Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jack Frost!

When I woke up this morning and looked out the window, I could see that Jack Frost had truly performed his magic.

I headed to the park at around 8:15 a.m. It was 31 degrees and sunny. All the leaves and grasses had white, frosty edges and the park had that feeling of a winter wonderland.

In the sunny areas, the frost was melting and the edge of the woods sounded as if it was alive with drips of water hitting the crunchy leaves as well as little birds foraging and squirrels cavorting around.

The first birds I came upon were a pair of American Tree sparrows. Song sparrows were busy exploring the grasses near the composting pile in search of delicious seeds. I caught a glimpse in the distance of what I thought was a goldfinch, but as I zoomed in for a closer look, I was surprised to see a Savannah sparrow. A blue jay screeched from the woods and juncos twittered in the gardens.

A flock of goldfinches had descended on the grasses near the soccer field and were busy eating seeds. I was surprised to see that the pond was actually frozen after only one really cold night! Woodcock meadow was pretty quiet except for a few robins.

CONGRATULATIONS to one of our fellow birdwatchers and creator of our sister blog "Wild Newton". Matt is now a dad, after his wife gave birth to a beautiful, baby boy named Benjamin on Tuesday, November 13th. Very exciting!!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Woodcock Meadow Cleanup a Great Success!

We couldn't have had better weather for a cleanup at Woodcock Meadow on Saturday. It was sunny and mild and we had a great turnout.

I'd like to thank all our generous and hardworking volunteers for an incredible job: Jane Sender, Bill Fenstenmacher, John Koot, Haynes Miller, Chris Hepburn, Sabrina Hepburn, Ian Reid, Bill Hagar, Duane Hillis and myself. Judy Dore from Newton Parks and Recreation showed up as well as Carol Schein to check in and see how it all was going which was really nice, especially considering Judy is just recovering from knee replacement surgery. Thanks to Bob DeRubeis and Carol Schein for making this possible and for sponsoring our dumpster. We are very appreciative.

Everyone accomplished so much, that the dumpster was full by the end of the day with white pine and cedar overflow in a large pile nearby. We got rid of some invasive buckthorn and a lot of unproductive crabapple as well as some cedars.

Since the dumpster is full, we have CANCELLED our volunteer day for Saturday, Nov. 17th. As this will be an ongoing project, we have learned from this experience and next year we will rent a chipper. It will be a lot more efficient.

In the afternoon, we saw a tiny palm warbler who seemed to enjoy watching us as it explored the meadow.

Mary Lou wrote me earlier this week to report a fox sparrow, swamp sparrow and at least six American tree sparrows!

I ran into her again today. I had been hearing Carolina wrens, but had not had any lucky seeing them. She located them this morning in the lower gardens and I finally got to see the feisty little things. They were very striking with their beautiful chocolate heads and the crisp, white eye stripe.

Otherwise, it was mostly our regulars. i.e., cardinals, robins, goldfinches, downy woodpeckers, house finches, song sparrows, white throated sparrows, tufted titmice, chickadees and dozens and dozens of juncos!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall bounty

Gathering bittersweet this morning, I found some nice late fall birds....

Canada Goose  6
Mallard  5
Red-shouldered Hawk  1    Still calling loudly from the riverside. This bird has been around since Oct 16 at least, but I have not yet actually seen it!
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  6
Black-capped Chickadee  3
Eastern Bluebird  3     m      Like christmas ornaments on trees at the triangle in front of lower garden.
American Robin  4
European Starling  5
Nashville Warbler  1     Bright individual, well seen, in weeds at back of upper garden.
Eastern Towhee  1     Heard and well seen male, at entrance to soccer field.
American Tree Sparrow  6
Song Sparrow  6
White-throated Sparrow  8
Dark-eyed Junco  10
Northern Cardinal  4
Common Grackle  1
American Goldfinch  6