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...