Sunday, June 3, 2018

A beautiful, but quiet day...

Lady slipper Orchid
7:30 a.m. 59 degrees and sunny. Surprisingly quiet, for such a beautiful day.

The first thing I did when I arrived was check out the lady slippers. (see Haynes' photo from previous post). They usually bloom slightly before Memorial day, but I wanted to see if they were still out and if there were any more than the one that I saw a few weeks ago. I'm happy to report that this time I was able to locate three of them which means a few were missing from what we saw last year, but at least we weren't down to only one. A pee wee called from the JCC area.

I also saw a few weeks ago these precious little white wildflowers which I'm having trouble identifying, but I will keep on looking. If anyone knows, please leave me a comment.

White wildflowers
It was a very quiet day considering how beautiful it was. The birds must be either nesting or taking care of their young or done! The lower gardens had what one would expect - robins, house wrens, yellow warblers, tree swallows, catbirds, song sparrows and cardinals.

The meadow is sporting a few wildflowers despite the overwhelming majority of artemisia. I saw white daisies, one yellow coreopsis and some white fleabane.

The upper gardens had mostly the same birds as the lower with the addition of some orioles, chimney swifts overhead and goldfinches.

Down by the soccer field and pond area I think I heard a Great crested flycatcher. Has anyone else heard it? I wasn't 100% sure. There were some bull frogs singing from the pond, a warbling vireo and some grackles.

House Wren
I tried to find the cuckoos that Haynes saw last week, but couldn't find them. However, there was a very vocal warbling vireo in a tree next to the dock and for 10 minutes I tried to find him. I never did see him, but in my search, I discovered its hanging nest, so that was nice. A couple of Canada geese cruised up river and a crow and jay were making a bit of a racket. A red-winged blackbird perched on a low branch nearby.

Woodcock meadow was quiet save for a house wren and some song sparrows.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Beautiful morning at Nahanton Park. The surprise was this pair of Yellow-billed Cuckoos, apparently nesting along Florrie's Path. Beyond the two trees fallen across the path (and not yet cleared by the city) there is a ten foot high snag on the river side of the path, with a hole near the top (maybe a chickadee nest). The birds were in the canopy just beyond.

The bloodroot by the pond is looking great, and the ladyslippers are blooming in the usual place!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers Day surprises

Every year Alison Leary and I lead a Mothers Day bird walk at Nahanton Park. This year we had quite a large and enthusiastic group, and found some interesting birds. We encountered about 35 species of which nine were warblers, including Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, Canada, and Wilson's.  

I was too busy to take any photos till after the walk was over, when I found this second Canada Warbler along Florrie's Path.

At the end of the upper (Woodcock) field, a brown bird flushed out of a tree and into the tree screen in front of the parking lot. Black-billed Cuckoo!

Soon after, I relocated the Chestnut-sided Warbler ....

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Grim discovery, but happy goings ons too!

Dead Seagull found on outskirts of pond area
7:00 am, 60 degrees and partly sunny.

The yellow warblers are back and singing away!! They're such cheerful little birds.

Lower Gardens: I ran into a man named Bill, who had arrived earlier. He was taking pictures with a huge lens and tripod. He had seen some black & white warblers and an oven bird which unfortunately, I was not able to locate. However, I did see the following: a VERY colorful white-throated sparrow, house finches, tree swallows, robins, goldfinches, cowbirds, blue jays, (2) house wrens checking out the bird boxes that the tree swallows are staking out, an oriole male, catbirds, gulls overhead and cardinals.

The upper gardens had similar fare with the addition of several red-winged blackbird couples, chickadees and song sparrows. One of the gardeners has several feeders up and they were all having a field day.

The soccer field/pond area had some downies, a nuthatch, a blue heron flying overhead and a beautiful male towhee. So, I guess he's still here!

I saw signs of large gray wings back in the brush and worried it was a dead blue heron. I had to scramble through crabapple and cat briar thorns to get to the bird. It was a dead seagull. When you see them up close, you realize just how large they are. It was very sad and I have no idea what happened. It's head was in a strange position and I wondered if it had somehow broken its neck.

Down by the river, the barn swallows are back flying under the bridge where we usually see them. I found out an interesting fact last night at the Newton Conservators dinner. Peter Alden, the guest speaker informed us that there is a huge decline in barn swallows due to people painting their barns. Apparently, their type of nests do not stick well to painted wood - only to natural wood.

Make sure to come to Haynes and Alison's Mother's Day bird walk on Sunday, May 13th at 8:00 a.m. Meet at the Nahanton St. entrance. It's always a special treat.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

They sure are coming!!

Hermit Thrush
40  degrees and sunny at 8:30 a.m.

The lower gardens were actually a lot quieter than I expected. Some of our regulars were there - robins, tree swallows, blue jays, goldfinches, song sparrows, cardinals, chickadees, a junco and some grackles flying overhead. On my way back a red-winged blackbird couple were hanging out near the parking lot.

The upper gardens had much the same with the addition of a flicker, a white throated sparrow kicking up lots of leaf litter and this fabulous hermit thrush which Haynes saw last weekend. I haven't seen one in a couple of years so it was most exciting.

In the woods adjacent to the soccer field parking and on the same side as the upper gardens, the hermit thrush reappeared with some ruby-crowned kinglets, an eastern phoebe and what I thought was a black-throated green warbler if that's possible at this time of year. It certainly looked like one, but only had a second to look at it before it flew off.

How exciting that Haynes saw the palm warblers! I was half expecting to see a few since the day was so beautiful, but didn't.

Near the pond was another kinglet flitting around in  the low brush and a red-winged blackbird was singing. I think there may have been 3 or 4 today.

Woodcock meadow had several tree swallows and high up in a tree at the forest edge were cowbirds - 2 males and a female.

Yippee!!! Things are heating up in the bird world.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

First warblers

Comparatively warm and sunny day today at NP. Great to find two Palm Warblers along Florrie's Path. The hotspot today was the woods adjacent to the lower garden parking lot. There I found a pair of Hermit Thushes, an Eastern Phoebe, a Hairy Woodpecker, and a Brown Creeper. I've had Brown Creeper exactly here before; maybe they like this spot.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Winter's end

Not quite spring yet, but signs of winter's end. Here's an Eastern Comma, wakened from hibernation by the warm weekend weather.

And the Tree Swallow have returned ....

... but the White-throated Sparrows are still around:

How about a spring clean-up at NP some time. The serial storm damage from this winter is bad enough without adding to it random human trash ...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Storm damage

As Suzette said, these Nor'easters have done quite a bit of damage to the park. The screen between the soccer field and the path continues its decline.

Not too many birds around this morning; the best find was a Fox Sparrow, as usual at the end of the upper ("Woodcock") field. It gave a better photo op this time.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

After the Storm...

Singing Song Sparrow
8:30 a.m. 40 degrees and cloudy.

I went to the park to check out the effects of the crazy Nor'Easter we had on Friday. There were several big trees down, but mostly in the soccer field/pond area. Between the rain loosening roots and the wind, this particular storm seemed to bring down a lot of very large trees.

Tufted Titmouse
I started in the lower gardens where the song sparrow pictured at left was singing away. There were a couple of blue jays, a cardinal singing choo, choo, choo, some chickadees, tufted titmice and robins. A couple of seagulls flew overhead as well as some noisy grackles.

The upper gardens had much the same with addition of some white-throated sparrows, Canada geese flying over head and a beautiful red-tailed hawk circling high in the sky.

Bee Hive Protection
D. Reilly's beehives are obviously very well protected this year. I've never seen them so well-packed with insulation and wraps etc. That should help them survive until warmer weather. I was hoping to see the Eastern Towhee that Haynes has been seeing, but no such luck today so I headed down to the river.

The pond area was very quiet. This is where several large trees had crashed to the ground, some of them blocking the path. However the soccer field was covered with robins. In deference to Haynes, I tried to count them and got to at least 55+ robins. Wow! I was also surprised to see several cedar waxwings flitting about in the brush (see picture at right below)!

The river seemed the most active location by far. Grackles were flying back and forth across the river (which is quite high as you can imagine). Several chickadees were calling as well as titmice. I saw my first chipmunk of the season scurrying through some brush. An American Tree sparrow landed on a branch right in front of me and a silly robin was singing. It barely opened it's beak, so at first I thought I was imagining things, but if I looked really closely, I could see it's chest heaving up and down. Even saw a few juncos flashing the white on their tails. They were busy foraging on the ground near the nature center with a group of song sparrows. A couple of goldfinches made themselves known when they landed nearby.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Cedar Waxwings
There were two red-bellied woodpeckers that I could hear. One was on the park side of the river (pictured at left) and the other across the river. He was very busy drilling into this dead old trunk.

I think it would be worth a trip at sunset to see if the woodcocks have started their displays. Maybe I'll give it a try tonight or this week.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sparrow Smorgasbord

Quick pass through the park on this beautiful morning brought a whole bunch of sparrows ... Song Sparrow and Junco, of course, but also single White-throated Sparrow (upper garden), American Tree Sparrow (ice on pond), Fox Sparrow (end of upper field), and Eastern Towhee (upper garden).

Saturday, February 24, 2018


The Song Sparrows were singing this morning at Nahanton Park. I met up with Paul and we walked through the park. The most exciting place was the back of the upper garden, where we found two Golden-crowned Kinglets and this early Eastern Towhee.