Tuesday, July 27, 2010

6:30 - 8:30 AM Tuesday : nice sun, cool and till becoming warm and breezy.

Canada Goose 2
Mallard 3
Solitary Sandpiper 1 Pond
Mourning Dove 4
Chimney Swift 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1 F with gold sheen
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee 3
Eastern Phoebe 5 3 chicks in nest
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Blue Jay 8
Black-capped Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
House Wren 8
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Eastern Bluebird 2 pr tending box at back right of upper garden
American Robin 25
Gray Catbird 8
Northern Mockingbird 6
Yellow Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 3
Chipping Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 12
Northern Cardinal 2
Indigo Bunting 1 f type
Common Grackle 1
Baltimore Oriole 7
House Finch 10
American Goldfinch 15

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lots of Activity!

78 degrees at 6:30 a.m. I knew it was going to be hot today.

In lower gardens, was immediately greeted by the house wrens nesting next to the parking lot and as I wandered into the lower gardens I saw a juvenile mockingbird and this common yellowthroat female in a shrub together. The rabbits were out - this one had a friend and they were busy munching on the wet grass. They are becoming so used to people that it wasn't difficult to get pretty close to this guy or gal.

I didn't stay long, as I am still fascinated by the herons and were hoping to see them down by the pond. As I headed down there, I saw some little birds flitting around the path near the soccer field, and kept seeing flashes of yellow. I'm sure a saw a few yellow-rumped warblers for the first time in a long time as well as some yellow warblers. I also think I may have seen a female redstart, but not sure about that. It just seems like the warblers are starting to pass through here already. Of course there were the chickadees, robins, song sparrows etc.

As I approached the pond, I saw the black crowned night heron in the distance but apparently there were two herons near the front of the pond and they were spooked, so they flew off and one of them was clearly a juvenile with the brown and white striations. Last time, I saw two adults, so this means it is a family! How cool is that?

I wanted to see if maybe there were any herons down by the river since the water level is so low, and saw the fox out of the corner of my eye in the woods near the Nature Center. He definitely likes this early morning time. He saw me and quickly disappeared.

The upper gardens had lots of wren activity and all our regulars including a mourning dove (pictured left), but also got to watch a tiny, blue-gray gnatcatcher preening its tiny little self in a branch above me.

Wildflowers blooming right now include: wild bergamot, run-away day lilies, mint, vetch, sundrops, black-eyed Susans, yellow flax and Queen Anne's lace.

Ian arrived as I was leaving. I wonder what he ended up seeing….

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Deer Friend & Others

I was so hoping to see the deer again. This female was happily grazing in our controversial meadow. I also noticed a purple cone flower blooming. Haven't noticed those in past years. I really am very optimistic about the growing variety of wildflowers here.

I decided to head right down to the pond in search of the blue heron.

On the way down, there was a red-breasted grosbeak sitting on the fence by the soccer field. We haven't seen them in a while and I am so glad they are still there.

There were some joggers ahead of me and I was afraid their noise would frighten the heron, but I lucked out. There was a blue heron that was in several hunting positions - very entertaining to watch as well as a black crowned night heron. I think the black crowned heron sensed my presence and it flew to a tree at the far side of the pond. Later, another black crowned flew in which is the first time I've seen two there!!  Lots of mallards enjoying the low water level of the pond. The ducks could almost be heard eating and smacking and the blue heron was clearly catching fish very easily!

I took the trail that follows the Charles River which was pretty quiet except for a warbling vireo and up to the back of the gardens where I ran into a birding couple from Watertown. Together we saw some baby yellow warblers and two wren families busy feeding their babies. The bluebirds were busy attending to their second family in the house, but not sure what stage their at - maybe recent hatchlings? I think I saw the juvenile bluebird and it looked like something was wrong with one of it's eyes so not sure if it will make it to adulthood. That would be so sad. We also saw an oriole baby, goldfinches, robins and the usual.

Down in the lower gardens I'm sure I heard cedar waxwings but didn't see them, although I know the birding couple did. Also saw this bird. Can anyone identify it? I thought it might be a juvenile brown thrasher or flicker? because of its long beak. It had a little bit of white around it's wings and chest. Any ideas????

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quiet Day at the Park

I really went over today to look for the herons that we barely caught a glimpse of yesterday but this is what I saw instead!

Peter Gilmore has identified this for me as an American Toad. Isn't he beautiful?

Otherwise, all our regulars are out and about. Didn't see anything extraordinary, but this toad did make my day.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Everyone had the same idea. Beat the heat!

6:30 a.m. Barely perused the lower gardens on arrival. Our usual friends were there - house wrens, catbirds, song sparrows and robins but as I headed to the upper gardens, I came across the fawn that Duane had mentioned seeing. Here it is with it's mom. Had I not taken out my camera, I feel we could have stared at each other for a very long time, but the noise of the shutter spooked them and off they galloped making loud noises with their hooves.

At the edge of the upper gardens next to the meadow, I spotted Lucy, our special song sparrow with white on the wings singing away, which made me suspect that it's a male after all, but Lucy still seems like a good name for it.

Before I even had a chance to look at the birds, I was surprised to see a red fox ambling out from the woods at the top of the upper gardens. I think it saw me for it was very cautious and kept looking in my direction. I couldn't get too close for fear of sending it back to the woods, but I did manage to get a picture.

I saw that Ian had arrived and after a quick walk on the swamp path (which yielded only the song of the common yellowthroat and lots of mosquitos) met him down in the lower gardens. We went together back to the upper gardens where we saw Mrs. B in her box and Mr. B flying around. Eventually, they hung out together on the bare branch tree they seem to enjoy near the compost pile. We saw all our regular friends like the catbirds, song sparrows, goldfinches, yellow warblers etc.

We walked down to the soccer field where we heard the warbling vireo and saw a song sparrow and of course lots of robins. As we neared the pond, we inadvertently frightened the large blue heron and what Ian thought was most likely a green heron into the trees. I'm so glad the herons are here now. After walking down to the river and up through Woodcock meadow, we were hoping they might have resettled in the pond, but not today.

Back near the parking lot, we saw a chipping sparrow and a female cowbird hanging out on the rail of the chain link fence. By 8:00, the humidity was getting beastly. Queen Anne's lace is in full bloom, along with Black-Eyed Susans.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It looks like at least one Bluebird fledged this year! For comparison, check the photo at
I would say that the little face peaking out of the box belongs to juvenile bluebird, too, wouldn't you?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Perfect Summer Day!

Gorgeous day today at 6:45 a.m. Sunny and not too hot. The lower gardens were very busy with bird families. Saw robins, catbirds, song sparrows, yellow warblers, house wrens, tree swallows, barn swallows, chimney swifts, chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, downies and flickers.

As I was heading around the golf course side of the gardens, I heard a different sort of song and I thought it might be the red-eyed vireo. I couldn't see it, but it flew into another tree where I could get a really good look at it, and it was! They are quite beautiful, so soft and elegant.

The mulberry tree on the way to the upper gardens sported an Eastern kingbird which I also saw down near the soccer field later on.

The upper gardens were also full of activity. Someone unexpected is sitting in the previously occupied bluebird box (see pic above). Does anyone know who that is? It was too big for a  house wren. I honestly have no idea what it was.

I saw Mrs. Bluebird peeking out of the hole in the painted box that Hayne's mentioned on his blog entry and Mr. B. was looking for bugs on the ground with the same bird I had seen Mrs. B hanging out with (photographed on a previous blog entry). Not only did he forage with said bird, but they hung out in the nearby tree together as well. I had originally thought it was a sparrow friend and today I thought it was a female house finch, but not sure if this makes sense. Is it possible it is a young bluebird? I hope someone can help me identify this bluebird friend.