Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Signs of spring

A stop by Nahanton Park, Newton, late this afternoon, revealed some interesting birds - 
American Woodcock, at "Woodcock Field" above the Nature Center. There were 2 or 3 of them, circling and then peenting. The clever way to bird this spot is to park at the small overflow lot entered off of Nahanton St between the Jewish Community Center and the main entrance to Nahanton Park. You see the birds better with the sunset behind them. AMWO was reported this very evening from three other sites in Middlesex County. 
Northern Saw-whet Owl, in woods between lower garden and the golf course. Several toots, at 6:00 PM. I observed this species there on Jan 1 this year, and as Matt noted it was reported there in late afternoon on March 3 as well. Nahanton seems to be the place to go for this bird!

Fox Sparrow, in copse near the lower gardens. 

Common Grackle, flocks of 5 - 30. As many as 130 total, but the same flock could have appeared several times. 

Here's a complete list. Sorry about the Latin.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  4
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  5
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
American Woodcock (Scolopax minor)  2     Possibly 3. Two in flight together. Appeared 7:07, 20 minutes after sunset, Woodcock Field. Peenting display.
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)  1     Several hoots, from woods between lower garden and golf course. 6:00 PM
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  3
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  4
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  15
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  1
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)  3
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  1     Copse at lower garden
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) (Junco hyemalis hyemalis/carolinensis)  2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  10
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  130     flocks of 5 -- 30 , some mixed with RWBL


  1. Wow Haynes,
    Great finds. I stopped by at 8pm, and had no woodcocks, owls, or any birds for that matter. I don't know when, but I'd love to find that saw-whet. I did hear my first singing red winged blackbirds today down in the city.

  2. I've never stayed till the Woodcocks finish - so this is interesting information. They always begin 15 or 20 minutes after sunset, which meant about 7:05 last night. By 8:00 they're done ...

  3. HI Everybody!

    I've been wanting to get over there to see the woodcocks and maybe have a chance at hearing the owl, but have some family issues that have prevented me from getting to the park. Hopefully I'll be able to go this weekend. It's so exciting about the saw-whet still being there!