Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

View of Little Bay from Great Bay NWR
Dropped the girls off at Water Country, had a few hours to kill, why not visit nearby Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge?

Former Weapons Storage Area
The parking area fronts the glorious fenced-in "Former Weapons Storage Area," which has reverted to scrubland with a few osprey nests scattered about. Apparently the iconic water tower will be coming down. (Bird-strike hazard). 
Lichened fence post
I am quite fond of ruined areas. Does this make me some kind of Romantic?

Ferry Way Trail
It doesn't take long to get into the delightful hickory-oak forest. Not much activity (a scarlet tanager and great-crested flycatcher or two) but I didn't expect much. The shag-barks were dropping nuts on the trail (I was a little worried I'd get beaned).

Great Blue Heron on Little Bay
Followed a well-travelled though apparently unofficial trail down to the shore. I was amazed by the quiet. Great blue heron actively hunting. A couple of spotted sandpipers teetered on the rocks. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunkhaze Meadows NWR

Sunkhaze Meadow
Sunkhaze Meadows
An overnighter in Bangor allowed for a quick early morning excursion to nearby Sunkhaze Meadows NWR, host to many breeding warblers and even some boreal species.  I didn't make it very deep into the refuge (minivan vs foggy unpaved roads), stopping at the first and best documented trail, at Carter Meadow Road. The road leads to a relatively short loop through boggy woods to an observation deck overlooking the wetlands.

Here is the aural documentation.
Very quiet except for some cars passing in the distance. Mostly marsh wren and swamp sparrow song.
Swamp Sparrow (young)
Swamp Sparrow (young)
 Hermit thrush song was everywhere (you can even hear it a little in the recording above.)

Woods off of Carter Meadow Rd
Woods and brook ajacent to Carter Meadow Road
I spent a bit of time with one particular songster (a red-eyed vireo, practically inevitable in the woods this time of year, added his particular "charm").
I didn't stumble across any boreal species, but warbler song (particularly northern parula) was all around and ravens could be seen flying up and down the main refuge road.

Carlton Pond
Carlton Pond (marshy side)
Later, I stopped with my folks to check out the impressive Carlton Pond WPA area but flying, biting insects and lack of kayaks prevented much exploration. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Children of the Charles River Peninsula

Box 11, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
The last two nesting attempts, tree swallow and eastern bluebird, are proceeding without problem. (When it gets cooler I will deal with the wasps in the box up top).

Meanwhile, the oriole children are exploring the meadow edges. Eating berries.

Orchard Orioles, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
And two yellow warbler children (from the nest already documented here) are hanging in the brush near the water
Juvenile Yellow Warbler, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
waiting for their father to come feed them.
Today's jaw-opener: a huge dark bird (probably a juvenile bald eagle) passing over the Needham town dump. Didn't expect to see that!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Transition time

Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Today was clean up time at the CRP. Boxes scrubbed and disinfected, except those infested by wasps and ants. Those will have to wait.
Gotta love the front-opening box 
The new tree swallow nest already has three eggs (it's also infested by ants, which may not bode well). The new bluebird chicks have just hatched. Everyone else is done for the year. I counted over two dozen tree swallows beginning to stage on the power lines above the property.

Red-winged blackbirds on the dead young shag-bark hickory
The property generally is owned by red-winged blackbirds and their myriad youngsters right now.

And milkweed, to the joy of bumblebees.

Elsewhere, new nesting boxes at Ridge Hill. A perfect complement to the flowing native grasses in the meadow. The tree swallows and bluebirds have already discovered them.
Female eastern bluebird on brand new nesting box, Ridge Hill Reservation, Needham, MA
I wonder if we can get in a bluebird brood before the end of the summer.