Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Nice, Soaking Rain, Finally!

After lamenting yesterday about the lack of rain we've had and how everyone's garden could use a nice rain - it finally happened at about 5:00 p.m. last night. It rained for several hours and I believe every plant is breathing a huge sigh of relief, and every gardener is thrilled not to have to water for at least one day!

Female Yellow Throat
It was 67 degrees this morning at about 9:00 a.m. and cloudy. The lower gardens were pretty busy - way busier than the upper gardens. Robins were fluttering their wings as they took turns bathing in various puddles while family members looked on. There were several mourning doves either perched or on the ground meandering about. I heard the call of a yellow warbler but never saw it. Unfortunately, there was a male house sparrow in the tree in the center of the gardens. I always hope they are passing through and don't settle at the park. A small bird appeared very close to where I was standing. It was the cutest female yellow throat. Then I think I saw another, but it quickly disappeared into the brush. All in all, I ended up seeing them all over the park - more than I've ever seen there, but never saw the zorro-like masked bandit male that is so striking.

Queen Anne's Lace
Towards the golf course side of the lower gardens there was a shrub filled with catbirds and their young, but also skulking around in there was a young cardinal. I'm sure it was going to be a male and he was at that awkward juvenile stage of having a few scruffy patches of red feathers starting to emerge from his  baby brownish red feathers. A female baltimore oriole flew by and then I caught a glimpse of a vireo. I know it wasn't the red eyed vireo, but I couldn't quite decide if it was the warbling vireo or some other kind. A goldfinch with its funny flight pattern was talking as it flew overhead.

Some form of Smartweed?
The upper gardens were rather quiet, save for some song sparrows and some very vocal house wrens. The sundrops are blooming towards the back and the flowers people have in their gardens are gorgeous (see dahlia at top left). I then cut through the woods and headed down to the soccer field.

Spotted or Solitary?
By the side of the pond was a mallard mom and a couple of babies which are now quite grown up looking and a green heron on a log. Then I noticed a sandpiper which was interesting as Matt had recently seen one and had posted it on his blog Wild Newton. I thought it was the solitary sandpiper, but after reading his blog and how hard it is to differentiate, I am not entirely sure. If anyone can tell from this photo, please let me know. It's legs are definitely yellowish, but It didn't really have spots on its breast. I could hear peewees calling from the woods nearby.

I quickly checked out the river and the nature center. The nests are still there, but didn't see either the barn swallow mom or the phoebe mom on their nests at that moment, however, on my return through the soccer field to the parking lot, I did see a whole family of phoebes and another yellow throat female.

Postscript: I was back at the park in the afternoon for a meeting about Woodcock Meadow. At the end of the meeting we all walked over to the pond to see if the sandpiper was there. No sign of it, but instead we saw a Great white egret!


  1. Hi Suzette,

    Great finds for one day, lots of waders. I only see one ebird record for Nahanton Park for a great egret from haynes a few years back (and none at hammond pond).
    I think you are right about the sandpiper. Looks like a solitary to me. The white spots on the brown back are what convince me the most. This one also looks like it has an eye-ring and not an eye-stripe like a spotted.

  2. Thanks Matt. I did feel like it had an eye ring. Interesting about Haynes' great egret. When he gets back, I'm going to ask him about it, because in four years, I have never come upon the great white in the pond. I was so excited.

  3. Hi Suzette,

    The unknown flower could be a Polygonum species, a member of the smartweed family.