Sunday, April 3, 2011

Eastern Phoebes Back!

Eastern Phoebe
Well, we were promised a nice weekend and it turned out to be as predicted. It was only 38 degrees when I arrived at 7:00 a.m., but it didn't feel too bad.

The river at first seemed pretty quiet, but the longer I stayed, the more I saw and heard. Of course there were robins and blue jays and as I stood on the dock I saw some ducks in the distance and I thought I saw a teal. So I walked along the path and finally saw the teal hanging out with some mallards and geese. It didn't seem to be part of a couple and it turned out to be a green winged teal which I, personally haven't seen before down here (have seen them other places) so that was kind of fun.

Checking out last years nest
As I was heading back, I saw a dark brown creature swimming by the edge of the river. It was the exact same color as the creature I had seen a few weeks ago so I don't know if it was the otter, a muskrat or what and I have a very poor picture in case someone else can figure it out. It's all so mysterious that I feel like I'm trying to capture the Lochness monster or something. Heard the red bellied woodpecker and saw some chickadees on my way back and as I stood on the dock a second time I heard a very persistent phoebe call and I suddenly realized this wasn't chickadees. It must be the Eastern phoebe is back! I looked all around and I finally saw it high in a tree. It seemed very excited and was flying all around the Nature Center and then all of a sudden there were two! and they were chasing each other and checking out both the nests. I feel like they just arrived and had to make sure everything was where it should be. It was then that I ran into Ian, only they totally disappeared and we could only hear them from across the river.

Meanwhile, in the upper and lower gardens were our regulars including cowbirds, jays, robins, juncos, goldfinches, cardinals, crows, chickadees, song sparrows and a mourning dove. I did see two blue herons flying overhead squawking loudly in flight. Ran into a man who had seen the bluebirds in the upper gardens but I checked twice and didn't see them and neither did Ian. It's amazing how they're there one minute and then they just vanish.


  1. Hi Suzette,
    I was checking out the blog early this morning and it inspired me to make Nahanton my desination. I also had the pleasure of finding one of the pheobes this morning! I did want to ask a question. Are the woodcocks difficult to find? I'm hoping to try and catch a dusk display when I can.

  2. HI Matt! Are you the one I ran into in the upper gardens?

    At any rate, the woodcocks usually are not hard to find. If you go to the hill (Woodcock meadow) behind the Nature Center at the Nahanton St. Entrance around 7:00-7:15 p.m., you might not see them on the ground, but you should hopefully hear them. They make a very loud buzzy peeeeeent sound just as dusk starts. Then, when they fly up in the sky for their courtship dance, you might see them then. Sometimes they fly right by you or land near you although it gets too dark to see well. It really is the coolest thing.

    I saw them March 17 and then the following week so I think they are coming close to the end of their courtships which I've been told go until mid April or so.

    Let me know how it goes! I hope you see them!

  3. Green-winged Teal is an excellent bird, Suzette! I don't think I have seen one at the Park. I had two Golden Kinglets in the woods this morning. The Tree Swallows are back in force, and I did not see the Bluebirds. The city had an enormous chipper at work in the upper lot, banging the tree in which I saw the Screech-owl the other day. It seemed they were carting the wood chips away, not spreading them on the paths in the park.

  4. Hi Suzette,
    Thanks for the information. I made it out yesterday evening arriving just at 7:30pm and thought I might have been too late with just some canada geese, robins, grackles, and cardinals. But just as the robins quieted down the woodcocks made their appearance! It was awesome. A few minutes later a ran into another birder who came out so see them as well.

    And I think I may have run into you in the upper gardens, given your blog contributions and the camera! But yeah I was wearing a green jacket. Hopefully I'll get to meet some more birders there again soon.