Sunday, June 9, 2013

Short tailed weasels at Nahanton? You bet!

Common Yellowthroat
Got to the park early at 6:30 a.m. It was 58 degrees and pleasant.

Although it's not exactly a field full of color, the meadow is gaining wildflowers each week. The sunny yellow of the coreopsis is in bloom along with white fleabane and purple vetch. I was greeted in the lower gardens by robins, tree swallows (of course!), house wrens, mourning doves, song sparrows, yellow warblers, catbirds and a female oriole chasing a grackle. Maybe it got too close to her nest. The yellow warbler was in her nest, hidden in some scrub. All you could see was a little dark eye and beak poking out. Haynes and Ian showed up and we walked around together. The best sighting was not a bird, but a ferret (which Haynes identified later as a short-tailed weasel). It was quite small and colorful and fast as lightning. At first we thought it had caught some prey, as it had something the size of a large field mouse in it's mouth. It carried it from the scrub into the gardens and disappeared. As we stood in disbelief, it came back towards us and back into the scrub, reappearing with another bundle in its mouth. After several more times of this same pattern, we finally realized that it was moving it's babies to a new location! It's so fast, I couldn't get a picture, even though I stood with my camera at the ready.

Babies everywhere!
The white mulberry on the way to the upper gardens is starting to bear fruit. Just the beginning, but soon the birds will be gorging themselves, especially since the blue mulberry was taken down this spring.

It's baby time all over the park and in the upper gardens, it was apparent. There were baby robins learning how to forage. A yellow warbler was feeding her babies in the nest as we quietly watched in amazement. Even a baby bunny appeared and though it's hard to tell from this picture, it could not have been more than four inches long. It was hard to believe it was real! A common yellowthroat suddenly appeared near the birch tree in it's striking patterns. It chased a house wren around and around. A redwing blackbird flew overhead. We found the rose-breasted grosbeak nest incredibly difficult to see. She was in her nest and like the warblers, all you could see was her beak and distinctive white eye stripe. Ian spotted a hummer zipping by and it predictably flew to a bright red honeysuckle vine, dipping into each trumpet shaped flower. We could hear peewees calling from the woods.

Common Whitetail
As we headed to the soccer field, Haynes pointed out the chickadee nest in a very small dead trunk and Common Whitetail and is very common in North America. We got to see them going in and out to feed and check on their babies. We heard a warbling vireo and a common yellowthroat (pictured above). As we neared the pond, we heard a very loud, scratchy call that  we all agreed was some kind of heron. Haynes thought it was probably a black-crowned night heron, but when we got there, it was not to be seen. I've included a picture of a dragonfly that I saw the day before. It was quite eye catching. When I researched it, I discovered it is called the

The river was fairly quiet as was Woodcock meadow. The woods bordering the JCC were pretty quiet too, although we heard the red-bellied woodpecker, saw a pair of nuthatches and got a nice look at a peewee on a bare branch.

Additional sightings not mentioned above are pulled from Haynes' list for the day:

Empidonax sp.  1     Lower garden. Silent, brief look.
Eastern Phoebe  1
Eastern Kingbird  1
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Barn Swallow  4
Cedar Waxwing  5
Northern Cardinal  2     Feeding BHCO
Brown-headed Cowbird  5
House Finch  5
American Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  2     M and F in different locations; M again on empty box at upper garden

1 comment:

  1. Woah! really cool to hear about the weasel! What a find! Also I really like your yellow throat pictures, great colors.