of the gardens. A small warbler was barely seen and Glenn thought it might be a Canada warbler, but it disappeared into the bushes and we couldn't confirm one way or the other what it was.

Jane had heard a barred owl last night outside her house in Auburndale, so we decided to take the swamp trail to see if we might see our Nahanton barred owl, but we didn't see anything.

Can't wait to see what next weekend will bring.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yellow Chat and Exciting Weekend Updates!

Early Saturday morning I ran into Ian. It was sunny and cool, but very pleasant. Together we saw a Wilson's warbler, an American redstart, a pine warbler and a female common yellowthroat in the scrub near the mulberry tree on the path to the upper gardens. Very exciting! I had never seen a Wilson's warbler before and all I knew was that this bird was bright yellow with a black cap. I looked it up and on seeing the picture, I was sure that's what I had seen! I'm so glad Ian came along and got to confirm my sighting.

Then Haynes arrived and we all explored the lower and upper gardens together. We saw our usual friends: chickadees, blue jays, catbirds, cardinals, goldfinches, robins, titmice, house finches, song sparrows and possibly a juvenile male yellow throat.

As we headed to the upper gardens, we came across 5 deer in the meadow. They were curious about us, but a little frightened, and bounded off into the woods. I think Ian saw a palm warbler and we heard and saw some very vocal white breasted nuthatches on the trees bordering the path. Haynes and Ian spotted the red fox which immediately dashed into the woods following the deer. Our friend "Lucy" the leucisistic song sparrow was on view on the fence of one of the gardens. She is one song sparrow we can keep track of. Saw mourning doves, mockingbirds and then a beautiful Coopers hawk (pictured right) circling around near the back of the upper gardens. Also saw an Eastern phoebe and another American redstart down in the soccer field area. Pond was quiet.

Today, I went early to see if I could catch the deer or the fox before the sun really came out. I was there around 6:45 a.m.. I saw another car and it had an Audubon sticker on it, so I knew another birdwatcher was nearby! It was Bev in the lower gardens. She told me a yellow breasted chat had been seen yesterday and she was hoping to see it. She also warned me that lots of birders would be coming to check it out. And so they did!

I didn't see much in the upper gardens, so I headed down below. Ran into Haynes who was hoping to see the chat. Also discovered that Mary Lou and friend were there too looking for the chat. Then Ian arrived as well. We spotted the chat in a bush in the middle of the gardens and then it flew to the brush that borders the parking lot. Got a great view of it, but couldn't get a picture. It just vanished into thin air! Eventually, everyone got to see it and we were all thrilled.

Hope this is an indicator of an exciting fall migration!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beautiful morning, still enough to make movement easy to see.
The river is still ridiculously low, but at least the cars are covered.

Gray fox (front left corner of upper garden)
Red fox (pond)
White-tailed Deer, fawn at W St parking lot.

Observation date: 9/6/10
Notes: Still, sun, 60 deg.

Chimney Swift 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 12
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Tufted Titmouse 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 3
House Wren 2
American Robin 20
Gray Catbird 12
Northern Mockingbird 1
Northern Parula 2
Yellow Warbler 1
American Redstart 5
Common Yellowthroat 2
Song Sparrow 8 song fragment
Northern Cardinal 2
Common Grackle 2
American Goldfinch 3

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blessed Relief!

Finally, some nice weather!!! Humidity gone. Dry, comfortable and sunny. The birds seemed happier too. I went to the park Saturday and ran into Ian. We basically had almost the same sightings as Haynes only we didn't see the merlin or the redstart.

The low river was quite a sight - old cars and metal parts were sticking out in various places. From overflowing banks in the spring to this - it certainly has been quite a spring and summer. Ian asked one of the Charles River Canoe employees what was going on. Apparently the state had ordered a lowering of the water level in the Charles in case the hurricane should cause flooding.

Ian and I had to perform an emergency rescue with this poor dragonfly. It had gotten it's head and legs caught in this netting. At Ian's suggestion, we eased it backwards and were able to free it. It had the most beautiful coloring.

 I went back today and saw a fox on the road heading toward the soccer field. It saw me and high tailed it into the woods. I think I have seen it enough times to consider it an official Nahanton Park resident.

Today saw our usual friends: blue jays, robins, mockingbirds, flickers, red-bellied, downy and flicker woodpeckers, catbirds, yellow throat females, titmice, goldfinches, song sparrows and a Baltimore oriole. I was happy to see the American Redstart down near the soccer field and I think it was a male because it was darker, but it still had the beautiful blush of yellow color on its sides.

The chickadees were having a blast with these sunflowers. It was a real party! I watched them for a long time while they socialized and performed all kinds of acrobatics as they attempted to extract the seeds from the heads.

For anyone new reading this blog, The Friends of Nahanton Park has a new website. They have a list of walks and activities this fall and it looks like a great lineup!
Click here to view The Friends of Nahanton Park Website.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A year of highs and lows for the Charles

After tropical storm Earl passed, I thought I'd check out the Park
this morning, Sept 4. When I got there it was still but the breeze
soon picked up a bit.

Somebody had pulled the plug on the Charles. It was a ditch with
a small amount of brown water at the bottom. The dock was resting
on the bank.

Merlin 1 Circling at medium height
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 12 incl 7 on soccer field
Eastern Phoebe 2
Warbling Vireo 1
Blue Jay 12
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Tufted Titmouse 1
House Wren 2
Veery 1
American Robin 15
Gray Catbird 10
Northern Mockingbird 9 one in song
American Redstart 1
Common Yellowthroat 5
Song Sparrow 10
American Goldfinch 6

Post-script to earlier report:
On Aug 1 I reported hearing a Ruby-crowned Kinglet at this site.
I didn't see the bird, and after listening to some tapes I think
that perhaps an American Goldfinch fooled me then as it has in
different ways before.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Regulars

Today was about 68 degrees and overcast with light sprinkles.

It was pretty quiet but as I explored the lower gardens, I gradually heard from many of our regulars. Saw a gray catbird with a bright red raspberry in his beak, goldfinches, song sparrows, mockingbirds and blue jays.

I saw what I thought was a female yellowthroat, but then I heard it trying to sing. The song wasn't quite right and now I think it must have been a very young male practicing his song. I also saw a flicker and a red-bellied woodpecker.

Wonder if this goldfinch (left) knows how handsome he looks on the yellow sundrops?

I went down to the soccer field to find the same situation that Haynes reported on yesterday - lotsa robins!!!!!!

The pond is looking like a very different environment. Now that the water has evaporated, we are left with blue pickerel growing in a wet field of grass! No wonder we aren't seeing the herons down here right now.

The upper gardens were extremely quiet. No sign of the bluebirds but a lovely, spicy scent was in the air up there. Quite heavenly, like this morning glory (pictured above).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lotsa robins

Observation date: 8/21/10
Number of species: 23

Mourning Dove 2
Chimney Swift 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 12 eg 6 on soccer field
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 8
American Crow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 5 family. cheva.
House Wren 6
American Robin 75 eg 53 on soccer field
Gray Catbird 2
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 22 soccer field
Common Yellowthroat 4
Chipping Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 10
Baltimore Oriole 2 silent
American Goldfinch 10

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Glad to be back at the Park!

I was away for the week and though I saw some great birds in North Carolina, I missed the park. I see that Haynes had some great sightings!

It was a beautiful morning - about 68 degrees. Pleasant, cool and a little bit of fall in the air. The flowers blooming right now are some of summer's last; sunflowers, sundrops, goldenrod, chokeberry, sumac and jewel weed. Soon it will be our native asters.

The pond is all dried up and I couldn't even manage to see a sandpiper today. The soccer field was mostly filled with robins searching for worms, but I did manage to see an Eastern kingbird family flitting about.

The upper and lower gardens were filled with similar birds today. Many catbirds, chickadees, robins, downies, goldfinches, hummers, house finches, cardinals, mockingbirds and bluejays. I think some orioles are passing through because I saw several including a few females or possible juveniles. Of course the song sparrows were plentiful and I saw one that must have been a young one practicing its song, because it was definitely not there yet!

Before moving to the upper gardens, I heard the song of a Carolina wren, but having never seen or heard one at the park before, I wasn't sure. I tried to track it down and found the bush where the song was coming from. I decided it was probably a mockingbird tricking me but all of a sudden, a tiny little bird emerged from the shrub, looking very bedraggled as if it had been caught in a storm. It had the tell-tale white eyebrow and it sang some more as I watched!

The upper garden had at least one Phoebe hanging out. Many of our regulars were there and lots of chasing going on with mockingbirds and orioles. A female hummer was perusing the sundrops getting ready for her long flight. No sign of our bluebirds. Have the babies fledged yet?

Just as I was leaving, I caught a glimpse of this bird drinking water from this tub. I know it's hard to see in the photo to the left, but I was so excited. It was my best ever view of an American redstart!!!! And there were two of them!