Friday, April 30, 2010

Is Everybody Happy?

Was very happy to see Mrs. Bluebird happily peeking out of her nest box. I hope the war has been won! Had seen her earlier foraging on the ground as well as her husband, Mr. B. looking very blue in a nearby tree. I'll take this as a good sign.

Also saw a family of tree swallows in their chosen box down near the entrance to the lower gardens in one of Brian's boxes where we initially thought some chickadees might move in. I guess they went elsewhere.

The upper and lower gardens were alive with goldfinches, house wrens, song sparrows, robins etc. I did see one lone yellow-rumped in a tree. The wrens are in full force, singing all over the place. I am awaiting my first yellow warbler of the season. I saw on the Newton Birding blog that Scott has seen one at least a week ago at City Hall.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring Morning

Well, it was a beautiful sunny morning. Was expecting lots of warblers because of the last few days. We did see some, but not as many as expected. Perhaps the last crew has mostly moved on and new ones will be arriving.

I ran into Haynes right away in the upper gardens. We saw a beautiful palm warbler and a robin sitting in it's nest as well as the bluebird nearby keeping an eye out for it's box. Heard several house wrens too. I thought I had some pictures to upload of the palm warbler, but something went wrong with my camera, so I'll have to do without pics today.

We finally saw our yellow rumps down near the soccer field and in the woods behind the JCC. Mother phoebe is sunken down in her nest and I'm thinking the eggs should be hatching shortly. Saw two beautiful flickers and heard several red-headed woodpeckers. As we headed toward the JCC to look for pine warblers, Ian appeared and joined us! He had seen the first catbird of the season down in the lower gardens and we saw it again at the end of our walk - it was quite vocal.

At the JCC we came across some kind of outdoor dojo with people practicing martial arts. We heard a chipping sparrow and couldn't find it even though we knew which tree it was in. Haynes was able to spot it and we got a good look at him. Heard the pine warbler and finally saw it fly on a bare branch for a great viewing. After that it was here and there and hard to keep track of.

As I mentioned before, a tree swallow has already made a nest in one of Brian's boxes, but it looks like a second box is under consideration by a different tree swallow and saw a chickadee fly out of the third box, so these units may be filled to capacity. We also heard the song sparrow that sings like the field sparrow - almost!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Confirmation sightings!

I had a feeling things would be heating up and I hadn't even seen Hayne's entry until today!

On arrival heard the house wren in the same area as before but later on I realized there were more and finally caught a glimpse of a male in the trees between the lower and upper gardens. He was singing up a storm and very busy flying from branch to branch.
Pictured above left is a yellow rump. There were several as Haynes mentioned. Also saw at least four palm warblers hanging out in a tree near the meadow and upper gardens. It also contained a female bluebird while the male was perched on the fence below. I then saw them back on their birdhouse, so I'm hoping it's reclaimed, but the tree swallows do attempt to take it over again and again.

Saw a ruby-crowned kinglet down near the soccer field, but haven't seen the wood ducks again.

A goldfinch was in the lower gardens atop that tree the birds like so much down there singing his heart out and looking spectacular.

Brian will be happy to know that there is already a nest in one of the boxes he replaced and it is sure to belong to a tree swallow. I'm so glad they're adapting to the new boxes.

Wish I'd seen that Northern Parula!!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yellowrumps galore

A quick walk through the park this (Thursday) morning: The bluebirds are still competing for the right box in front of the upper garden. House Wrens were sounding off in several locations. A Wood Duck flew over. I counted 6 Palm Warblers, 8 Myrtle Warblers (aka butter butts), a Northern Parula, and one Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Palms and Pines

7:30 - 9:30 this morning, in the sun and breeze. The bluebirds are still competing for the right box in front of the upper garden. There was a single Palm Warbler at the back of the upper garden. I met up with Suzette. We found a singing Ruby-crowned Kinglet along the soccer field. No Wood Ducks visible at the pond. A Downy Woodpecker was foraging near a snag with two holes ready for occupancy, one of which was used last summer. Eastern Phoebe on the nest at the activities house. We walked over to the JCC and in the red pine plantation we found a Pine Warbler, singing and very bright. Much discussion of the proposed expansion of Angino Farm into Nahanton Park.

Off topic - I then went to Newton South High School, where the construction around the astroturf at the track continues. Historically Killdeer have nested there, and, sure enough, there they were, apparently trying to nest in the rubble.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Brief Sighting of Wood Ducks!

8:00 a.m and about 44 degrees. Cloudy. I was hoping the rain would hold off, which it did for about 20 minutes and then it started though it was very light.

Our latest additions at the park have been some chipping sparrows that have appeared. They are so petite! All our regulars were out although definitely not in full force. Guess they don't like the rain that much either. In the upper gardens I swear I heard a house wren returned from it's southern travels, but couldn't see it. It seems too early. The one in  my yard always seems to appear on Mother's day. I can pretty reliably go on the Mother's Day birdwalk at Nahanton and come home and find the house wren has arrived. But I guess every year is different. I'll have to get my wren houses put up now.

Down near the soccer fields I have been seeing a couple of white-throated sparrows poking around in the brush. As I peered through the shrubs towards the pond, I saw a pair of wood ducks coming in for a landing, willing to join a pair of mallards, but it was as if they sensed my presence because they immediately took off again. I know others have seen them there, but that was my first sighting in the three years I've been going there.

Let's hope for nicer weather as the birds start arriving.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kinglets and Palm Warbler

It was about 53 degrees, cloudy and somewhat cool as I arrived at the park this morning. Was immediately greeted by tree swallows all over the meadow area at the Nahanton Street entrance. Saw 2 flickers as I drove in and lots of robins, blue jays etc. Saw goldfinches, chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, titmice and mockingbirds. Heard those red-bellied woodpeckers and saw one down by the river in an old, dead tree. I can't believe the leaves are coming out on the trees already. It seems early.

The swamp has receded and the path by the Charles has dried up dramatically. It's amazing how fast that happened.

The tree swallows are everywhere and have staked out practically every nestbox in the whole park. No sign of our bluebirds today. I worry about them getting pushed out. I guess we'll have to see what happens. It looked so promising the last few weeks, but the tree swallows were only  just arriving. They're quite a force to be contended with.

My big thrill today was much time spent watching a ruby-crowned kinglet(s)? in the upper gardens. These guys are awfully hard to photograph as they rarely sit still for a second (photo above left). I finally got to hear what it sounds like really clearly. But I'm also excited because I saw something else that I was sure was a warbler but not sure which one. I thought it might be a palm warbler, but it wasn't as dramatic looking as I've seen - yellow breast, olivey back, and yellow streaks above (and below?) eye. Luckily, I met a couple of very experienced birders afterwards and we discussed and decided it had to be the palm warbler.

Can't wait to see what else turns up….

Friday, April 2, 2010

They're making their way back!

I knew it would be great day when it started like this! It was pretty warm and sunny at about 8:00 a.m.  As I drove into the park, I was greeted by the deer (4-5) crossing the road. They were a little nervous and headed up the hill near the JCC, but they were kind of curious about me.

I finally saw the tree swallows that everyone else has seen dipping and diving over the meadow. The lower gardens had our usual friends, cardinals, crows, juncos, jays and song sparrows.

There was a bluebird in the upper gardens high up in a tree keeping a watch on his nest box - especially since the tree swallows are back. At the moment, they both seem to be opting for the same houses they had last year. The tree swallow is guarding it's house next to it's bluebird neighbors. To the right is a picture of a tree swallow in the gardens. You don't see them sitting still like this very often so I had to get a picture. Then I heard it - Hayne's grackles that he reported on last weekend. It was like the movie "The Birds". They covered several trees and just made a racket. It's all you could hear for a while. Even the other birds seemed interested in the show.

Woodcock meadow had a bluebird also, flying in and out of the nest boxes there. Since I had left one perched in the upper gardens, I am thinking that rumored suspicions of two bluebird couples might absolutely be true.

As I headed down toward the river, our perennial Eastern Phoebe friend showed me that he/she was back by posing for this shot on it's favorite nesting place, the little hut!

The river is cresting and you can't go on the path at all. So back through the soccer field I went. I saw a beautiful flicker and a goldfinch that is back to being bright yellow and these cowbirds which I know Haynes and Ian have seen already. The bees have lived through the winter and are buzzing about. Just a gorgeous day. Can't wait for those warblers to pass through.