Sunday, July 8, 2012

Youngsters everywhere...

Red Admiral
It was 70 degrees and sunny this morning at 7:00 a.m. A beautiful summer day. I was surprised to see two liatris flowers blooming in the meadow adding a touch of purple to the field of white. The spicy scent of the invasive artemsia perfumed the air.

As I entered the lower garden, I was immediately greeted by this red admiral butterfly as well as a few early morning gardeners. Song sparrows were out in force, many with their new babies, fresh out of the nest. Two or three cedar waxwings were in the Tree of Heaven, where I have been seeing them a lot. Our catbirds and robins made a good showing. The house wrens near the golf course were feeding their young in their house (2nd brood, I think). Yellow warblers were singing and a mourning dove, with its bright orange/red legs strutted around on the path. A family of house finches hung out together on a tree waiting for the return of their parents.

In the upper gardens, some goldfinches were conversing in the big mulberry tree. Towards the back of the gardens, I saw something flitting about in a tall shrub. First, I saw a bird that was black and white. I thought it was a black & white warbler, but then it sort of whinnied which made me think downy woodpecker. If it was a baby downy, it was very different looking than the parents, but that is totally possible I suppose. Then, I saw a flash of yellow, and a larger bird. Turned out there were at least two baby orioles being fed by mom. It was interesting, because mom almost looked like a juvenile oriole herself. They had the most unique little call to cry for food as they opened and closed their beaks! A peewee called from the woods and a little further around the bend was a yellow warbler family. The babies are outgrowing their gray feathers and turning much more yellow like the parents - not quite there yet though.

Morning Glories
As I explored the area near the soccer field, I saw the wild morning glories are in bloom (also known as bindweed). The beautiful bright orange, orchid-like blooms of the jewelweed plant (impatient family) have started blooming and are an attractive source of nectar for hummingbirds. I heard some chickadees and saw the male oriole.

Checked in on the pond inhabitants and saw a mallard mom with 4 babies. One however had similar markings, but very different coloration than the others. Instead of gray feathers, they were almost white. It looked like the baby Haynes and I had thought was a lone wood duckling last week. Now, I'm not sure what to  think…
Down by the river, I saw the phoebe flitting about it. Unbelievably, there is a third nest - the other broods having successfully fledged. I have to wonder if it is a third brood or if they are different parents… Whatever the case, this has been a great year for phoebes. It has been so hard in past years to see their nests and all their hard work thrown on the ground. The barn swallows that were trying to build a nest on a perpendicular side of the building have actually built a nest, but I didn't see them while I was there. Hope they didn't abandon ship.

Raccoon family
I heard a warbling vireo down by the river. As I turned around to leave the dock, I was most surprised to see a family of raccoons ( a mom and two babies) lumping across the parking lot towards the woods. I ran in hot pursuit and was only able to catch a brief glimpse - they were moving so quickly.

Indian Pipe
The woods near the parking lot had a few colonies of indian pipe in bloom. It's a plant that I will never forget from my early years at a camp in New Hampshire.

As we speak, fall walks are being organized. Stay tuned to the Friends of Nahanton Park website, where they will soon be posted!


  1. Suzette, I enjoyed reading your post. I felt as if I was on a walk with you. With your keen eye and excellent journaling, you reveal the hidden jewels of Nahanton Park.

  2. Sue, so great to hear from you. I wish we could go on a walk together. Do call next time you're up here!