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.

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