Sunday, April 28, 2013

Warblers Arriving!

47 degrees and sunny at 7:30 a.m. As I was gathering my camera and binoculars, Haynes pulled up.

The yellow warblers are back! There's nothing like the spring excitement of seeing new arrivals each week. A house wren sang prolifically in the upper gardens - the first of the season. Haynes saw a yellow rump in the lower gardens, which sadly, I missed. However, all was redeemed when we saw a whole flock of them down near the pond. They were spectacularly colorful with their bright black, white and yellow markings. We saw several blue-gray gnatcatchers in the back of the upper gardens.

As we stood on the dock with two fishermen, we heard a warbling vireo from across the river. A bird, on it's way down the flyway squawked loudly as we realized it was a kingfisher!

Come to Pete Gilmore's Bird Walk at Cold Spring Park this Saturday, May 4 at 8:00 a.m. Enter the park at the Beacon Street entrance. Turn left, and go to the far end of the parking lot to meet group. Hope to see you there!

Here's the official Haynes Report:

Canada Goose  4
Mallard  2
Mourning Dove  2
Belted Kingfisher  1     m
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  4
Eastern Phoebe  4
Warbling Vireo  1
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  1
Tree Swallow  12
Barn Swallow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  6
Tufted Titmouse  6
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
House Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3     together, behind the upper garden
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin  15
Yellow Warbler  4
Palm Warbler (Yellow)  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  8     incl flock of 6 near pond
Song Sparrow  10     quieter today
White-throated Sparrow  3     nature center
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  12
Common Grackle  4
Brown-headed Cowbird  4
American Goldfinch  8

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend Update

Ruby Crowned Kinglet
8:00 a.m. Sunny and cold at 37 degrees!

The swallows were already fighting over the new boxes that Brian put up Saturday! Real estate is a hot commodity this time of year.

Ruby Crown Visible
The lower gardens were filled with robins, cardinals, song sparrows and a mourning dove basking in the sun while perched on a tree branch. Saturday, Brian clued me in to a chorus of frogs singing down near the pond and today I heard them singing near the golf course. Two bright yellow and rufous palm warblers were turning over leaf litter in the scrub on the golf course side of the gardens. The warblers are arriving!  I wasn't there long when Ian and Jonathan turned up. Ian spotted a ruby crowned kinglet and it wasn't long before a second one appeared. A red tailed hawk soared overhead. Three cowbirds were hanging out in a tree.

Of course we were greeted immediately in the upper gardens by the tree swallows who always reserve the left-hand nest box at the top of the meadow. And while we stood there, the male bluebird appeared
looking ever so blue! There's something about them that just makes one feel so happy. We saw chickadees and titmice, seagulls flew overhead. Ian saw a lone junco. Between last weekend and this weekend, most of them seem to have left. Saturday, Mary Lou had pointed out a blue-gray gnatcatcher to Brian and myself at the back of the upper gardens, but unfortunately it was not to be seen today.

We took the path through the woods down to the soccer field. As we walked along the path, there were two tiny little birds high up in the trees. Turned out to be a couple of golden-crowned kinglets. How nice to see rubies and goldens in one day!

The little bloodroot colony was starting to bloom and we heard a red-bellied woodpecker calling. Down by the river we saw a goldfinch and Jonathan finally found the woodpecker we had been hearing. The phoebe's nest is all built so I was surprised when we couldn't find the male or female. Finally it was spotted on a branch near the nature center posing for the camera.

The daffies are the first blooming flowers at the park. Trees are starting to bloom as well. Looking forward to what next weekend will bring!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Arrival (Pine Warbler)!

Miniature Birdhouse
44 degrees at 7:30 a.m. Sunny and clear. As I drove down the driveway to the park, there were robins every where and juncos flitting here and there.

A pair of tree swallows were guarding one of the boxes by the path. Song sparrows were singing and blackbirds were calling. I was surprised to see an American Tree sparrow foraging in the meadow. Goldfinches are now bright yellow and several white throated sparrows hanging out in the trees. The male bluebird was perched nearby although I didn't see his mate.

Daffies in bud or bloom and little green leaves are starting to show on some of the shrubs and trees. So nice to see some color. It has been such a long winter.

The upper gardens revealed more robins and tree swallows, a flicker, a pair of phoebes and a pair of golden crowned kinglets. Gardeners have started prepping their gardens. I love the sight of freshly turned soil - the promise of delicious vegetables. Some cold weather crops have already been planted. Saw cardinals, chickadees, tufties, a nuthatch, and a downy.

Ran into Haynes and Ian when I returned to the lower gardens. They had heard the fox sparrow which later on I finally had the pleasure of hearing myself. What a beautiful song!

Red-backed Salamander
We walked down to the river where we saw three red-breasted merganser females - the light hitting their heads in such a way as to make the reddish color almost glow. Ian spotted a brown creeper across the river! Got a good look at one of our Nature Center phoebes. The nest from last year must have gotten blown off and work on a new nest hasn't started yet. It will be interesting to see if any progress has been made by next weekend.

We walked through the woods by the JCC in hopes that perhaps the pine warblers are back. We headed to the pines and we distinctly heard one. As we followed the sound, we discovered it was actually across Winchester St. and finally we saw it - a bright yellow! Though surrounded by pines, it was actually sitting on a bare branch which was how we finally were able to spot it. When we were almost to the parking lot, we lifted up the log where we found a salamander last year and there it was!

Below is the official Haynes Report!

Canada Goose  1
Mallard  4
Red-Breasted Merganser  3     f on river
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Herring Gull  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  4
Eastern Phoebe  1
Blue Jay  2
Tree Swallow  12
Black-capped Chickadee  8
Tufted Titmouse  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
Brown Creeper  1     across river
American Robin  24
Northern Mockingbird  1     lower garden
Pine Warbler  1     singing, JCC
American Tree Sparrow  2     Near lower garden, or lot.
Fox Sparrow (Red)  2     One singing lustily from treetop; another seen briefly near lower parking lot.
Song Sparrow  14
White-throated Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  25     Much song and chasing. Everywhere.
Red-winged Blackbird  10
Common Grackle  6
Brown-headed Cowbird  4
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  4
House Sparrow  1     JCC
Fish Crow 1 JCC

Monday, April 8, 2013

Phoebe Back!

34 degrees and sunny this Sunday at 8:00 a.m. I was greeted immediately as I walked from the lot to the lower gardens with this very vocal nuthatch and the swallows were already very involved in trying out both bird boxes at that location. There was quite a bit of song between the chickadees, cardinals, song sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, and robins. Some cowbirds were atop a nearby tree and goldfinches were halfway between winter and spring plumage. Excitement is definitely in the air!

New Sign
I was thrilled to see the bluebirds in the lower gardens for a change. The male and female were checking out a certain box. I felt certain that they had already decided on it, but when they left to do a little foraging, a tree swallow couple took over and did some investigating. Reminded me of some of the open houses in my neighborhood. Each couple trying to imagine whether it feels like their home or not.

I hope people notice that we now have a dog sign at each entrance of the park. I'm disappointed that the $50 fine isn't in writing, but at least this is a good start.

Tree Swallow
The upper gardens had the same cast of characters with a mourning dove thrown in and titmice calling from the woods near the swamp. I cut through the woods and down to the soccer field where I counted at least 44 robins! A lone white-throated sparrow sang from a tall tree which surprised me as I'm so used to seeing them in the leaves on the ground.

A large group of grackles were in a tree by the pond, but no sign of any ducks. A goose couple quietly paraded down the river and another group of cowbirds were perched in a tall tree.

I had run into Bev when I first arrived and she had asked if the Phoebes were back. I was sure they would be, but didn't see any near the Nature Center. Disappointed, I was about to leave Woodcock meadow, when I heard phoebe, phoebe and I suddenly realized this was no chickadee. I finally saw it in a tree, a blush of yellow on its sides. I think it's the first one back. Maybe next weekend it's mate will arrive!