Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Song sparrow
It was 53 degrees, and cloudy at 7:00 a.m. It was raw and damp, but I wanted to catch up on my birding. Haynes and Chris H. had seen the gray-cheeked thrush and I was hoping I might get to see it, but alas, it was not to be...

In the lower gardens, I was greeted by our usual nesting tree swallows and numerous yellow warblers. The male and female oriole were about as well as chipping sparrows, robins, song sparrows, house wrens, seagulls overhead and a flicker foraging on the ground.

I could have sworn I heard the faint call of the cuckoo, but without someone else there, I didn't trust my sound perception in the case of something more unusual like a cuckoo.

Upper gardens: In addition to similar sightings from the lower gardens, there were some goldfinches, and a cardinal, In general, the park was pretty quiet today and who could blame the birds. It was a bit nasty out today.

Down by the soccer field, I heard my first wood thrush singing it's hauntingly beautiful flute-like song from the JCC woods. A warbling vireo was singing near the pond. I startled a female red-winged blackbird and a common yellow-throat sang from the brushy edge. Near the nature center, a pair of robins were busy feeding their young on the ground.

Woodcock meadow had some blue jays, house wrens, common yellow-throats, mourning doves and a turkey exploring the forest edge. An eastern phoebe called from some nearby shrubs, but never saw it.

No sign of flower stalks on the lady slippers. Is there a chance they might not bloom this year or are they just extraordinarily late?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cuckoos and other great birds!

Common Yellow-throat male
At 7:00 a.m., it was 49 degrees, clear and sunny.

I drove up around the same time as Haynes, so we walked around together and later connected with Ian down by the river.

It was a beautiful day and what could be better than starting off with the call of a cuckoo, which Haynes identified as the black-billed cuckoo. Later we saw the yellow-billed cuckoo high up in a tree by the river.

We've been keeping an eye on the lady slippers which seem far behind last years schedule. Where many plants have been unusually floriferous this spring, the lady slippers seem like they missed the snow cover and are unhappy and not as plentiful.

We also had a scheduled invasive pull organized by Katherine from Newton Conservators, which took place at the edge of Woodcock meadow. A good number of people showed up and pulled an amazing amount of garlic mustard.

Haynes' list:
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  1
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  10
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)  1     at river
Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus)  1     heard
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  3
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  4
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  3
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  3
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  12
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  3
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  5
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  16
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  8
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  2
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  1
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  12
Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)  1
Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  6
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)  3
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  1     f
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  4
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  2
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  1
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  10
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  3
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  1

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

One day of spring

Well, finally some nice weather. Tomorrow it'll be summer, but today it felt like spring at Nahanton Park. I got an early start and was rewarded with seven warbler species, including this pretty Magnolia

and a Chestnut-sided Warbler

But the real surprise was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Where's that Worm-eating warbler?

In search of the worm-eating warbler that I've been hearing about, I got to the park at 7:30 a.m. It was 54 degrees and sunny.

This was my second attempt to view it since Haynes and others had seen it earlier in the week, and also Saturday morning. The newly cleared out area at the Winchester St. entrance makes for a new place to bird watch which is fun. I saw this flicker across the road prepping a hole for a nest, but no sign of the warbler.
Baltimore Oriole

Apparently Ian and Mary Lou and several other people I met at the park today were looking for it as well, but did see a
scarlet tanager in the area. Sadly, I missed that too!

The lower gardens of course had our summer resident tree swallows. They're always the first birds you see and the yellow warblers were in great abundance.

Yellow warbler
Yellow-rumped warbler
A baltimore oriole couple has already built a nest in a tree in the lower gardens that has been used by orioles in the past. Before I forget, I will mention that I saw a couple of male hummingbirds in the gardens on Thursday, but no sightings today.

Saw goldfinches, catbirds and a rose-breasted grosbeak
male. A female cowbird was perched on a garden fence. I suppose she is waiting for the yellow warblers to build their nests so she can lay her eggs. There were some song sparrows as well. It's funny how they seem a little sparse at the beginning of the season, but later it will seem like they are everywhere.

In the upper gardens, a wren has picked out his nest box and keeps an eye on it constantly. I'm not sure if his lady has arrived yet, but he's ready when she does! Saw more palms and some yellow rumps in the area near the birch and beehives. Have been seeing several female red-winged blackbirds this spring as well as their beautiful male counterparts.  Canada geese and a hawk flew overhead. More orioles and a nuthatch...

Down by the soccer field were several grackles and lots of yellow rumps. I finally spotted a warbling vireo high up in an oak tree. There was another red-breasted grosbeak, several red-winged blackbirds and chickadees.
Blue Jay

Barn swallows were flying back and forth over the river and a couple of
blue jays perched in a nearby tree looking like they were surveying their territory.  In woodcock meadow there were song sparrows, eastern phoebes doing amazing acrobatics to capture yummy insects and surprisingly a couple of savannah sparrows in a pine tree. Titmice called out from theJCC woods. I believe I have seen the first signs of  lady slipper foliage poking up out of the leaves. They should be blooming in the next week or two.