Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mid Summer

7:45 a.m. and it was already 75 degrees and hazy. You can tell it's going to be a scorcher. The same little stand of purple liatris I've been seeing year after year is in bloom as well as the white fleabane and yellow St. John's wort in the meadow. A phoebe was perched on one of the large rocks. The house wren greeted me as I entered the lower gardens with his cheerful, bubbling song. Beautiful,lilies were in full bloom in someone's garden. What a miracle of nature.

I was distressed to see the large house sparrow family hanging around. Having had success this year, I fear they will be back next year for sure. Saw lots of robins and their young ones, catbirds, a flicker, female and young red wing blackbirds, song sparrows, yellow warblers, and a mourning dove.

Poor baby catbird
The upper gardens was fairly quiet, although I managed to catch a quick glimpse of a blue gray gnatcatcher. While trying to hone in on the gnatcatcher, I discovered a common yellowthroat male! A beautiful yellow swallowtail butterfly floated by but disappeared into the woods. Downy woodpeckers
and a house finch family were busy looking for food. Then I saw a dead baby catbird on the path, the 2nd dead baby I've seen in a couple of weeks, the other being a baby robin. I'm not sure what happened to it. Very sad...

Young female grosbeak
As I headed down to the soccer field, I came across two birds who seemed most interested in a clump of knotweed. A young female oriole was flitting around as well as a young female grosbeak! The female grosbeak seemed to follow me as I walked along edge of the soccer field. She moved along from tree to tree until I left to look at the pond. I was hoping for a heron, but only heard the frantic screams of frogs as they jumped in the pond, fearing for their lives as I approached. I heard bits and pieces of a wood thrush singing. A vireo was also singing. I didn't hold high hopes of finding it, but surprisingly, it appeared on a bare branch where I could actually see him open his beak and sing! What a concert.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

On their own...

Got to the park around 7:00 a.m. Wanted to beat the heat. It was already 75 degrees, but somehow feeling a little more pleasant than the last few mornings. However, the mosquitos were quite annoying.

The wildflower meadow is looking quite nice. There are now black-eyed susans (rudbeckia) and purple cone flower (echinacea) in bloom along with the white fleabane. Saw this goldfinch happily munching on
some seeds.

As I entered the lower gardens, I saw a mourning dove fly into a tree with some nesting material, but couldn't see where it went. However a second dove sat resting nearby. I was distressed to see Mr. House sparrow, perched on a garden fence, looking like he owned the whole park. I'm terribly afraid he has already bred this summer as I saw several house sparrows on the mulberry tree last week. There is a nest in the box in the upper gardens
Mourning dove
Gloriosa Daisies
as Haynes has pointed out, which definitely has a sparrow nest in it. Saw at least 3 rabbits and 2 robins gathered together - looked like they were having a little party! Thought I might have heard some kind of a warbler other than a yellow, but couldn't see it or quite identify the song. Heard the house wren and a yellow warbler and then came across these gloriosa daisies on the side of the path in the lower gardens. They look like escapees from someone's garden - one of those miracles of nature that make Nahanton
Native Day Lily
Park so much fun. I saw a woodchuck, who immediately noticed me. He tipped his nose up in there and started sniffing and as soon as I got my camera pointed, he was completely gone. You have to admire their speed - surprising for such fat, fluffy, logy looking creatures.

Headed to the mulberry tree where the birds were enjoying a feast! Saw lots of young birds today, but now they're on their own, no one to feed them anymore or watch out for them. A young oriole was in the mulberry, along with cardinals, a warbling vireo, song sparrows etc. There's still a tree swallow hanging around the next box near the parking lot, but on the whole, didn't see very many today.
Down at the circle near the soccer field, I saw baby chickadees looking for bugs in the tree bark and a
few juvenile female blackbirds. The pond was full of bull frogs that leapt into the water as I approached. Couldn't see much and far too buggy but I did hear a strange two-part whistle from high up in a tree that was non-stop and interesting. At times, there were clearly two birds whistling. Looked and looked and couldn't see anything, although at one point I thought I saw a bird fly to the next tree top. Was it a red winged blackbird or something else?

Saw these beautiful, tiny little mushrooms. Not sure what they are, but I'd like to call them fairy mushrooms because they were so dainty.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

During the Heat: 4th of July Birding

Eastern Cottontail
 I think Haynes had the right idea with an early start today; 10:30am was already on the warm side and like this rabbit, sitting in the shade sounded best. In addition to Haynes' list, I had a Red-Bellied Woodpecker and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The ruby-throat was in the upper gardens, my first for the year. While this hummer's back was towards me and at some distance, I was reminded how stunningly colored they are in just the right light.  Notably I missed the black-and-white warbler and common yellowthroat.

Yellow Warbler

This Yellow Warbler in the lower gardens had just finished taking a bath in the puddle by the water tap. He looked quite damp and was busy preening and shaking water from his feathers.

House Finch

Juvenile Chipping Sparrow

This little House Finch just held still and posed for me, showing off his bright red coloration.

Am I correct in identifying this as a juvenile Chipping Sparrow? Sparrows are always a little confusing to me.

White-tailed Deer

Sometimes its hard to tell who is more startled at a given encounter, myself or the animal . But today I am certain that I was more startled when I looked up and found this deer just barely into the woods.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Before the heat sets in

I walked through the park before the heat of the day. Breezy, partly overcast .... I've been trying to learn lepids and odonts. I managed to identify

Common Whitetail
Blue Dasher F
Cabbage White M & F
Dark-banded Owlet

There was also a deer in the Wildflower Meadow. Didn't see any weasels. Here's the bird list.

Mourning Dove  5
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  3
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Eastern Phoebe  3
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  3
Blue Jay  2
Tree Swallow  10
Barn Swallow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  4
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
House Wren  6
American Robin  25
Gray Catbird  15
Black-and-white Warbler  1     heard at circle
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow Warbler  3
Chipping Sparrow  2     juv
Song Sparrow  12
Northern Cardinal  6
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  3     incl 2 ad M
Red-winged Blackbird  12     many on soccer field
Common Grackle  2
Baltimore Oriole  1
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  8
House Sparrow  2     at box at upper garden. Nest but no eggs or nestlings