Sunday, April 24, 2016

Winter doldrums are over!! Season firsts, at least for me!

Savannah Sparrow
It was 44 degrees at 7:30 a.m. Clear and sunny. A perfect day to see if any newcomers had arrived from a few weeks ago.

I was greeted by a tuftie singing high up in a tree right at the beginning of the path to the lower gardens. I was sad to see that someone had run over a small garter snake. I hate that. The tree swallows were in great abundance as well as blue jays and robins. A downy woodpecker was busy extracting seeds from a weed. Sparrows were out in full force, from this Savannah sparrow, to song sparrows to white-throated sparrows. Goldfinches were very busy foraging.

 I saw my first catbird of the season. They're so lovable and tame. Don't seem to be the least bit disturbed by admiring birders. A cowbird couple prowled around nearby.

I headed up to the upper gardens to see what might be happening up there. A gardener was busy with spring clean up and a few bulbs had escaped and were blooming in the scrub. Nature is so interesting and beautiful. Of course, it goes without saying that there were several tree swallows and song sparrows here as well.

The oaks are flowering and I swear I heard some kind of high-pitched warblish sounds high up in the trees, but I couldn't catch a glimpse of them at all, so I really can't say.  The I caught a glimpse of a thrush. I think it was a hermit thrush, but possibly a wood thrush? It was very quiet so I'm leaning towards hermit, but if anyone can confirm from my picture below, it would be much appreciated.

A blue heron flew overhead. Titmice were flitting about in the woods at the back of the garden. And then I heard another first for me this spring - a house wren.

Hermit Thrush?
House Wren
I cut through the woods to head down to the soccer field. A red-winged blackbird was singing. There were two male mallards looking very bright and regal and in tandem, they would dive. Bottoms up!

Mallard Males
I always check to see how the bloodroot is doing and it's finally coming up. The bloodroot in my garden at home is always a few weeks ahead. I guess it's the shady environment where it grows at Nahanton.

The river was more active then I've seen it in a while. Surprised that I haven't seen the Eastern phoebe couple that usually starts nesting on the Nature Center eaves. Are they unhappy about the new paint job? There were red-bellied woodpeckers, downies, bluejays, song sparrows, goldfinches and possibly some warblers that again, I couldn't get a good look at.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
In woodcock meadow, I walked by a tree where I heard tiny little noises and a beautiful song. At first, I thought it was a blue-gray gnatcatcher, except the song didn't seem quite right. I know they have the "see-saw" buzz, but the little trill afterwards wasn't a gnatcatcher. That much I knew. I stood there for ages and went round and round the tree trying to see what was in there. There were several birds, but they were extremely hard to spot. Finally, I saw them! Several ruby-crowned kinglets and some of them were showing the brilliant red crown. This picture isn't great, but I was surprised anything turned out. They really don't sit still for a second.

Can't wait to go back next week and looking forward to the Mother's Day Bird Walk led by Haynes Miller and Alison Leary on May 8th at 8:00 a.m. Meet at the Nahanton St entrance.