Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekend Update

I knew it was going to be a brutal weekend, so went early both days, but apparently not early enough to run into Haynes (see previous entry). I did run into Mary Lou Saturday, and we walked around together.

We saw a couple of Eastern kingbirds in the lower gardens which were my first of the season. Our usuals were out in full force - mourning doves, tree swallows, robins, house wrens, song sparrows etc. There's a yellow warbler nest in the lower gardens I've been keeping an eye on. Mom sits in the deep nest and just the tippy top of her head was showing with her little eye and beak. Also had a nice look at a common yellowthroat male in a shrub near the compost piles.

I love it when the wild roses are blooming. Their deep pink color is so striking against the yellow green foliage. What a feast for the eyes! Since the meadow and it's invasive artemisia is always a topic of discussion, I like to see what wildflowers there might be. Saw some ox eye daisies, purple dames rocket and pink clover.

There's another yellow warbler nest in the upper gardens and I wonder if this couple is new at this. There's is out in plain view and I never see them in the nest. They always seem to be nearby though. I wasn't sure if the warbler at left was a baby flapping it's wings for food or an adult stretching. We saw some titmice, house wrens, catbirds, more swallows, orioles, and a red wing blackbird flying overhead.

Heading down the path through the woods we had a nice look at a red eyed vireo. It either had food or nesting material. We weren't sure which. I think I saw little phoebe heads just barely poking up over the top of their nest. A warbling vireo was calling, but couldn't be seen. I see that Haynes has found it's nest though. I saw a downy fly into a hole in a dead tree across the river. Definitely a nest in there.

We walked through the woods by the JCC. I was looking for lady slippers and Mary Lou was hoping for a scarlet tanager and we found both as well as peewees calling back and forth and several wood thrushes singing. Sadly, we never did get to see the scarlet tanager. It sang for the longest time and we knew it was right above us and yet we just couldn't see it. However, this raccoon resting high in a tree branch was some consolation!

I didn't see any lady slippers where we had seen them last year, but finally, as we got closer to the parking lot, we found a couple that were just barely still in bloom. They probably had bloomed the week before. After the rain and heat, they were a little sad and pale looking, but nonetheless, a magical sight. I see that Matt found some too and has posted beautiful pictures on his blog Wild Newton as well as really interesting information about how lady slippers get pollinated. Check it out!

Back at the parking lot, I saw some cowbirds. Wonder whose nest they have chosen to lay their eggs in… I read somewhere that some yellow warblers are getting wise to them and will toss the eggs.

Sunday was more of the same except I happened upon the red-breasted grosbeak nest in the upper gardens! I just happen to see it in a branch and then it flew to a bush where I saw the nest ass the babies poked their heads up for food. Now that is exciting, eh?

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