Sunday, February 5, 2012

8 Miles of Birding

I had a good chunk of a day and wanted to do a lot of local birding so I broke out my Newton Conservators Trail Guide to see what I could find. Looking at the map of Newton, the biggest stretch of green space quickly jumps out at you. Nahanton Park in Newton, Helen Heyn Riverway of Newton, Cutler Park in Needham, Millenium Park and Brooks Farm of West Roxbury. So I decided to make a hiking loop. Check out the Newton Conservators' website for maps of these areas.

I arrived at Nahanton at 9am and the day still had quite a chill to it. I was thinking that I had a ways to walk so I wouldn't spend too much time in this favorite haunt, but was quickly sidetracked in the lower gardens. Many of our usual friends were there but I kept seeing this sulker flush from the brush and fly to the opposite side. This bird had this warm reddish brown hue to it that made me think of a female cardinal, a fox sparrow, and hermit thrush. So I kept passing around the gardens, now actively trying to find this one elusive bird. I moved slower, carefully peering into the deep brush surrounding the gardens before a brief glimpse of an eye ring. Eventually our friend was curious about me and he came out from cover a little more.  When I saw his brown head and back, spotted breast, and the rufous tail. The game was up: a hermit thrush! My first of Massachusetts.

Now I really was behind schedule so I tried to pick up the pace as I took the path down to the river for a few geese and mallards (still no luck with the mergansers) and a quick and quite stroll around woodcock meadow.

At this point my fingers were quite cold as I walked to Nahanton St and crossed the river leaving Nahanton park behind. The middle section of this story will continue on our new blog "wild newton" designed to be a newton wide companion to nahanton park bird news.

Visit Wild Newton

When I finally crossed back into Nahanton park from the Helen Hyen Riverway I was quite behind schedule and didn't plan on stopping to bird at all. By the Nature Center tons of robins were flitting about then I passed onto the little trail that abuts the vernal pool and the fields. Just before the driveway the bird chatter picked up. It turned out to be two fearless Golden-crowned Kinglets, certainly the bird of the day, working the brush in an energetic chickadee like manner all the while flashing those golden crowns. What a way to end this adventure.

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