Friday, October 8, 2010

Walking to the Charles River Peninsula

Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA

A beautiful day after a week of rain. The car in the shop. I decided to walk to the Charles River Peninsula.

By car it takes about seven minutes from my house. Walking would take somewhat longer. I planned out my trip: I'd enter the Needham Town Forest along its southern border and follow trails until I got close. Then I'd switch to the train tracks.

I usually avoid the Town Forest. Unleashed dog city most days. But the southern section is less traveled and delightfully rocky. And birdy.

First sighting of note: a palm warbler preening itself in the shade. I love the puffed-up tiny-head version of this bird.

And hello there, little garter snake. Don't you look all fierce.

This time of year the chickadees and titmice usually let you know where the migrating birds are. I stumbled upon a mixed flock that included a peeping brown creeper (why can't I ever get these birds in clean focus?)

and what I initially took for a Nashville warbler, but now think was a fall northern parula. What do you think?

Then it was onto the old abandoned railroad tracks.

I had followed the tracks earlier in the year between Fisher St. and Haven St. in Dover. This section was harder, more overgrown and a little more intrusive in respect to adjacent properties. At one point I was followed by a couple of snarling terriers (I put on my best mean face and charged after them--that sent them running home... I didn't want them to get lost following me...)

At long last I arrived at the Charles River Peninsula. Greeted, as usual this time of year, by the charming bluebird family hanging out on the shag-bark hickory at the top of the hill.

Flocks of palm warblers today, not just individuals.

And this curious bird (one of two of the same type) that was hanging out in the riverside foliage. This is the dreaded fall dendroica warbler puzzle. Two clear wing bars. Either pine or blackpoll. Unless they are our friends the yellow-throated vireos, though I don't see spectacles and the beak shape seems wrong.

While I was standing watching the curious birds, an acorn dropped from an oak tree overhead. I heard it as it crashed through the foliage. Would it hit me in the head? No, it landed right in my hand, which was just hanging by my side. Fell right in it without me moving at all. It is now my lucky acorn.

Lucky indeed. On the way back, I saw my first yellow-rumped warbler of the season.

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