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