Friday, June 29, 2012

Song of the Common Yellowthroat

I was going through my bird song recordings from this spring and ran across a great recording of a common yellowthroat from my last walk at Nahanton. While there are two other warblers in the recordings, the common yellowthroat takes center stage.

I was in the lower gardens and spent about 15 minutes trying in vain to get a recording of the ovenbird when I grew frustrated and chose to move on. In the far corner of the gardens the rolling "witchity-witchity-witchity" alerted me to the common yellowthroat. He was hiding deep in the tangled woods and brush, but his voice was loud and clear. So I caught this recording and then tried to "pish" him out into the open. I generally dislike disturbing birds, so I try to "pish" only on occasion and never play recorded songs to lure birds in. He popped up and I got some great recordings, but unfortunately he behaved like a typical warbler flitting from branch to branch making it very hard to get a picture. I know that the yellow warblers breed in Newton, but I'm pretty sure that common yellowthroats do as well, given their sightings during the warmer months. They tend to love wet thickets and grassy areas and like to stay in the underbrush. As our second most common warbler, they are a familiar sight at Nahanton and the males thick black mask and yellow throat makes him instantly recognizable.

Ironically, I later realized that the ovenbird I was trying to record before actually gave a few of his "teacher-teacher-teacher" notes at 7 and 45 second marks. Also yellow warblers are hear throughout the background.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Meadow Slowly Recovers

Black Eyed Susan
61 degrees and sunny on Sunday.

Not much to report, but black-eyed Susans are now blooming in the meadow! Did they come by themselves or did they grow from seeds that Donna spread around? We'll never know, but they are adding some much needed color.

Lots of house wrens - some on second broods and others on their first. Our regulars are in full attendance: robins, song sparrows, yellow warblers, catbirds, house finches, red-wing blackbirds etc. The numbers of tree swallows seems to have lessened unless that is my imagination.

I saw the phoebe down by the river, but have a feeling that her babies have left the nest now. I'm so excited that they seem to have successfully reared two broods. On leaving the park, I encountered 4-5 wild turkeys. There's something about them that always makes me chuckle.

A black bear seen on the cape has now passed from Medfield to Dedham to the Newton/Needham line near Nahanton (last seen on 2nd Ave.). Will it make it's way to Nahanton?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mulberry Madness

Double-decker swallow babies
It's been quite cool for the last week or so and today was no exception. It was 57 degrees at 7:15 a.m. but I'm a fan of this type of weather.

The park has generally been rather quiet as the birds have been nesting and here is the perfect example. I was greeted by these double-decker tree swallow babies waiting for tasty treats from mom or dad. They were rewarded shortly after taking this picture.
Yellow warbler baby

The main attraction today was the mulberry tree situated on the path from the lower to the upper gardens. The white fruit is out. It's like a new restaurant opened up and everyone had to try it out. First, I saw a strange looking little bird - mostly gray with a bright yellow tail. I thought it might be a yellow warbler baby, but wasn't quite sure. Luckily, mom or dad showed up to feed it, so it was definitely confirmed as a yellow warbler. Among the steady customers at the new Mulberry Cafe, were catbirds, robins, goldfinches, cedar waxwings and several greedy chipmunks.

Rose-breasted grosbeak female

All our regulars were in attendance between the upper and lower gardens. A few blue jays, lots of song sparrows, tree swallows, a cardinal, and a house finch family.

On the path by the soccer field, I had a close encounter with a female grosbeak which I have to assume means she is breeding here at Nahanton. I remember when we saw the babies towards the end of the summer last year and I hope we see them again!

Two baby phoebes were looking rather plump in their nest and crying for their food with large, open beaks. That means that this year, both broods were successful!

Other birds seen or heard include a baltimore oriole, nuthatch, red winged blackbird, red-bellied wood pecker, flicker, mourning doves and a rough winged swallow.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Very Sweet!

Yellow Warbler
58 degrees this morning and sunny - a lovely morning at 6:15 a.m.

As I drove down the driveway, a deer jumped across the road and it all happened so fast, I only caught a glimpse of it's hind quarters and a flash of it's white tail!

I decided to head to the upper gardens first. The wildflowers in the meadow improve weekly. Today some bright yellow coreopsis were in bloom along with some white campion, purple vetch and the white fleabane.

In addition to other house wren families nearby, a pair I've been watching have finally moved in to the house next to the tree swallows as you walk the path to the lower gardens. They were very busy taking turns piling in the nesting material.

Tree swallows are feeding their young. Robins and catbirds abound as well as goldfinches, song sparrows and yellow warblers. I saw a family of Baltimore orioles in the upper gardens. The young brother and sister were still with their parents in a tall tree at the back of the gardens. A brightly colored red winged blackbird was extremely vocal.

Wild Rose
The vegetable gardens everywhere are looking incredible. The gardeners have put in so much work and so far, it looks like it's going to be a great season for them. The lettuce looks healthy and full, carrot foliage is looking strong, pea plants are as high as people's fences and the tomatoes are bulking up and looking strong. All the rain we had last week, combined with the sunny weekend is sure to add inches to everything!

Caught in the act!
Didn't see a whole lot today in the lower gardens. Saw a family of yellow warblers, several cowbirds and a barn swallow as well as our regulars. My favorite wild roses are blooming. The color of the pink is just glorious.

Heard a peewee calling from the woods as I headed down to the pond. Across the river was a lone cedar waxwing high up in a tree. This baby rabbit was caught red-handed. Luckily for the gardeners, it was in a weed patch near the river and was very happy with a plantain leaf.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Very Quiet...

Aquilegia (Columbine)
The temperature was a little cool this morning at 57 degrees, but it wasn't raining, so I decided to head to the park for a nice walk.

It's fairly quiet over there as the birds attend to their parental duties. Saw most of our summer regulars including, of course, the tree swallows, a few barn swallows, robins, titmice, mourning doves, song sparrows, cow birds, blackbirds, grackles, yellow warblers, cat birds etc. Saw two cedar waxwings sitting in a tree looking very elegant. Their coloring is one of those miracles of nature.

The house wren family, in the bird box on the golf course side of the lower gardens, have babies that are quite vocal now. It made me laugh to hear them. Mom or Dad came back with some goodies and they were so excited.

I've been checking the meadow out each week to see if more wildflowers are coming back and today I saw purple dames rocket, fleabane and yellow coreopsis blooming. Not a lot, but it's something.

Canadian geese family
It seems like the upper gardens have been extraordinarily quiet compared to other years. I could hear a warbling vireo, but never caught a glimpse. Some goldfinches were hanging out, the tree swallows were in abundance and I could hear a flicker, some chickadees and more house wrens. Two cormorants flew overhead.

Down by the river, the phoebe still sits on her second nest while Canadian geese families glide down the river for a Sunday outing. I saw two families together today - one with two babies and one with three.