Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring has sprung! Migrants arriving!

Tired Tree Swallow?
At 8:00 a.m., it was sunny with a clear blue sky and about 33 degrees. There was still some  crunch snow on the ground, but quite a bit has melted.

As I walked to the lower gardens I could hear a lot of song! I was greeted immediately by a cardinal on a tree, his breast glowing a blazing red-orange as the sun shone directly on him and he sang his purdy, purdy, purdy song. The song sparrows were perched in various locations singing as well. In the crab apple tree center stage, I heard a funny song. At first I thought it was some time of blackbird, but it turned out to be a pair of cowbirds! For some reason I was surprised to see them so early, but when I ran into Mary Lou and Jonathan a little later, I found out they have been seen already. A mourning dove was perched in a tree near the golf course side and juncos were chasing each other all over. They seemed very playful and excited like when they first arrive in the fall. I think they must be getting ready to leave soon… Geese still flying back and forth over the park. They are so very active.

That sun feels good!
A red-winged blackbird flew overhead as I headed to the upper gardens. In the woods by the swamp area, were tufted titmice and several chickadees. A brown creeper was combing one of the tree trunks right in front of me. As I walked through the gardens, I happened upon a tree swallow (pictured above_ resting on this branch. It was all alone and wouldn't budge for ages as well as letting me get fairly close to take a picture. Mary Lou thought he must be tired from a long migration! There were more cowbirds up here - at least seven - most of them males chasing a lone female. A couple of robins were basking in the sun.

Down by the soccer field we saw four nuthatches flitting around together. Two couples? A goldfinch called from a nearby tree. The pond is no longer frozen and 4-5 mallards were at the far end. There were at least three males, a female and a black duck. It looked like the same grouping I had seen on the river a few weeks ago. The males were in their bright, breeding plumage with their beautiful iridescent green heads.

Sadly, we have been informed that the City feels the mulberry tree in the upper gardens that the birds love so much is beyond it's life and must come down. New trees will be planted around the park this spring which is very exciting and we're hoping that mulberry can be replaced with another mulberry. However, in the event that they can't find one, Duane Hillis (President of Friends of Nahanton Park) and park neighbor has encouraged us to go up there and take a cutting. Apparently they are quite easy to start. Check out this video.

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