Friday, December 26, 2014

Winter Wren, and more vandalism

A short visit to Nahanton Park this morning turned up a Winter Wren in the woods between the pond and the river.

And there's been more vandalism of the trees near the lower garden. A couple of months ago the Ailanthus was girdled --

-- and now the tree next to it has had its second limb killed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Eager beavers

The beaver was swimming near the boat dock on Monday morning -
Here's the start of his dam across the Charles -
Our Landmark:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lots of purple finches!

Savannah Sparrow
I arrived at the park at about 8:00 a.m. It was 49 degrees and starting to clear.

I was captivated by a large group of birds along the path to the upper gardens. Several juncos had arrived - not sure if they will be our winter friends or are passing through but they were very busy foraging near the meadow. A white throated sparrow sang from a nearby bush. A savannah sparrow, some swamp sparrows and our song sparrows were part of the gang. A western palm warbler basked in the sun, high up on a bare tree branch.

As I moved around the lower gardens, Haynes and Jonathan arrived. The chill was in the air and it was clear we'll be moving into winter soon, but the sun warmed us and the birds liked it too. Goldfinch families and house finch families were busy on weeds and in trees finding something good to eat. Haynes spotted several purple finches, so many that he decided to call it a virtual invasion! Normally, if we see one in the fall, it's a special occasion, but we saw at least five or 6 or more. Our regular were there too of course, robins, mourning doves, a red-tail hawk, cardinals, blue jays, downies, a young flicker, a mockingbird and blue jays.

The upper gardens had the same selection of birds, but in addition we saw some chickadees, a young
common yellowthroat male, a nuthatch, yellow rump warbler and a ruby crowned kinglet.

We cut through the woods and down the path by the pond, where Jonathan spotted a beautiful and active orange-crowned kinglet, busy flitting here and there. The pond which had been dried up or quite a while was filled with water again after the recent heavy rains. I, for one, was happy to see that and I guess the ducks were too, as there were at least three pairs of mallards happily swimming around in their old haunt.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Breezy but birdy

A breezy and cool morning, starting overcast but slowly clearing. Four warbler species, including a late Magnolia, or maybe five if the Western Palm is separated, and eight sparrows. A Peregrine Falcon made a pass over the upper garden. And the Scarecrow Walk is up!


Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  28     single V
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)  1     flyover at upper garden
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1
Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius)  2     together, woods
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  10
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  6
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  2
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)  2     brush near lg
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1     brush near lg
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  55     incl flight of 25
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  1
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  1     pond, with deer
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  1     clear view; yellow under, wing bars, gray head, squared off black tail end. Tree at lower garden.
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)  1     trail betw pond and soccer field. m
Palm Warbler (Western) (Setophaga palmarum palmarum)  1
Palm Warbler (Yellow) (Setophaga palmarum hypochrysea)  2
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  2
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)  1     ug
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  7     both gardens
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  20
Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  2     ug
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  3
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) (Junco hyemalis hyemalis/carolinensis)  12
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  2
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  3
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  3

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Newton Conservators & Friends of Nahanton Park Walk with Haynes Miller

It was 48 degrees at 7:00 a.m. with the sky clearing from a rainy Saturday, a really nice day for a walk.

I arrived early and took my time looking around the lower gardens, meeting up with the group around 8:00 at the Nahanton Street entrance. We headed to the dock to view the river and a beaver was spotted swimming across the river. Beaver damage is evident along the trail where several trees have been worked on. Looks like they really want to build a dam.

The pond was quite devoid of herons or sandpipers - just a lone robin looking for worms. Along the trail by the soccer field, we saw either a female or young male American redstart. It was quite beautiful with it's soft gray and yellow coloring.

The lower gardens had many of our regulars and some migrants as well. The robins are starting to flock as there were lots and lots of them. There were cardinals, catbirds, song sparrows, a mockingbird, blue jays, house finches, a female purple finch, chipping sparrows, chickadees, goldfinches, a flicker, one or two lincoln sparrows, a lone junco, savannah sparrow, white-throated sparrow, grackles, red-bellied woodpecker, starlings and a swamp sparrow. We heard titmice calling, a Carolina wren and then saw a house wren. Ring-billed seagulls flew overhead and later Canada goose.

On the way to the upper gardens a common yellowthroat was spotted along the path. Once up there, it was fairly quiet. There was a male downy at the back of the gardens and two indigo buntings in a tree nearby. I saw a brown creeper, but by the time I went to show Ian, it was gone. We stayed for a long time hoping for the yellow-breasted chat, but it didn't appear and we assumed it must be gone. However, later in the day, there was a posting and someone else had seen it. Darn!

Other birds seen included a mourning dove and Eastern phoebe.

Please join us for another walk sponsored by the Brookline Bird Club (BBC) on Saturday, October 18th at 8:00 a.m., led by Linda Ferraresso. For more information, click here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Misty morning

Following Matt's post, I walked through the garden plots this misty morning hoping for sparrows, and was not disappointed. Like Matt, I had a brief glimpse of what I guess was a White-crowned Sparrow (in the upper garden). According to e-bird, the best birds were the late Warbling Vireos. List:

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  3
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) (Colaptes auratus auratus/luteus)  9
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1     ug
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  2     one at each garden. Clear views; silent; late.
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  10
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  8
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  4
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  2
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  80
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  5
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  1
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  1     ug
Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)  1     ug
Palm Warbler (Yellow) (Setophaga palmarum hypochrysea)  1     ug
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  3     ug
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  8
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  4
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  30
Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  1     lg
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  7
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  2
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  1
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  1     lg
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  1
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  12
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  8
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  14

Here are some photos from a couple of weeks ago. First, a rare 8-winged Meadowhawk:

And here's a record of the amazing beaver efforts, along Florrie's Path:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Rainy Day with the Sparrows

Swamp Sparrow
 I stopped at Nahanton the other morning despite the rain. I had very few warblers, but a good showing of sparrows with the highlights being 2 Lincoln's sparrows in the little triangle of trees and brush at the entrance to the lower gardens. It was an enjoyable morning, a nice return to fall birding. Even the rain wasn't enough to put away my camera.

gull sp.  5
Mourning Dove  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Eastern Phoebe  2
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  6
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
House Wren  1
American Robin  25
Gray Catbird  5
Northern Mockingbird  1
Common Yellowthroat  2
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  20
Lincoln's Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  2
White-crowned Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  3
House Finch  2
passerine sp.  1     Vireo thought warbling but too brief to be sure

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Lots of birders and a few birds this morning. I met up with Ian and we walked through the gardens and upper field. Most of the activity was in the upper garden. We were paying a second visit to the lower garden when some other birders hailed us with news of a chat in the grapes behind the upper garden. We hustled up there and sure enough ....

Complete list:

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  2
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  2
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  2
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  10
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  8
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  3
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  1     lower garden
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1     tree at lower garden
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  8
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  5
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  1
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1
Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)  1     upper garden
Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)  1     grapes at back of upper garden. Knock-out views.
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  8
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  1     upper garden
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  20
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  2
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  5
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  1     upper garden
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  3
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  2     working on next in box at upper garden

Saturday, September 20, 2014

BBC Walk with Haynes Miller

BBC Walk
It was 41 degrees and clear at 7:30 a.m. I always like to get to the park a little early, so I can take a quick look around before the walk begins. Of course, Haynes was there early too.

It was pretty quiet in the lower gardens at first. Barely a sound.

Finally, we saw a young Coopers hawk, with his back to us, but of very striking plumage. Unfortunately, he flew away before people arrived.

As the group moved around, we eventually saw many of our regulars - catbirds, song sparrows, cardinals, robins, blue jays, goldfinches and some seagulls overhead. Some chipping sparrows flitted around.
Wasp nest

One of the most striking things in the lower gardens was this wasp nest that suddenly appeared a while ago. It certainly wasn't there in the spring or most of the summer.

It's a sizable nest and quite an amazing work of art considering a bunch of very small insects built it!

The upper gardens were quiet too, but we did see a downy woodpecker, swamp sparrow, song
sparrows, savannah and more catbirds as well as a red-bellied woodpecker.

Juvenile Coopers Hawk
The soccer field yielded a white breasted nuthatch and the river only a grackel! Woodock meadow and the path by the JCC were very, very quiet.

We took another look at the lower gardens before leaving, hoping to at least see a warbler, but no luck. However, we did get a nice view of an Eastern Phoebe.

Haynes will be leading another walk on October 5th at 8:00 a.m. Meet at the Nahanton Street entrance near the river.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A few more warblers...

Western Palm Warbler
It was a beautiful day. Clear and sunny. 51 degrees at 7:30 a.m. As I got out of the car, I was greeted by Haynes and so we walked around together.

There was a lot of activity in the lower gardens, especially in the area near the large crab apple, shrubs and trees near the swamp side of the gardens. We immediately saw a black poll and a black-throated green, a house wren, chickadees, titmice, a downy, several red-eyed vireos and best of all a Philadelphia vireo with a stunning soft-yellow breast hanging out with the others. Maybe it's the same one that Ian saw a few weeks ago. There were goldfinches, cardinals, catbirds, chipping sparrows, a hummingbird and possibly a common yellowthroat. Naturally, there were song sparrows, blue jays and sadly a house sparrow.

As we headed to the upper gardens, we saw a bird with some bright yellow near its tail and a bit of an eyestripe. Haynes quickly identified it as a Western palm warbler, which I don't think I've ever seen before. I thought it was quite different from its Eastern cousin.

In the upper gardens we saw many of the same birds previously mentioned including another Western palm, but in addition, we had the pleasure of seeing a couple of Indigo buntings which was a nice treat and an Eastern phoebe.

The soccer field, pond and river were pretty quiet save for some chickadees and titmice. Woodcock meadow was quiet too, but Haynes discovered a raided turtle egg deposit - the meadow seemed like a strange place to lay eggs, but maybe not to a turtle! All the white eggs had been dug out (probably by a raccoon), the shells cracked open and the yolks eaten. It makes you wonder how anything survives with predators about.

American Toad
We walked through the woods near the soccer field, and this American toad was discovered, very well camouflaged in the leaf litter, but when he got near the bright green leaf, he was easier to spot.

Haynes will be leading a Brookline Bird Club walk Saturday, September 20th at 8:00 a.m. Meet at the Winchester St. entrance. For more info, click here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

They're back!

This morning revealed Swamp Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, and Chipping Sparrows, along with a Northern Parula and a Magnolia Warbler. Welcome, Fall!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Still summer ...

The gardens are beautiful in the late summer, filled with flowers. A lot of the resident birds have up and left, but the catbirds and wrens are still hanging around (or have been replaced by look-alikes). The resident Song Sparrows have been augmented by migrants, and this morning I found several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, three Redstarts, a Blue-winged Warbler, a Pine Warbler, and a Common Yellowthroat. The Meadowhawks and Eastern Pondhawks are still around, and today this big fellow showed up.
Immature Common Green Darner

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last day of August

Coopers Hawk
At 7:15 a.m., it was 70 degrees and overcast.

Let me begin by mentioning that I received an email from Ian who saw a Philadelphia vireo yesterday in the tallest oak between the soccer field and the pond. He also saw a first year Magnolia!

There was definitely an end of summer feel in the air as I headed to the lower gardens. It was pretty quiet. The flowers are beautiful with colorful zinnias, towering sunflowers, lilies, dahlias, goldenrod, morning glories and rudbeckia. There were a few catbirds and their young and some goldfinches. A group of six cormorants flew overhead. I saw a large bird in the area between the field and the gardens. There's always the question of a sharpie or a coopers, but I believe this was a Cooper's. If I'm wrong, please let me know. It seemed bigger than a sharpie, but I know they can be deceiving.

Mexican Sunflower
I ran into Mary Lou in the upper gardens. She had seen a young male common yellowthroat in the
lower gardens. There was a mockingbird, some song sparrows, several goldfinches, a jay, a hummingbird, chickadees and a couple of Eastern phoebes.

The pond was dried up with a few song sparrows foraging in the mud. As we stood at the dock by the river, the great blue heron flew by. I had to leave and hopefully Mary Lou will fill me in on any additional sightings she may have seen...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Late Summer Sunday...

Young Common Yellowthroat Male
It was 60 degrees at 7:15 a.m. Clear and sunny. A beautiful day to go bird watching.

As soon as I get out of the car, I can hear a peewee calling from the woods behind the upper gardens as I did a few weeks ago.

The lower gardens were filled with robins. It seems like they're starting to group together. The late summer flowers look beautiful - towering yellow and mahogany sunflowers, pink, purple and orange zinnias, lilies and morning glories are all very festive. Saw a few blue jays, catbirds, goldfinches and a hummer feasting on garden goodies, starlings which seem to appear at this time of year, a young male cardinal that was not quite in full color yet and a baby song sparrow that hadn't really grown it's tail feathers, making it look a little silly. A house wren appeared, tsk, tsking and a few warbling vireos.

The upper gardens had pretty much the same but in addition, there were a few red-eyed vireos and this young male common yellowthroat (pictured above). I would have thought it a female, since I'm not very good at the fall plumage, but he opened his mouth and started singing and it was clear it was a male and he was young, because he certainly needed a lot of practice with his song, but you could hear the basic witchety, witchety somewhere in there! There was a hummer up here too and a mockingbird. Most of the birds were feasting on grapes and berries in the back of the gardens. A chimney swift flew overhead. I saw a young red-bellied woodpecker on a tree branch. I say it was young because it didn't have the red head we normally see on the adults.

The pond was dried up, but still filled with water lilies stuck to the mud and pickerel weed poking up and in bloom. No sign of any sandpipers. Saw another red-eyed vireo near the soccer field, some chickadees and a nuthatch. Otherwise, it was pretty quiet.

The river was very quiet save a kayaker and a few chickadees.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sue Avery Walk

Blue Dasher, ID by H. Miller
Sue Avery, who was very active in our Newton Conservators group, blew into town this week from Long Island where she and her family moved 5 years ago. Luckily, our schedules worked out and we were able to tour Nahanton Park before she left.

It's always fun to walk with her because she has such a vast knowledge of the plant life, in addition to birds and insects. Like Haynes, she is fascinated by dragonflies and damsel flies. We're not sure which kind this is, but hopefully Haynes will give us an i.d.

I was so hoping we might hear the bobwhite that Haynes heard a few days ago, as we walked around the gardens, but sadly, we didn't. On Long Island, there are programs to reintroduce bobwhite and quail to certain wildlife areas. I wish we had something like that going on here. We saw our regulars: goldfinches, robins, song sparrows, mockingbirds, blue jays and cardinals.

Green Heron
When we cut through the woods to the soccer field, we hit a little hot spot and were most excited to see a few blue gray gnatcatchers, an oriole couple, a warbling vireo,some titmice and a glimpse of some kind of warbler that had black, white and bright yellow, but it was so brief that I wouldn't dare identify  it. Sue saw a large clump of feathers in a tree. It looked rather odd, but turned out to be a baby flicker.

The pond was disappointing - no herons and no sandpipers or ducks. The pickerel weed is in bloom, but Sue was distressed to see we have some lythrum starting to take in the pond which is highly invasive. If anyone wants to or dares to tromp through the mud in their waders and pull it up, it would be appreciated!! She said now is the time to catch it before the pond is overwhelmed.

We continued on by the river path and shortly before we turned off to head to the upper gardens, we were delighted to spot one of the green herons preening on a log.

All in all, it was a beautiful, sunny day and every time I visit Nahanton,  I am so grateful that we have this park. It's such a wonderful antidote to life's pressures and a great opportunity to enjoy nature with good friends.

Sue is an ecologically oriented landscape designer.

Check out Sue's website and blog.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


On Friday morning, in the front of the upper garden, I heard "Bob White ... Bob White." Nothing more, and I didn't see the speaker. Mary Lou was not far away and didn't hear this .... Still, what else could it be. I spent some time there again this morning, with no luck.  Lots of hummingbirds, and the pond was active.

New odonts, both from the upper field:
Black-shouldered Spinyleg


Bird list:

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  1
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  3     river
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)  3     pond
Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)  5     pond
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  5
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  5 upper garden
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  3
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) (Colaptes auratus auratus/luteus)  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  3
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  1
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  5
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  4
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  4
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  6
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)  1 path betw pond and soccer field
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  45
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  10
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  7
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  10
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)  1     pond
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  2
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  5
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)  1     brief song
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  4
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)  2     females. belly entirely yellow. Path betw pond and soccer field
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  2
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  10
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  10

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Oh deer...

It was 63 degrees and overcast as I headed down Winchester Street to the Park. I hadn't gone far, when I saw a beautiful doe on someone's front lawn. I had to stop and take her picture. I've been seeing a lot of deer lately - maybe because the fawns are older now?

As I headed into the lower gardens I was greeted by several chickadees in an oak tree overhanging the path. I could hear some yellow warblers singing and I could hear a pee wee singing from way up in the woods behind the upper gardens! The gardens are in high gear and the flowers are beautiful. Huge, towering sunflowers and fragrant lilies, morning glories in blue and carmine, zinnias blasting bright pink, red and orange - a visual delight. There were robins and house wrens and a hummingbird buzzing around. The weeds made me think of the show "Oklahoma" because
Catbird with Dragonfly Treat
the weeds were definitely as high as an elephants eye! The catbird pictured at left was very excited to find a prize dragonfly to eat and had to pose and show it off. Goldfinches and a female common yellowthroat were very interested in the goodies in the garden closest to the path to the upper gardens.

The only time I see snakes is when they've been run over which is rather sad. There was a beautiful garter snake on the path, but it was flattened. The meadow is blooming and the purple liatris has now joined the white daisies, yellow St. Johns Wort, Queen Anne's lace and yellow coneflowers but there is far too much of the weedy artemesia. I miss the pink cosmos that was planted by the City after that awful snow dumping.

Queen Anne's Lace
House Wren Family
In the upper gardens were cardinals, song sparrows, an oriole and a wren
couple feeding their very noisy babies. They must be very close to leaving the nest box. The parents took turns finding bugs and feeding the hungry brood. Around the other side of the gardens, a blue-gray gnatcatcher was busy flitting here and there.

As I headed toward the path to go through the woods to the soccer field, a light rain started so I decided to head to the car instead and put my camera away. I was looking forward to checking out the herons that Hayne's has been seeing down by the river. The rain lasted longer than I thought, so I drove around to the other entrance hoping the rain would stop by
then. It didn't, but I found if I stayed under the trees, the rain was so light, I could stay dry. I didn't see any herons near the river, so I headed to the pond. Just I walked down the little path, the big blue heron must have been nearby and it flew off across the pond. They are amazingly large birds. And as I looked closer, I was pleased to see one of the green herons sitting on a log and unphased by my presence. And of course there was a sandpiper (spotted) mucking about in the mud!

Check out the website as some of the fall walks have been added and more to come!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Good fishing days

The three Green Herons were on the same three logs across from the dock this morning. Here are today's Dragonflies:

Male Blue Dasher
Female Blue Dragonlet?
Female Eastern Pondhawk
Besides the Dragonfly, I came across two birds stuck for various amounts of time in netting like this. At the least, I think the garden should ban netting across the tops of plots. 

There were also a lot of birds:

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  1
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  2     pond
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  1
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)  3     Lined up exactly as before, across the river
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  4
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1     f
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  5
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) (Colaptes auratus auratus/luteus)  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  3     some song
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)  1
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  3
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  2
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  6
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  4     bridge
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  6
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  5
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  3
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  8
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  45
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  12     mostly quiet
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  2
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  10
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  4
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  10
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  8
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)  1     im M
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  2
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  3
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  10

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Never a dull moment

A visit to Nahanton Park is never without its surprises. Today it was the three Green Herons lined up across the river from the boat launch (conspicuous but too far for a good picture); the Northern Water Snake at the picnic tables;
the deer thundering into the upper field, realizing this wasn't a good place to be either, and thundering off again, seen later quietly in the woods
The odont of the day was Common Whitetail, male
and female

Here's the bird list

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1     pond
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)  4     one flyover early at lower garden; 3 lined up on far bank of the Charles at the boat launch.
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1     f
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  6
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) (Colaptes auratus auratus/luteus)  2
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1     back of upper garden
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  2     song; one at river, one in forest
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  2     song
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  4
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  5
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  8
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  4
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  4
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  7     noisy
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  1     Nature Center
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  40
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  12
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  1
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  5
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  10
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  15
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)  1     im m, path by soccer field
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  15
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  1     Nature Center

Monday, July 21, 2014

bunnies, birds, bugs, and pipes

Nice morning at Nahanton Park, with lots of breeding activity, as Suzette said. In addition to the birds and bunnies, I saw a couple of groundhogs run out of the lower garden, and identified four Dragonfly species in the upper ("Woodcock") field: Twelve-spotted Skimmer and the three flashy males shown below.
Slaty Skimmer

Widow Skimmer

Eastern Amberwing

Also, the Indian Pipe Monotropa uniflora is in full "bloom" in the forest (near the fork):

Here's the bird list:

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  2     pond
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1     pond
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  1
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  3
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) (Colaptes auratus auratus/luteus)  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  3
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  2
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)  2     pr, in trees between pond and soccer field
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  3     silent
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  3
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  5
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  6
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  3
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  8     Lots of song
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  30
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  12     silent
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  1     upper field
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  2     im
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  10
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1     upper field
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  15
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  4
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  1
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  4
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  5     all female type
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  8

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Good to be back!

Cedar Waxwing
It's been far too long since I've been able to get to the park. It was so nice to go over this morning. It was a pleasant 66 degrees and overcast and thankfully, not very buggy.

I was immediately greeted by the bubbly song of a house wren which is always a nice way to start the morning. As I started down the path to the lower gardens, I heard very high pitched sounds and I started looking for cedar waxwings. And there they were - all around me! Even got to see one feeding it's
Waxwing baby being fed
baby! There were bunnies of all different sizes all over the place. I saw some disturbing looking fluttering coming from some netting and I went over to investigate. There was a young cardinal caught inside. I went to try and help her, but she finally figured out how to exit the way she most likely got in - through an opening in the bottom on the ground. Thank god she got out of there. She was very panicked.

There were robins, song sparrows, mourning doves and maybe one or two yellow warblers. What was noticeable was the lack of tree swallows and yellow warblers. Time is marching on....

Yellow Warbler
The upper gardens yielded some chickadees doing their aerial feeding gymnastics in the trees, more bunnies, cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches and a flicker. Caught a really quick  glimpse of a hummingbird, but couldn't even tell if it was a male or female. I'm just glad it was there. A catbird meowed from some shrubs at the back. The sumac is starting to bloom as well as lythrum, fleabane, St. Johns wort and coneflowers in the meadow. A beautiful color palette of white, yellow and purple.
Gloriosa Daisy

The gardens are looking quite successful with lots of ripening vegetables and the 6ft or more towering sunflowers are in bloom. They're always so spectacular! I headed down to the soccer field where I could hear the titmice calling from the woods. I was hoping for a heron or sandpiper in the pond, but just as I got there it started raining. I was worried about my camera, so I headed back and saw this gorgeous doe in the meadow!

It's just amazing what you can see when you least expect it. We are so lucky to have this park. I'm including a photo from a very brief visit yesterday, where I saw this butterfly that I don't think I've ever seen before. It's called a red spotted purple and it looked as if it had just emerged from its cocoon as it was on the gravel drying its wings in the sun.
Red Spotted Purple Butterfly

The firestation is fully ensconced but doesn't seem to be bothering anything. I hope they enjoy their beautiful surroundings! There will be some great fall bird walks that I'll be posting soon to the website, so please check it out soon....

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Phoebe finally on nest!

Red-eyed Vireo
It was 55 degrees and overcast as I arrived at the park around 7:30 a.m.

For some reason, I started in the upper gardens where I saw a pair of house wrens. I know they're nesting in a certain box and soon we should be hearing the little calls for food from the babies.

There was a continual flute concert by a wood thrush in the woods nearby. Yellow warblers were singing and catbirds were flitting about. A pair of redstarts were chasing each other and there were three red-eyed vireos which captivated me as they were low and very visible. The overcast day made the lighting poor, so this was the best I could do as far as a photo.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

There are three nests near the soccer field that I've been watching: two oriole nests and a yellow warbler nest. When the yellow warbler first built its nest it seemed like a very poor location as it was so obvious, but I was wrong. As the foliage has filled out it is completely hidden and even though I know where it is, I have the most difficult time locating it now. Saw more redstarts and heard a peewee calling.

Down by the river I was so pleased to see the phoebe finally in it's nest! I heard a warbling vireo and
saw a few Eastern kingbirds.

In Woodcock meadow was a beautiful grosbeak, nice and low and obvious - however the lighting doesn't do it justice.