Monday, December 26, 2011

Very Quiet at Park. Luckily, Had Some Turkey Fun!

It was 34 degrees at about 8:00 a.m. The meadow has now been mowed, but the park was very quiet today. All I saw were some robins, a cardinal couple, a few song sparrows, a junco, some geese flying and a seagull.

Therefore, I decided to pursue a new interest - a flock of wild turkeys that has been roosting in the trees on a street nearby. Since I recently saw the movie on Channel 2 "My Life As a Turkey" ( a documentary about Joe Hutto, a naturalist who raised a flock of 16 wild turkeys from egg to adulthood), I've been more and more curious about this local flock.

After leaving the park, I knew they would have left their roosts and wondered where they go during the day. Today, I discovered them in a Rachel Road resident's side yard. Here is a very short video of the turkeys.

video

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Bird Count

Richard, Haynes and Greg
Today was the Christmas Bird Count.!

We met at Chris' house at 7:00 a.m. Some of the group had already gone owling and had seen screech owls at Kennard Park. It always sounds so exciting, but I can't get myself up and out by 5:00 a.m. on these dark, freezing cold mornings. Some day, I'll get it together…

After coffee and delicious coffee cake, the birders broke into several groups and covered specific areas. I was in a group with Haynes, Richard and Greg.

Red-tail Hawk
It was only in the 20's but we held out for four hours of birding. We covered Kennard Park, Newton South, Hammond Pond and Houghton Gardens. We had a great time! I won't list all the birds we saw today because most of them were our regulars. However, we did see a nice red-tail hawk at Newton South, huddled in a tree. In fact several of the birds looked awfully cold - all puffed up and hanging out in trees and shrubs.

I would say our most exciting moment was when we arrived at Hammond Pond. I think it was Greg who spotted a blue heron. It turned out there were three of them! We also saw several hooded mergansers looking absolutely spectacular as well as a ring-necked duck and some gulls. We had seen one of the herons fly off and we discovered it later as we walked around the pond. It was looking very chilly on a tree branch. For us humans, the winds across the pond were almost unbearable. The woods were much more tolerable.

Chilly Blue Heron
In the Houghton Gardens area, we were pleased to see two hairy woodpeckers. Deeper in, Haynes pointed out a golden crowned kinglet flitting about and then a brown creeper that we were fortunate enough to have several good sightings of.

As we were leaving, I was happy to see all three herons together. Whether you're a bird or a birder, it's nice to have friends to hang out with on a day as cold as this.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gardening Season Officially Over

This friendly pumpkin was left
on a rock to greet people?
Arrived at the park around 8:15 a.m. It was 32 degrees and clear. Right away, I noticed that the gate to the gardens was closed and locked, marking the official end to the community gardening season.

The meadow has not been mowed as it usually is in November, even though we were informed it would be. Perhaps they are just late. I'm sure the birds are happy about the delay.

It was a pretty quiet day in general. Everything was covered in frost but slowly started melting as I walked around. I saw several house finches, juncos, goldfinches, robins, a few white throated sparrows, and some tree sparrows as well as a few chickadees.

Down by the river I saw two mallard couples reminding me that ducks can be really fun to watch for soon.

Got word today that the Christmas Bird Count will be December 18th. Stay tuned for more details.