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