Sunday, October 11, 2015

Lincoln Sparrow!

Lincoln Sparrow
I arrived at the park at 8:00. It was 49  degrees and sunny. A perfect October day!

I ran into Haynes and some other folks and we walked around together. In the lower gardens were robins and song sparrows, goldfinches, and some swamp sparrows. This lincoln sparrow was perched nearby and surprisingly got a halfway decent picture of him in his Harris tweed coat as Haynes likes to say. It was a good view of his buffy coloration near the breast. A flock of grackles flew overhead as well as some herring gulls. One of the first juncos to arrive was present joining our overwintering cardinals, blue jays and house finches.

As we headed to the upper gardens, we could hear a towhee calling "wheeeeet", although we never got to see him. I like to hope that we will have another overwintering towhee this year like we did a few years ago, but it's probably a long shot. There were some mourning doves, titmice and song sparrows. I caught a brief glimpse of a largish yellow bird which, thankfully, someone else witnessed too. After much discussion about it's yellow coloring and darkish gray wings, we finally settled on a female or young tanager. Cormorants in their "V" shape flew overhead. We saw a flicker and someone saw some black polls. Chippers foraged near the waste pile, chickadees hung upside down on sunflower heads trying to get the last of the seeds and a red-tailed hawk flew up above.

We revised the lower garden again and saw cowbirds, an eastern phoebe, yellow-rumps and a Merlin that flew quickly by, but all who saw it agreed that's what it was.

Down by the soccer field and pond area, was a red-bellied woodpecker, some nuthatches, robins, a hermit thrush (which only some saw), a female yellow-rump and a ruby-crowned kinglet!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Haynes' Fall Bird Walk sponsored by the Newton Conservators and the Friends of Nahanton Park

At 7:30 a.m., it was cloudy and 51 degrees - a good temperature to explore the park.

In the lower gardens, a few members of the group saw a blue-headed vireo which is always exciting. Unfortunately, I missed it. As we walked down the rows between the gardens, which are more floriferous than vegetable oriented at this point in the season, we saw some cowbirds, a savannah sparrow, swamp sparrows and chippers. Finally, I saw my first clay-colored sparrow which was absolutely beautiful! We saw a few yellow-rumps flitting here and there amongst the grasses and a ruby-crowned kinglet in the large, overgrown crabapple to the left of most of the plots. A red-tailed hawk was seen as well as some cedar waxwings. White-throated sparrows were present as well as some catbirds, song sparrows, chippers, blue jays, catbirds and goldfinches. A small flock of Canada geese flew overhead.

In the upper gardens. Hayes told us of a Saffron finch he had seen the previous weekend. It's not a bird anyone would ordinarily see here, as it is native to South America. What a spectacular bird! I hope it finds its way somewhere safe.

So, we didn't see the Saffron, but we did see some nuthatches, a phoebe, cardinals, chickadees, song sparrows, goodies, downies, jays and a flicker  - our normal fare - especially for this time of year.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fun Fall Feathers

The fall sparrows are finally coming in. Yesterday in the lower garden there was a White-crowned Sparrow, several White-throated Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows, and this morning I found a nice  Clay-colored Sparrow --

Yesterday there was also a beautiful Blackpoll Warbler,

and this bird in the upper garden --

This is a Saffron Finch. I saw a lot of them in Brazil in August, but this one is much bigger and brighter than what I remember. It's from a different subspecies, probably from Peru. This is a popular cage bird, in the news

because they are made to fight each other.