Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bluebirds Still Around!

Ruby Throated Hummingbird
It was high 60's, overcast, humid and unbelievably buggy, which really wasn't a surprise on a day like today. I had been hoping for cool air and sun but it didn't happen.

The whole park was a lot quieter than last week, but still, I had a great sighting of this male hummingbird in the lower gardens. It was one of those rare opportunities where he actually was still for a few seconds. The house wrens are in and out of the box. I think some babies have left but maybe one or two aren't quite ready yet.

Wild Rose
There were robins, song sparrows, tree swallows, mourning doves, catbirds, titmice, yellow warblers and orioles. The best news being that eventually I saw the female bluebird near the parking lot and she flew into the box we saw her on last weekend. It really does look like they are going to nest but I don't want to get too excited.

Dead Baby Catbird
The upper gardens were very quiet. I ran into Ian later and we both saw young woodchucks running into the scrub only he saw the mother and the baby and he said the mother ditched the baby when she heard him coming! Saw this very sad sight of a baby catbird that was dead in the back of the lower gardens. Poor thing. I heard a warbling vireo in the woods. Saw a red wing blackbird and a phoebe doing all kinds of crazy acrobatics to catch an insect. The mulberry trees are blooming and catbirds and orioles families were hanging out partaking of the goodies.
Baby House Finch?

Heard the wood thrush in the woods near the soccer field and the frogs were singing away. Not a duck to be seen though. The river was quiet too - a few swallows, a cardinal and a kayaker.

On my way back to the car, I saw this bird and wonder if someone can identify it. It looked like possibly a juvenile house finch? This picture doesn't show it but it's breast was a little spotty.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A walk in the park

An enjoyable walk through the Park with Suzette, who took the photographs.

The birds are noticeably quieter than just a few days ago. There seem to be fewer Baltimore Orioles this year. Also no Northern Mockingbirds, and as far as I know no Cuckoos.

Mourning Dove 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1 M, perched in mulberry in upper garden
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Warbling Vireo 4
Red-eyed Vireo 3
American Crow 2
Tree Swallow 12
Barn Swallow 5
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 3 vocalizations including snore
House Wren 4
Eastern Bluebird 3 M, F, and Juv. Singing, bringing nest material to box (at entrance to
lower garden), and copulating in a tree.
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 15
Gray Catbird 8
Cedar Waxwing 3 Nest near boxes at lower garden being built
Yellow Warbler 8
Song Sparrow 8
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 12
Common Grackle 8
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Baltimore Oriole 6
American Goldfinch 3

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bluebirds of Happiness

Well, I couldn't wait to get to the park this morning after reading that Haynes had spotted the bluebirds. And who greeted me right away in the parking lot? The bluebirds! I saw them several times. They made a foray into the upper gardens and they were also exploring the boxes down near the parking lot. At one point I saw three birds, making me think that they were here all along, successfully had young but didn't use our boxes this spring. It looks like they might be considering a second brood…

Cedar Waxwing
It was overcast and in the upper 60's this morning and the lower gardens were so active that I spent most of my time there. House wrens were singing away as well as song sparrows, yellow warblers and a common yellow throat that I had a great view of  - surprisingly high up in a tree. He was very active and I saw him chase a large robin around! As I rounded the corner near the golf course side, I heard a lot of baby begging noises. I tried to get a closer look and suddenly there were cedar waxwings and then I remembered there high pitched chittering noises. One couple is building a nest not far from the wren box. I watched her with plant material in her beak as she placed it and then tried out the nest to see if it was coming along to her satisfaction. It looks as though the yellow warblers are considering another family as I spotted this one (pictured left) with nesting material in it's beak as well.
Warbler with nesting material

The upper gardens were filled with catbird families and a house wren family in one of the boxes. The poor parents were taking turns finding insects and bringing them back to their noisy crew. Saw a pair of mourning doves and a female cowbird. Baltimore orioles were out in full force and I saw some young ones as their black hoods were rather spotty.
Then I ran into Mary Lou and we saw a peewee (feel free to correct me if you think we were wrong) sitting on a fence right in front of us. She tried to get it to vocalize by whistling but it wasn't the least bit interested.

The pond was quiet except for some mallards diving in the middle. Could hear the wood thrush, but didn't have the luxury of seeing him today. The phoebe is still on her nest at the Nature Center and I heard the great crested flycatcher in the woods near the JCC.

Ran into some walkers at the park who saw a beautiful blue bird. After we looked at pictures of the bluebirds and the tree swallows they were almost certain it looked most like an indigo bunting. I certainly didn't see it,but I know they've been seen at the park. Who knows… That would be cool though.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nice to see Eastern Bluebird back at this site,
after being absent since early spring.
Amazing density of Wood Thrush!

Jun 16, 2011 7:20 AM - 9:00 AM

Wild Turkey 1 f, upper garden
Mourning Dove 6
Chimney Swift 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1 quick song
Eastern Phoebe 1 nest at center
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
Eastern Kingbird 1
Warbling Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 2
Tree Swallow 14
Barn Swallow 4
Black-capped Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 4
Eastern Bluebird 1 male, at box, singing
Wood Thrush 6
American Robin 14
Gray Catbird 12
Yellow Warbler 10
Song Sparrow 7
Northern Cardinal 4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2 m feeding juv, path by pond
Red-winged Blackbird 6
Common Grackle 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Baltimore Oriole 7
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 2

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gray Day...

It was overcast today and a little drizzly and cool - in the 60's. 

The birds are so much like us - they definitely seem more upbeat on sunny days. The lower gardens had most of our regulars: goldfinches, song sparrows, tree swallows, yellow warblers, robins, catbirds, orioles and a couple of rabbits. I was very excited when out of some bushes a tiny little ruby throated male hummer flew right at me and I had a great view of his bright red throat! The invasive wild roses were blooming along with some beautiful pink native roses and there was a luscious fragrance in the air.

Tree Swallow Looking like a Penguin
The upper gardens seemed rather quiet  today with house wrens, titmice, robins and others. I couldn't help but take a picture of this tree swallow (to right) sitting on its box. Photographing it head on, it reminded me of a tiny penguin, so I felt compelled to add a little bow tie to its photo.

Down near the river I was surprised to see a wood thrush foraging in some brush. I hope it's in breeding mode. Saw and heard our warbling vireo singing again but the leaves now obliterate the view of the nest. It appears as if the phoebe is nesting again at the Nature Center and I hope her first brood was successful. The morning dove is not on its nest anymore down near the dock and the clump of twigs is sort of falling down out of the tree. Maybe it wasn't a great spot after all.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our Very Own Migrant Has Returned - Haynes is Back!

Baby Robin Waiting for Food!
Gorgeous day today! 53 degrees and sunny at 7:00 a.m. As I drove in, I could see that Haynes was back and checking everything out. He's been gone for a month!

I caught up with him and we walked up the path to the upper gardens. We caught a glimpse of a couple of deer. Lots of yellow warblers chasing each other around and hummingbirds. Saw that chickadees have nested in the box closest to the path. Guess the tree swallows are done for the season. Haynes saw nesting house wrens in the lower gardens.
Scarlet Tanager

We heard a warbling vireo, saw tree swallows, goldfinches, wrens, a common yellow throat, orioles, catbirds and Haynes heard the red eyed vireo. There was much excitement and discussion with another birder about a flycatcher and whether it was a willow, yellow bellied or least flycatcher. It was finally decided that it was most likely a least flycatcher.
Lady Slipper Orchid
Down by the river we saw the morning dove still sitting on its nest over the dock. It looks as though the phoebe babies have flown the coop successfully as the nest is now empty. We saw a warbling vireo in its nest high up in a tree on the edge of the river bank. Haynes showed me an area in front of the Nature Center where he had seen a snapping turtle laying its eggs!

We walked through the woods to the JCC and discovered a colony of lady slippers! I had no idea we had them growing in these woods (we found another colony next to the JCC parking lot where we also heard pine warblers). We got a great look at a scarlet tanager high up in a tree. Sorry that my picture doesn't do it justice, but hopefully you will see the flash of his striking red color as he sang his heart out. Also, heard the pee wees.