Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Day

Our Blue Heron
Arrived at the park a little before 7:00 a.m.It was 71 degrees and sunny. I thought it would be buggy as it had rained last night, but it wasn't bad at all. Was greeted by the call of the peewee coming from the JCC woods!

Quickly went straight to the pond in hopes of seeing the black-crowned night herons and sandpiper that Haynes saw on Thursday. No sign of them, but my friend the blue heron was there. I just love watching him wade through the water looking for fish. They move in slow motion and the way they pick up their large feet and place delicately place them in front as they move through the water is something to see.

Then I headed to the lower gardens. Saw robins, song sparrows, a female yellow warbler, house wren, catbirds, goldfinches, chickadees, blue jays and am now seeing some chimney swifts!

Queen Anee's Lace
Rose of Sharon
Walked up to the upper gardens where I hung out for quite a while. One gardener has planted some Rose of Sharons, which are stunningly beautiful right now. It happens to be one of my favorite flowers. The flowers right now are beautiful. There were gorgeous hollyhocks in a deep maroon color, huge sunflowers, purple phlox, bright orange mexican sunflowers and morning glories to name just a few. The Queen Anne's lace was in full bloom too. I tried growing it in my garden at home and while it is beautiful, it goes way too crazy in rich garden soil and I had to get rid of it.

One of the big treats in the upper gardens was a pair of barn swallows who were actually sitting still!!!!!! That is a rare sight. They seemed to be basking in the sun and were quite relaxed. They let me get pretty close.

Barn Swallow
Towards the back of the gardens, there was a lot of activity in the woods bordering the edge. Saw an oriole family, female, juvenile and dad, a common yellow throat male, downy woodpecker, male yellow warbler, song sparrows, cardinal, a warbling vireo (not warbling!) and some kind of a flycatcher. I watched it for the longest time and couldn't tell if it was a young phoebe, peewee or what. Didn't see any wingbars like the peewee but the head wasn't dark like the phoebe. That's why I was so confused.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nice morning!
Jul 28, 2011 7:15 AM - 9:15 AM
Comments: Sun, 68 deg, oc lt breeze.
25 species

Mallard 13
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2 - ad didn't move an inch, juv much more impatient
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Mourning Dove 3
Chimney Swift 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 m
Downy Woodpecker 4
Northern Flicker 5
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 3
Blue Jay 4
Black-capped Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 4
House Wren 6
Eastern Bluebird 1 song - near where they nested late in the season
American Robin 18
Gray Catbird 12
Northern Mockingbird 4 newly here
Yellow Warbler 6 interesting first prebasic molt
American Redstart 1 m
Common Yellowthroat 1
Song Sparrow 9
Baltimore Oriole 4
American Goldfinch 6

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sad Day for the Bluebirds

It turned out to be quite decent at 7:00 a.m. Warm but not hot and not humid yet. Best of all, the mosquitos weren't bad at all - quite a contrast to the last few weekends.

It was pretty quiet today. I was greeted at the lower gardens by a bubbling house wren, robins, song sparrows and lots of catbirds. I could hear the wood thrush from the woods near the JCC.

As I walked around the lower gardens I did manage to see a male and female yellow warbler as well as the female yellowthroat. I heard her husband somewhere but never did catch a glimpse of him.

Upper gardens were quiet too - mostly the same as the lower with a chickadee and bluejay thrown in.

I was in the parking lot heading down to the pond, when I saw a flash of blue and some very strange flying low to the ground. As I arrived, I saw the saddest sight. There was a bluebird laying on the ground looking dead. I was devastated. I found a little stick to see if it was alive and it flew off a short distance and sat up. Something was terribly wrong with it but I couldn't tell what. It's tail feathers looked bent off to the side. I wasn't sure what to do - whether I should take it home and see if there was any chance it could survive with some care or leave it to mother nature. I decided to walk to the pond and if it was still there, reconsider.

Down by the pond I saw quite a few mallards but also saw the female wood duck! That was a nice treat - however there didn't appear to be a male unless he was out of view.

On my way back to the parking lot, I looked for the bluebird and it was gone. I'm sure it will not make it and I think it was a female. I hope it found a cooler spot to rest. This has been a tough time for the bluebirds. Our expert Brian discovered that a house wren had punctured the five eggs the bluebirds had laid a few weeks ago and now the female is dying. I just felt sick. I may go back this afternoon and see if I can find it. Of course I'm hoping for some miraculous recovery.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blue Heron Back!

Blue Heron
62 degrees and sunny at the park this morning around 7:00 a.m. I ran into Ian in the upper gardens and we had a nice walk.

The lower gardens were quite quiet - in song and birds! Saw a few song sparrows, robin, baby robins and catbirds. I heard a yellow warbler and house wren but didn't see them. Ian saw a kingbird and one tree swallow.

On the path to the upper gardens I saw a chipping sparrow and then caught a brief glimpse of a warbling vireo of which it turned out there were two. One was stationed in the woods at the back of the upper gardens. Saw a flicker and another kingbird.

Down near the soccer field, we saw a house wren and a baby or two, a female yellow warbler and either a female or juvenile rose breasted grosbeak as well as an eastern phoebe.

In the pond was our statuesque blue heron. I am so happy it's back! We saw another female grosbeak in the woods and it was much crisper in its coloration, so we thought the one we saw at the soccer field was most likely a juvenile.

Walked through the meadow and the woods. We did hear a pee wee and some blue jays, but that was about it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Turkey Takeover!

Wild Turkeys
Imagine my surprise as I headed to the lower gardens and saw two large creatures coming up over the little hill. They walked closer and closer towards me and then headed to the meadow to see if there was anything good to eat.

It was 64 degrees and sunny this morning at 6:30 a.m. and this was such a fun wake up call! As I toured around the lower gardens, I saw mourning doves, robins, swallows, house wrens, bunnies, yellow warblers, song sparrows, catbirds, etc. I didn't see the bluebirds, but I sure hope they are nesting in the box.

House Wren
I've also checked out the cedar waxwing nest two weekends in a row and haven't seen them in there. I'm not sure if they ended up nesting there. Now it looks like the rains have partially ruined the nest. I saw a seagull fly overhead.

The upper gardens mirrored the lower gardens for the most part except for a warbling vireo which I caught a very brief glimpse of before it flew off. The house wren was going crazy singing and is now in the purple box - second brood or different house wren? Who knows. The gardens are looking great and some people have such beautiful flowers like the poppy pictured to left.
Down near the soccer field, I saw baby redwing blackbirds, a phoebe and lots of robins and some yellow warblers.

I was very excited to see that the pond had a beautiful black crowned night heron hanging out with the bullfrogs that scream and jump in the water as I approach. The wood thrush was everywhere and nowhere. I could hear it's beautiful song and just as I thought I might locate it, it would fly across the path to another part of the woods and start singing again.

Mother and father phoebe are off the nest and I'm assuming the babies have flown. Bunnies of every size were there today. Little ones, big ones etc. This one made me laugh. It was so tiny that at certain points it looked as if it was just a head in the tall grass. Hope our friend the blue heron will be back soon...