Sunday, May 31, 2015


Tom Turkey
Got to the park this morning around 8:00. It was 68 degrees and cloudy as it had rained earlier.

In the parking lot, I was greeted by catbirds and a nuthatch and headed into the lower gardens. Saw some robins, yellow warblers, cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, tree swallows and goldfinches. Tomatoes, flowers and vegetables of all kinds have been planted and are starting to take off, even though it's still pretty early. A blue heron flew overhead.

Checked out the oriole nest for little Henry, but the parents must have been out looking for food, although I could hear some orioles calling to each other. A blue heron flew overhead. Some very large mourning doves perched together on a horizontal pole.

I was happy to see more song sparrows today. There seemed to be plenty of them. I kept thinking of the Joni Mitchell song "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone". Seeing so few early in the spring was a little scary, but I think they're o.k. A crow was getting mobbed by at least ten birds of different types, but they were high up and it was hard to tell who they were.

I thought I'd take the new path this morning and immediately ran into Tom turkey (photo above) and his wife. I quickly turned around as I didn't want to take any chances that he might think I was competition for his girl. They can be very dangerous if upset. He was quite debonaire looking. Contrary to others who think turkeys might be ugly, I love them. For anyone who thinks they aren't smart, they should watch the documentary "My Life As a Turkey". It gives one a much better understanding of turkeys.

Wild Rose
The upper gardens were much the same with orioles, tree swallows, grackles, house wrens etc. I kept hearing an Eastern phoebe, but never did locate it.

At the soccer field area I could hear a peewee calling from the woods near the JCC as well as a warbling vireo. The yellow warbler nest has virtually disappeared. It's so amazing. I saw them building it, took pictures and still can't find it now that the shrub has leafed out. Lots of robins, tree swallows, mourning doves and grackles.

I was hoping for the wood ducks again, but no luck there. However the mallard and her 9? little babies was there. Her husband was nearby, but obviously not into child care.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Busy times

Busy times this morning at Nahanton Park.
The very conspicuous Baltimore Oriole nest in the small tree next to the lower garden is quite active. Here's mom with a worm ....

 diving into the nest to be sure it gets delivered ....

Little Henry pokes his head out!

Mom says, "Not yet, son!" and leaves with some housekeeping in her bill.

The bugs were out too, and not just mosquitos ....

I believe this is a Little Glassywing, a type of skipper butterfly. I found it in the upper field, along with the male Stream Cruiser below.

There were lots of these Little Wood-satyrs around the lower garden.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Wood Ducks

Dad checking on young
It was 58 degrees at 7:00 a.m., clear and sunny.

The lower gardens are looking much more active now that the weather has warmed up and the gardeners are in full swing. Of course we had our tree swallows busy with raising their families, but also had cowbirds, house wrens singing, song sparrow couples, crows, robins and blue jays. Yellow warbler couples were also very present and busy in addition to catbirds and goldfinches.

The Baltimore oriole nest is so visible, I had to stand and watch for a while. At first the parents were busy finding food, but eventually they each came back and took turns feeding the babies in the nest. Haynes had mentioned that there were several American Redstarts and I just barely caught a glimpse of one as it whizzed past me.

Mom ready for her turn
The upper gardens had much the same as the lower. I like to check out the hole in the broken birch where the chickadees were exploring earlier in the spring and sure enough, out flew a chickadee so I guess they really did decide to nest there. I wasn't sure... The male grosbeak was singing up a storm. At first, he was foraging low to the ground which was fun to watch, as mostly he is perched high up in the tree tops. He did end up there singing for quite a long time. A warbling vireo warbled away in the woods. The peewee has made it's way back to the woods behind the upper gardens and was singing in one of the large oak trees. He was visible on a dead branch which is so often where you see them.

In the pond, I was surprised to see three male wood ducks, very brightly colored, calmly swimming around. I thought for sure my mere presence from quite a distance would frighten them which in a way it did. They didn't fly away, but quietly swam out of sight. A mother mallard hung around the edge of the pond feeding with her many baby ducklings. No sign of the muskrat or beaver. Turtles sunned themselves on a dead log at the far end.

Woodcock meadow was quiet - a few robins, a house wren, catbirds and a pair of mourning doves.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Turkeys and Trash

Here's our park: A Wild Turkey lurking in the Artemesia, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the flowering trees near the lower garden ....but also trash, old (in the woods near the upper field) and new (at the entrance to the beatuiful new pathway at the lower garden) ... posted by Haynes despite listing at bottom.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Flycatchers and Warblers

Breezy morning at Nahanton Park, but some exciting birds. At the lower garden, both the "Traill's" Flycatchers were calling: a Willow and an Alder. This was the Willow Flycatcher. And at the Nature Center the Blackburnian Warbler below was singing loudly.

Complete list at

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What could be better than one lady slipper?

Twin Lady slippers
What could be better than one lady slipper? How about two together?

It was 60 degrees and hazy sun.

It's starting to look a lot like spring in the gardens. There were lots of robins, tree swallows, yellow warblers, catbirds, chickadees and sea gulls overhead. A vireo passed by me a couple of times with nesting material. There were mourning doves and female blackbirds. The baltimore orioles are building their nest in the same tree, which sadly has been girdled. Happy to see song sparrows, which I had so taken for granted in the past.

The upper gardens ad more of the same with the addition of a warbling vireo, house wrens, a flicker and a common yellow throat.

I have a feeling it's going to be a very bad year for the trees because there seems to be a caterpillar boom. It sounded like it was raining in the woods and it was really caterpillar excrement falling from the canopy and making a little noise when it landed on other leaves. Nasty.

Down by the river, there were lots of orioles, cowbirds and chickadees. Still no sign of the phoebes working on their usual nest. Wonder what's going on...

Woodcock meadow had a house wren and some catbirds and I finally heard the wood thrush in the woods by then JCC. At last!!!!! Also saw a red breasted grosbeak, a red-bellied woodpecker and heard our little peewee! Then I came upon the lady slippers in full bloom!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day Bird Walk with Haynes Miller and Alison Leary

We had a great day for the Mother's Day Bird Walk. For one thing, it wasn't raining. It was sunny and pleasant and we had a large turnout of over 18 people.

We started by the river where we saw black & white warblers, common yellowthroats, barn swallows, kingbirds, orioles, warbling vireos, yellow warblers, cardinals and blue gray gnatcatchers.

The pond was rather quiet, but in the soccer field area, we saw a yellow warbler building a nest in the same area that we saw one last year, red winged blackbirds, more black & white warblers, Baltimore orioles, cowbirds, house wrens, chickadees, yellow rumped warblers and some saw a Rose breasted grosbeak.

The lower gardens yielded more barn swallows, lots of yellow warblers, goldfinches, and a red-eyed vireo. One thing that was very noticeable was the lower numbers of song sparrows overall. They have been so abundant in the past, that there seems to be a decrease in their numbers here. Wonder what's going on...

In the upper gardens, we were finally rewarded with a grew view of the Rose-breasted grosbeak. It took a while to find it, but once we did, it was glorious - singing atop a tall tree.

Here is the official list of birds seen from Haynes:

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  4
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  4
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) (Colaptes auratus auratus/luteus)  2
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  8
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  2
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  5
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  12
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  5
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  15
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  10
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  4
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  5
Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)  2
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  12
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) (Setophaga coronata coronata)  6
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  6
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)  6
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  6
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  6
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  16
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  5

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Elusive Warbling Vireo

One of our Warbling Vireos Singing
57 degrees on a sunny Sunday.

The lower gardens were filled with tree swallows, robins, chipping sparrows, yellow warblers and house wrens. Titmice, catbirds, song sparrows, cardinals, chickadees, blue jays and goldfinches were also present. Spring is heating up!

In the upper gardens, I saw a Baltimore oriole couple and this beautiful Warbling vireo singing. A red-winged blackbird was yakking and I had another opportunity to see some yellow rumps. Had a nice view and first sighting of some blue-gray gnatcatchers as well.

Soccer field was quiet except for some robins, orioles and yellow warblers.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My first yellow rump sighting

Chipping Sparrow
At 6:45 a.m. it was cloudy but clearing and about 48 degrees.

The tree swallows and some cardinals greeted me in the parking lot and lots of yellow warblers singing. The lower gardens had our usual residents - robins, blue jays, song sparrows and our summer residents - cowbirds. A bright, crisp chipping sparrow was hanging out in a crabapple tree.

The upper gardens were much the same with the addition of some titmice, Canada geese overhead, catbirds, chickadees, and my first yellow rumps of the season. Yay!! I saw one unusual one that had a yellow throat. I poured through  my Sibley guide and it seemed to be the Audubon, although I hear they are rare around here, but it's the only thing that matched what I saw. In addition, there were goldfinches, downy woodpeckers and more cowbirds.

Saw an eastern phoebe down by the river, but not sign of it nesting yet. Woodcock meadow was quiet save for a downy, chipper and mourning dove.

The soccer field had a kinglet, blue heron, red-bellied woodpecker and Haynes saw a muskrat or beaver in the pond.

A new path!

The Boyscouts have rebuilt the path system above the lower garden: the old access road up towards the brick building, a cross path over to the edge of the golf course, and a winding pathway back to the side of the lower garden. It's wonderful! A tremendous addition to our park. Thank you!

A morning circuit with Suzette, Ian, and David, brought 34 species. Newcomers: two singing Baltimore Orioles, lots of Gray Catbirds, and a Black-and-white Warbler. Also we refound the Field Sparrow pictured by Suzette last week (or another bird; but at exactly the same spot).

The criminal vandalism of the Ailanthus tree near the lower garden plots has continued: the original girdling has been enlarged. You can see the pile of sawdust at the base of the tree. 

We encountered  a sleepy pair of racoons high in the tree screen between the soccer field and the pond.