Monday, May 31, 2010
Common Tern, Barrington Beach, Barrington, RI
It may seem a little early to be turning the focus towards the water, usually a woods-are-full-of-bugs summer activity, but the sea and shore birds are here so let's take a look.
A couple of interesting finds. First, the sora on the marsh trail at Plum Island are defying expected behavior this year and are walking around in the open. I saw this one in the medium distance, took its photo, turned and realized I had missed one about five feet in front of me ON THE BOARDWALK.
The black-bellied plover are in fine form this time of year, striking even from long distances. And what's that smaller salmon-colored bird near by? I'm thinking red knot.
Also on the marsh trail,
Blue-winged teal (yes, I see you, sleepy male)
and an approachable least sandpiper.
Some necessary egret shots:
A snowy egret from Plum Island
A great egret from the bike trail in Riverside, RI.
Plum Island ibis, glossy I believe.
and a Plum Island willet.
Last shore bird: house sparrow (Barrington Beach).
Posted by Peter Oehlkers at 7:57 PM
Friday, May 28, 2010
Willow Flycatcher, Plum Island, Newburyport, MA
You've got to love the in-between periods, after the warblers and before full-on June child-rearing. Plum Island was stuffed yesterday with sneezy willow flycatchers, silent brown thrashers, and zzz-ing cedar waxwings.
I chased this Brown Thrasher up the Stage Island path.
And this was the only cedar waxwing who would comply with my photo wishes.
Posted by Peter Oehlkers at 9:01 AM
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Snapping Turtle, Willow Street, Dover, MA
I noticed the car up ahead of me swerve into the opposite lane. Interesting. Then I saw why. Here comes the snapping turtle slowly walking, elephant-like, across the road. And then it decides it will keep walking in my lane.
Here's the video.
Eventually it did cross over, enabling this lovely shot.
CRP News: Dragonflies, everywhere. Also, the Trustees came down with a mower yesterday and cut nice wide paths into the meadow.
Posted by Peter Oehlkers at 9:04 AM
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Bluegill, Charles River Peninsula canoe launch, Needham, MA
Today, a move from bird to fish nests. There is a cluster of bluegill nests in the shallow water off the canoe launch at the CRP. If you look closely you can see a nest below--a rocky depression in the water.
I sat and watched them for a little while this morning. Somehow watching a fish create and protect a nest makes me less interested in catching one.
Also of fish interest, this little guy. Anyone know what it is? [UPDATE: Pickerel]
On June 1, the nests were gone. It could be Memorial Day canoeing, but more likely people fishing. This is the evidence.
Yes, I know, Alarmed Robin, this is not as bad as the Gulf, or (even worse) the environmental degradation in some of the developing world, but it is a continuing sign of a troubling kind of ignorance about our relationship with the natural world.
Posted by Peter Oehlkers at 10:01 PM
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Savannah Sparrow, Millennium Park, West Roxbury, MA
Savannah sparrow, you're no clay-colored sparrow and your thin music sounds like a song sparrow run through a high-pass filter, but on a hot humid day, tall grass blowing in the small breeze, I adore you.
Posted by Peter Oehlkers at 4:10 PM
Sights and sounds of mid-May, mostly at the Charles River Peninsula.
In order: Wild turkey; great blue heron chased by red-winged blackbirds; yellow warbler; song sparrow waiting for me to go away as to not reveal nest; tufted titmouse begging; downy woodpeckers feeding chicks; family of canada geese.
Other CRP News: Yellow-throated Vireos continue. Line of oaks, second tree in. No bobolinks. Warblers: redstart, blackpoll. House sparrows, starlings have fledged.
Posted by Peter Oehlkers at 9:23 AM
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Bay-breasted Warbler female, Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Marblehead, MA
It happens quite often. I see a bird for the very first time one day and a day or two later I see it again. Today it was the bay-breasted warbler who flew into photo range. Below is a longer distance photo.
As always, quality warbler photos have been a real challenge this year (even the bay-breasted at top is out of focus if you look closely). Nevertheless, sometimes it feels good just to get anything at all. So here are some more warblers. Enjoy! [UPDATE: I added a few on May 28]
Magnolia Warbler, Marblehead Neck
American Redstart female, Marblehead Neck
Blurry shot of first year male Redstart showing odd markings
Posted by Peter Oehlkers at 6:13 PM
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Lady's Slipper, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Someone (I assume a Trustees naturalist?) is monitoring the CRP nest boxes. That would account for the dispossession of the house sparrow's home, pictured below.
I can't say that I feel too bad, given the sparrow's aggressiveness towards other birds and their tendency to take over. On the other hand, I had come to admire the tenaciousness of this pair.
In other nest box news: here's the house wren that has taken charge of a box on the northern edge of the property (the last two years I haven't seen wrens in the boxes until their second brood). The box is stuffed full of sticks, as you'd expect.
And the bluebirds seem to be hanging on (though I saw tree swallows in this box later). This guy has a beetle that is a little unmanageable.
The female yellow warblers continue to be as visible as their fellas. This one was interested in a spider web. She may have been snagging caught bugs, though I know some birds use spider web filaments in their nest-building.
Other CRP news. I saw blue-gray gnatcatchers for the first time on the property this year. Also red-eyed vireo. (I almost celebrated an every-vireo year, but then I remembered Philadelphia. Still a chance in September...) The yellow-throated vireos continue. The bobolinks were not present this morning.
Posted by Peter Oehlkers at 7:41 PM