Monday, August 29, 2011

Nahanton After Irene

Red Tailed Hawk
After reading about all the rarities on MassBird and the eBird article on birds that might show up following the storm. I thought I might run down to Nahanton this morning (9am) to check out the damage and see what I could find. The cloudless blue sky was quite dazzling, with many more gulls circling over head than usual. But for the most part it was just our usual friends. There are a number of downed branches and the path to the pond is now blocked by a fallen tree so I only got faint glimpses there. But the most exciting birds this morning were the red-tailed hawks. A couple were circling over head, but one (juvenile?) was sitting in the middle of the upper garden while the gardener of the plot was working on the fence unaware of his audience!
Gardener Unaware of Large Visitor!
This hawk must have been pretty tired after the storm to tolerate people so close. I actually mistook him for a fake owl at first. Hope everyone fared well during the storm.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In Search of the Chestnut-sided Warbler

Donna's Garden
O.K. I admit it. I really wish I had seen the Chestnut-sided warbler that Bev saw yesterday so I went back to the park this morning. Unfortunately, I never did see it.

I meant to mention yesterday, that the grapes are out and that should be attracting various birds.

Today, I will only mention what I didn't see yesterday which includes: a foraging deer, chimney swifts, three hummingbirds, a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers, cedar waxwings, mourning doves, house finches and a family of chipping sparrows.

We have some exciting fall birdwalks scheduled at the park and more to come. Check out the new listings at:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mushroom Mania!

It's been so rainy and moist the last week or two , that I guess it was no surprise to see lots of mushrooms today, but I was struck by their variety and beauty!

The lower gardens were unusually quiet today. All I managed to see were a myriad of very wet and sorry looking song sparrows, a blue jay, an oriole, robins and mockingbirds.

The upper gardens were a little more productive. I ran into Mary Lou and Tess, and eventually Bev. Mary Lou and I had some excellent sightings of female yellow throats, female yellow warbler and best of all a confirmed sighting of a Nashville warbler! A red-eyed vireo was heard but not seen. Otherwise it was mostly catbirds, female red-winged blackbirds, song sparrows, goldfinches, a house wren, cardinal and a peewee calling from the adjacent woods. Mary Lou introduced me to the "puffball" an amazing mushroom type fungus, that is basically a white ball shape with no stem that comes in a variety of sizes from small to very large! Apparently they are edible and quite tasty when sauteed in butter.

We were hoping to see the herons in the pond, but it was not meant to be. Down by the river were titmice and lots of chickadees as well as a flicker.

The meadow is beautiful right now with cosmos in white, pink and dark pink. Wouldn't it be great if they came back next year?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In Search of a Summer Song

On Friday the 12th I arrived at Nahanton a little before 7am to find a song that would exemplify the summer at Nahanton. I was also hoping I might catch a night heron or sandpiper in the pond first. As soon as my car door opened, goldfinches flitted overhead, twittering while a Downy's rattle came from the woods followed by the plaintive "pee-a-wee" of the Wood-Pewee floated by. I made my way across the soccer field with a barn swallow for company and a Yellowthroat was sulking in the brush. Though the pond was empty I saw what looked like a small heron flying up into a tree. I circled around to get a better view while a Baltimore Orioles clear song was floating over the trees before I managed to find the heron silhouetted in the trees (picture) I kept circling so the sun wasn't behind it until it dissolved into the Green Heron, while not what I was looking for, a Heron in a tree is always an amusing sight. Just then a high thin "tee-see tee-see tee-see" came from just a few yards to the right of the heron and cued me into the Black-and-White Warbler scouring the tree branches for insects. I headed on my walk to find the river very quiet and just a few robins in woodcock meadow before heading into the woods. For a little while a robin and the mosquitoes were the only songs I heard before a "pee-a-wee" filtered through the woods. I managed to position my self right under one singing Pewee before it dawned on me the the Eastern Wood-Pewee was a perfect summer song! While the visual the Pewee can be a little drab gray bird with two wing-bars but with such a distinctive song where he tells us his own name "pee-a-wee" makes him a stalwart of the deciduous forest. Not to mention as a flycatcher, the Pewee is a superb flier. I continued my walk but it seemed at ever turn there was the Pewee song, or a Pewee sitting on an exposed branch, hawking flying insects by darting out and after some mid-air acrobatics returning to the previous perch. While watching such flying skill was enjoyable, it made taking a picture near impossible, but it was a summer song I wanted most.

Image 1: Green Heron
Image 2: Baltimore Oriole taking a bath
Image 3: Red Admiral butterfly

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beautiful morning walk, with Suzette...

Red-tailed Hawk 1 ad
Mourning Dove 2
Chimney Swift 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3
Blue Jay 6
Black-capped Chickadee 8
Tufted Titmouse 6
House Wren 2
American Robin 12
Northern Mockingbird 4
Blue-winged Warbler 1 back of upper garden
Common Yellowthroat 2
Yellow Warbler 3
Northern Cardinal 4
Common Grackle 1
House Finch 4
American Goldfinch 6
Morning Glory, Dragonfly, Sunflower and Goldfinch
by Suzette