Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Breaking News: Yellow-throated Warbler Seen!

Yellow-throated Warbler
  4/25 Update
I woke up early hoping to take another crack a the Yellow-throated Warbler and so I arrived at the park at 7:30am (checklist). Right off the bat I found the lingering American Tree Sparrow associating with a Chipping Sparrow foraging in the grass. I made straight for the path by the pond and though I heard a warbler singing, but only found a Palm Warbler. For the next hour I walked and the path by the woods occasionally venturing over the Woodcock Meadow or Florrie's path.

I kept thinking I was hearing a warbler song occasionally from path between the woods and soccer field, but couldn't find anything, which was maddening as it sounded like it could be the Yellow-throated Warbler song. At 8:30 I finally connected the song with a bird flitting around high in the tree tops 30-50 meters in the woods behind the pond. It took only 5 seconds after I had the bird in my binoculars to make the ID as Yellow-throated Warbler! A very distinctive bird with a bright yellow throat with bold black and white facial markings. I eventually managed to get a record shot (I've never been so proud of a pixelated bird picture before) though I missed a great opportunity for a better shot when he came out close to the circle drive by the soccer field entrance. I unfortunately was trying to record his song and didn't have my camera ready. If you would like a better picture check out Ryan's picture here at his Flickr page.

Palm Warbler (Yellow)
It was quite a relief to find the bird after no sightings were reported since Wednesday at around 5:10pm. Maybe I was right and he was laying low yesterday during the wind. Or maybe I just got lucky. Anyway I'll include a few other pictures from today too.

4/24 Update
I went last night to try and find the bird and when I pulled up another birder said it had been seen 30 minutes ago in the wood behind the pond, off of the trail between the pond and fields. But even with 4 other birders looking, we had no luck finding the Yellow-throated Warbler. One guy there said he had seen the bird on Tuesday night, so it spent atleast one night at Nahanton And today so far I've seen 4 eBird checklists that haven't seen the bird either, so hopefully the bird is just laying low during the wind today. (checklist)

Brown-headed Cowbird
The original post from 4/23 is below:
I just saw a BostonBirds email from Mary Lou saying that she had seen a Yellow-throated Warbler up in the oaks between the pond and soccer fields. What an excellent find! Yellow-thrated Warblers usually don't make it this far North.

I'm visiting the mid-atlantic region in a few weeks and Yellow-throated Warbler is high on my to see list, it would be so much cooler to find it here in Newton. I missed the bird last year up by Forest Grove Reservation that was found by Jane.  If I can steal away for a few minutes I'll see if I can stop by this evening to try for this bird.

Update: I just heard that Haynes and a couple other birders refound the bird at at about 9:30am

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Beautiful Easter Morning...some Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and others...

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
I arrived at the park around 8:00 a.m. It was 42 degrees, clear and sunny. A great day to go birdwatching! I was greeted by a titmouse foraging near the parking lot.

Of course the tree swallows are out and about. Some of them have started to bring nesting material into their summer homes. We haven't even cleaned the boxes out yet. But they don't like to waste any time.

Surprisingly, the lower gardens was fairly quiet. Somehow I thought because it was so nice out, it would  a lot more active. Saw robins, goldfinches, blue jays, a grackle warming in the sun, white throated sparrows and house finches. I did see a house sparrow with nesting material, and I suspect it is building a nest in the upper gardens as I saw the male up there.

In the upper gardens, were more tree swallows, white-throated sparrows, song sparrows, robins, a brown-headed cowbird, a tree sparrow, and a house wren. At the invasive pull yesterday, I had seen the house wren in the lower gardens and heard it's lively song, so was glad it was still there. I heard some funny noises near the bee hives and went to investigate. It sounded like zeeee, zeeee and then I caught a brief glimpse of a blue-gray gnatcatcher with it's long tail and white markings. There were at least two. I ran into Ian, who had seen a field sparrow in the lower gardens as well as a kinglet and palm warbler and heard the pine warblers calling in the woods by the JCC.

Showing off a bit of the red crown
The soccer field had at least 26 robins on the field. Must be a great treasure trove of earth worms. A cardinal, brilliant red in the sunlight sang out and a downy woodpecker was working away on a tree trunk.

A mourning dove was singing it's plaintive song while a red-winged blackbird called out. A mallard couple floated by in the river. No sign of the phoebe still, but the nest looks all built up and ready to go. I had brief sighting of a very interesting sparrow - I would have guessed a Lincoln because of it's fine streaking on the side, but I didn't see it long enough to be able to truly be able to identify.

Woodcock meadow turned out to be the hot spot today. I saw two palm warblers in fine breeding colors and then a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I was most pleased as I heard it's song first and then found it. Auditory skills are not my forte, so I was happy that at least something is sinking in! First it was in a cypress and then it moved to some birch trees where it was having a field day with the catkins along with several chickadees. As I wandered further down the path, a flicker flew up from the ground with it's bright colors showing. A Carolina wren called from the woods.

Ian also pointed out that suddenly, the juncos are gone! They were there last weekend. We get so used to them in the winter and then suddenly they move on. It always seems a bit of a surprise.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Always the first to stake their claim!

I'll take it!
7:00 a.m., 45 degrees and clear.

There were lots of juncos combing the meadow near the parking lot. Spring was definitely in the air as there was much singing and excitement as goldfinches, blackbirds, song sparrows, chipping sparrows and titmice all tried to impress their future mates.

The tree swallows have been doing much investigating in the real estate market. This one seems pretty certain about this house as it guarded it's new property like a sentinel.

There was quite a flock of beautiful, crisp white-throated sparrows singing and flying about near the golf course side of the lower gardens. The goldfinches have turned bright yellow and when Ian arrived, we spotted one of the male towhees foraging in front of us and heard another. I've heard the call before, but for me, it was the first time I heard it's lovely song.

The upper gardens were much the same with the addition of cardinals, robins, a flicker, chickadees, mourning doves and a downy woodpecker.

The soccer field was filled with robins and a cardinal couple. I searched the pond for the wood duck I thought was nesting there, but no sign of them. The phoebe nest is looking very built up and ready for action, but no sign of the phoebes although I know they were seen by Haynes.

Please feel free to join us April 19th from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the lower gardens for one of two invasive cleanups this spring. Bring your own tools and gardening gloves. Don't forget to dress in long pants and socks as the park definitely has deer tics. We'll have a dumpster for disposing of larger branches etc. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

They're baaack

A walk through the park this morning revealed the first warblers of the season, a pair of bright yellow Palm Warblers in the leaflitter in woods next to the SE corner of the upper garden. Also present there was a Fox Sparrow.

The unmown Wildflower Field lured in a spring Field Sparrow. A couple of Coopers Hawks were patrolling the area. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Changing the guard

Thursday, April 3: nice morning walk through the park. The Tree Swallows are back in force, and a Phoebe is fixing up the nest at the nature center. I caught sight of one of the overwintering Towhees at the end of the upper garden. Not far off was a Fox Sparrow, newly arrived all over Eastern Mass. I also heard a Red-shouldered Hawk call from the river. The Downy Woodpeckers are being very public - I saw 8 of them - and a Brown Creeper allowed a view in the woods. On the other hand Juncos and a Tree Sparrow are still around.

The Wildflower Field was not mown in the fall. I wonder what effect that will have this summer.