Sunday, October 27, 2013

Finally, the Red Shouldered Hawk reveals itself!

Red-shouldered Hawk
7:30 a.m. 43 degrees and cloudy, but skies clearing. A beautiful morning.

When I first arrived, I could hear the distinctive call of a Carolina wren coming from the golf course side of the lower gardens. There were several robins, a pair of cardinals, goldfinches, many many juncos, house finches, jays, white-throated sparrows, chipping, song, and swamp sparrows. A pair of flickers on the ground were doing a strange dance around each other, kind of like the lobster quadrille in Alice & Wonderland.

Haynes arrived and after a quick review of the lower gardens, we decided to check out the sunnier upper gardens in hopes of seeing the grasshopper sparrow that Mary Lou had seen yesterday. Ian and then Jonathan arrived shortly thereafter.

In the upper gardens, were chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, a downy woodpecker and goldfinches. Several sparrows were satisfying their curiosity about the brush and compost piles convinced that lots of good things to eat must be in there. Of course there were song sparrows, but we also spotted a Lincoln sparrow, and some swamp sparrows. Mourning doves flew overhead. A thrush which we assumed to be a hermit thrush appeared briefly in a bush in the back of the gardens. A lone yellow rump was high in an oak tree. We heard an Eastern towhee calling and it was so close, we decided we had to try and find it. We heard it right near the path on the swamp side of the woods. Finally, someone spotted it and we all had a chance to see it and then of course if flew off to another tree and disappeared.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Down near the soccer field, we heard a scolding sound and Ian saw a house wren, which is awfully late in the season. Ian also caught a glimpse of a red-breasted nuthatch and a bright, red-bellied woodpecker called from high up in a tree. The pond is dried up illustrating how it is truly a vernal pool. One of today's highlights was the red-shouldered hawk that was sitting proudly, high up in a tree across the river. On Florrie's path were two colorful yellow rumps and three young Cedar waxwings.

Rump View!
A sociable yellow rump appeared in Woodcock meadow and flitted from tree to tree as we looked around, turning like a model, to give us a good front and back view!

Our walk through the woods was relatively quiet, but as we rounded the bend near the JCC we saw a couple of golden-crowned kinglets flitting all about. What a nice way to end a great morning!

Here's is Haynes' Complete List:

Northern Flicker  1
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Tufted Titmouse  4
Red-breasted Nuthatch  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  6
House Wren  1     heard rattling and then seen. circle.
Carolina Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Hermit Thrush  1     back of upper garden
American Robin  30
Cedar Waxwing  3
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  6     various places
Eastern Towhee  2     Once m seen clearly, the other fleeting.  Both calling. One in upper garder, a second near pond.
Chipping Sparrow  8
Field Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  25
Lincoln's Sparrow  1     brush pile at upper garden
Swamp Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  20
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  32     throughout
Northern Cardinal  6
Common Grackle  10
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  12

View this checklist online

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Grasshopper Sparrow!

I just read an email from Mary Lou saying that she found a Grasshopper Sparrow at Nahanton this morning! She said the bird was in the upper gardens by the bee hives.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Full Moon Morning

I had a busy Sunday, but didn't want to miss out on Nahanton, so I got there kind of early - 6:30 a.m. It was 51 degrees. I was hoping if I was that early, that maybe I'd see some deer, coyote or owls, but it was very, very quiet. The moon was out. I always love seeing the moon during the day.

I spent a lot of time in the lower gardens where I saw our usuals: robins, jays, song sparrows and cardinals. There were several white throated sparrows and then I noticed an unusual sparrow. It's beak was quite bright and orange and it's breast clear. Finally decided it must be a field sparrow and having now seen Hayne's list from yesterday, hopefully I was right (see picture below, left). Turned out there were several - some in the lower and more in the upper gardens. An elegant Lincoln sparrow was busy in the crab apple in the center of the lower gardens. I believe I also caught a glimpse of the black-throated green that Ian had seen on the BBC walk yesterday, but not 100 percent sure. Briefly saw some yellow and black and slight streaking on the sides, so I couldn't be sure.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Field Sparrow
There were several kinglets in the lower gardens, very busy for themselves as usual. I was desperately trying to photograph one of them but they just won't sit still. I caught this one preening and was amazed to see it's shock of red on the top of it's head!

By the time I got to the upper gardens, the sun was finally out and things were heating up! There were more kinglets! Chickadees and titmice were going crazy over the sunflower seeds.

Young  Phoebe

A new sign has appeared with information on the bee keeper David R. Chipping, song and field sparrows were foraging in the compost pile as well as scouring the ground and flitting in and out of the bent birch tree. A nuthatch appeared marching up and down a tree trunk. A young phoebe was preening in the sun. It was hard to pull myself away to my commitments, but luckily, at the back of the gardens, I spotted a lone, female yellow-rumped warbler. That made it a little easier to leave.

The season seems to pass so quickly. Hopefully, we will have a few more weeks of interesting sightings and then, alas we will have to wait for spring...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Linda's walk

Linda Ferraresso led a BBC walk through Nahanton Park this morning. Not a huge number of sparrows, and the hoped-for Clay-colored Sparrow was a no-show, but it was a beautiful morning in good company.  Here's my unofficial list. The Red-eyed Vireo didn't show for the group, and the White-crowned Sparrow seen by others didn't show for me. A five-woodpecker morning!

Double-crested Cormorant  1
Osprey  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1     woods
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  4
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  12
Black-capped Chickadee  8
Tufted Titmouse  15
White-breasted Nuthatch  7
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
American Robin  40
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  12
Blackpoll Warbler  1     woods
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  4
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  3
Field Sparrow  1     Woodcock field
Song Sparrow  10
Swamp Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  4
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  2
Northern Cardinal  6
Red-winged Blackbird  3
Common Grackle  450     250 counted; and another large flock
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
House Finch  12
American Goldfinch  18

Monday, October 14, 2013

All quiet

A quiet morning, sunny and still. I got there a little before 8:00 and soon was joined by several other birders. The highlight was a Wilson's Warbler in the Alanthus in the lower garden, perhaps the same bird as was reported recently. The Red-shouldered Hawk seems to be back. I recorded it pretty consistently between October 17 and December 23 last year.

Mallard  4
Cooper's Hawk  1     first a flyover, then low strafe over lower garden
Red-shouldered Hawk  1     heard along the river
Herring Gull  4     tight formation
Mourning Dove  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Eastern Phoebe  1
Blue-headed Vireo  1     edge of upper garden
Blue Jay  8
American Crow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  12
Tufted Titmouse  8
White-breasted Nuthatch  4
Brown Creeper  1     woods above pond
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1     woods above pond
American Robin  25
Gray Catbird  1
Cedar Waxwing  4
Blackpoll Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  6
Wilson's Warbler  1     In Alanthus in lower garden. olive back and crown, bright yellow underparts. Seen by others
Chipping Sparrow  8
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  10
Swamp Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  6
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Common Grackle  20
House Finch  20
American Goldfinch  18
House Sparrow  3

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Exciting sighting by Brian C.

Saw the 13 turkeys foraging a front yard on Winchester St. before I arrived at the park at about 7:45 a.m. It started off a little chilly at 46 degrees, but it was clear and the sun was coming out.

I ran into David T. in the lower gardens as he was leaving. He was excited to have seen a clay colored sparrow which sadly, I never did see. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of all the great birds that had been seen by Matt, Haynes and Mary Lou this week, but it wasn't to be. Did have fun watching the titmice, chickadees and nuthatches going crazy with the sunflower seed heads. This one is getting ready to chow down.

Nuthatch acrobatics
Saw many of our regulars; robins, blue jays, gold finches, song sparrows, catbird, and mourning doves. Then, as I rounded the bend of the path on the golf course side, I saw a bright yellow warbler. Couldn't quite identify it at first. The two closest birds in Sibley's were the prothonotary or a Wilson's. Then I saw a very colorful female or juvenile common yellowthroat. Thankfully, Jonathan turned up and we actually saw the bright yellow warbler again. We got a pretty good look at it and determined it was a female or juvenile Wilson's. The prothonotary would have been a long shot really.

By then, Mary Lou had arrived. We saw a couple of juncos house finches and chippers. A large "V" formation of Canada geese flew overhead. Several grackles appeared, some cardinals and a swamp sparrow.

Young Deer
As we headed to the upper gardens Mary Lou spotted a young deer who was heading that way as well! It was pretty quiet up there. Saw some chickadees, more chipping sparrows, several goldfinches, cardinals and a white throated sparrow.

As we were leaving, we met a guy named Will, who was from Concord. It was his first time at our park and he was there because he had seen a posting from Brian C. on Massbird. Brian, who had been at the park very early in the morning Saturday, saw a blue grosbeak!!!, and a rose breasted grosbeak in the lower gardens. He also found an American woodcock and three Eastern screech owls.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nahanton Park Delivers

Clay-colored Sparrow
 This morning I walked to the T, only to find all the commuters milling about. Apparently the T wasn’t running and there was a rumor going around of a fire on the tracks. At this point in time I learned that it would be a very long wait for a bus, so I turned around and got the car. I figured if I was driving, I might as well stop by Nahanton Park. And that was one of my best birding decisions in a while. As I drove up to the park a flock of a dozen Turkeys were crossing Winchest St. and blocking traffic. I took it as a good sign.

When I got out of the car and headed into the lower gardens the 3rd or 4th species that I found was a Yellow-breasted Chat. It was in the tree with berries mingling with House Finches immediately on the right after entering the gardens. I saw him long enough to make out the bright yellow under-parts, white spectacles and heavy beak. I raised my camera just in time to get a backside shot before he vanished. Just like a chat (You can see a better picture I took last winter in Boston here). I sent off an email about the Chat to Haynes and Suzette, then starting looking for Mary Lou. We searched in vain for the Chat, but we did see a Blackpoll Warbler and hummingbird flitting around the lower gardens, we assumed that it was the continuing Ruby-throated Hummingbird reported by Haynes 2 days ago.  

Philadelphia Vireo
After May Lou left, I started through the gardens checking out the sparrows and found a Clay-colored Sparrow! I have had them on the brain since talking with Ryan about the possibility that they might show up at the park. I kept my eyes on the sparrows (mostly Song and Chipping) trying to sort through them, when who should appear but Haynes! Apparently my email had done the trick. We quickly found a Lincoln’s Sparrow in with the other sparrows while a Philadelphia Vireo appeared up in a tree. We worked our way back over to where the Chat had shown and only found the Blackpoll Warblers.

As we started towards the upper gardens the Clay-colored Sparrow appeared again and it was very nice to have Haynes confirm the identification.  In the upper gardens we picked up a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Red-eyed Vireo, and another Lincoln’s. Additionally Haynes found a Savannah Sparrow, and I had a Swamp Sparrow. In the end, the Chat never did turn up again, but I wonder if it could be the same Chat found last month by Mary Lou and Suzette? If so, will we see it again?

Yellow-breasted Chat
Full List:

Wild Turkey  12     Winchester St.
hawk sp.  1
Mourning Dove  2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1     seen at a distance.
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1
Philadelphia Vireo  1    Lower Gardens
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  3
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  4
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Carolina Wren  1
Catharus sp.  1  Lower Gardens
American Robin  15
Gray Catbird  2
European Starling  3
Cedar Waxwing  3
Blackpoll Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Yellow-breasted Chat  1     lower gardens.
Chipping Sparrow  15
Clay-colored Sparrow  1     Lower garden.
Clay-colored Sparrow 
Song Sparrow  15
Lincoln's Sparrow  2  Upper and lower gardens
Swamp Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  3
Northern Cardinal  3
Common Grackle  30
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
House Finch  8
American Goldfinch  4
House Sparrow  2

10/11 Friday Update:
I was just checking out eBird this morning and see that 3 more people have caught up with the Clay-colored on Thursday and Friday, while the Philadelphia Vireo was seen again yesterday afternoon. This almost makes me wonder if I really did see a Clay-colored last week. But no sign of the hummer or chat. It will be exciting to see what else birders might turn up this weekend.

I also found there is a little article by David Sibley about identification of Clay-colored vs. Chipping Sparrows.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Late summer, late hummer

Nice walk though the gardens this morning, 8:00 - 9:30. The highpoint was a hummingbird in the lower garden. This is very late for Ruby-throated, but I think that's what it was. 

Also the beautiful adult White-Crowned Sparrow in the upper garden, a new arrival.

Great Blue Heron  1     flyover
Ring-billed Gull  3
Mourning Dove  4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1     F type. green irridescence on back, whitish under throughout. Short tail. Long straight bill, white behind eye. In tree in lower garden. Seen separately by another birder.
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  3
Eastern Phoebe  1
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  12
American Crow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  8
Tufted Titmouse  8
House Wren  3
Carolina Wren  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin  25
Gray Catbird  3
European Starling  10
Nashville Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  4
Eastern Towhee  1     m. upper garden
Chipping Sparrow  12
Savannah Sparrow  6
Song Sparrow  15
Lincoln's Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  8
White-throated Sparrow  5
White-crowned Sparrow  1     ad, upper garden
Northern Cardinal  1
Indigo Bunting  2
Common Grackle  15
House Finch  16
American Goldfinch  12
House Sparrow  4

Clouded Sulpher butterfly

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sparrows on a warm morning

Savannah Sparrow
 I stopped by Nahanton this morning hoping for a mix of sparrows and warblers migrating through, and I only found one unidentified warbler before a Cooper's hawk bombed into the tree. Mary Lou and I tried our best  to track down more. There were plenty of sparrows in the gardens though and I wished that I was better with identifying them! The sparrow in the top picture I just can't figure out, I'm leaning towards Savannah sparrow, but that doesn't seem to sit well either. If you have any thought please let me know!

There were lots of easier Song, Savannah, Swamp, and Chipping Sparrows though. I almost wondered if I'd had a candidate Clay Colored. But it was only the briefest of glimpses.

Beyond the usual suspects I was very happy to find the Solitary Sandpiper by the vernal pool. I've had them at City Hall and Hammond Pond, but this was my first time seeing a Solitary Sandpiper at Nahanton.

Here is the full list:
Solitary Sandpiper

1 Cooper's Hawk
1 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Solitary Sandpiper
1 gull sp.
3 Mourning Dove
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Northern Flicker
1 Eastern Phoebe
5 Blue Jay
3 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Tufted Titmouse
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Carolina Wren
Swamp Sparrow
1 House Wren
10 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
1 Warbler sp.
4 Savannah Sparrow
15 Song Sparrow
3 Swamp Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrow
2 sparrow sp.
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Common Grackle
5 House Finch
2 American Goldfinch

P.S. The consensus is that the sparrow at the top is indeed at Savannah Sparrow. The face just had much for buff and less contrast than I am used to seeing.