Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bird Walk with Alison Leary and Haynes Miller

Bird Walk Group
I got to the park early in hopes of seeing some of the exciting warblers that I've heard have been passing through during the week.

As I drove slowly down to the parking area, I saw what I thought was an unleashed dog a distance away near the far end of the meadow. On closer inspection, I discovered it was a young deer. I must have been heard because all of a sudden, three deer went leaping through the meadow, their white tails flashing, and entered the woods heading to the swamp. I'm always happy to see the deer.

I only  had a few minutes in the lower gardens before Haynes arrived. The only warblers I saw were two common yellow-throated females in a favorite brush pile. Haynes and I walked around a little and then headed to the Nahanton Street entrance.

Eventually, we had a group of 9 which is pretty good considering the gray day quickly turned to drizzle and then outright rain.

Near the river we saw a couple of titmice and an eastern phoebe. A mourning dove flew overhead. We looked for the solitary sandpiper in the pond and couldn't see it, but on a 2nd trip we finally saw it - very hard to see on a gray day. So, our friend is still satisfied with the pond pickin's! Five flickers were seen in Woodcock meadow and at some point three mallards were seen, but not in the pond, so they must have been flying overhead.

The lower gardens were the most productive area of a raw, rainy day. Some saw a red-eyed vireo near the compost piles. We saw song sparrows, white throated sparrows, lots of delightful chipping sparrows  dipping and diving and chasing each other and swamp sparrows. The goldfinches were out in full force, some of them feeding babies who were frantically flapping their wings and crying for food. Blue jays, cardinals, robins, catbirds and chickadees were out in decent numbers and a flock of approx. 300 grackles few overhead near the soccer field. A white-breasted nuthatch was heard. We were surprised to see two dark-eyed juncos so early in the season. They're probably passing through. Our overwintering flock should be arriving in the next month or so.

An indigo bunting female perched on some piping without a hint of blue on a feather. This is when it's great to be around expert birders who can identify fall birds with some of their strange colorations. Alison thought she saw a clay colored sparrow which Haynes had been told was there. I saw it too, but just for a fleeting glance. It was hard to confirm, but luckily, Haynes had to return to the park later in the afternoon and there it was! A definitive sighting! We don't see too many at Nahanton.

It was a fun walk. Check out other bird walks scheduled for October 8, 13, and 14th.

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