Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Sunday in Sandwich

Celebratory Book Cake (I soon took the lower right corner)
Down at Green Briar to help Christie Lowrance celebrate her great new Thornton Burgess biography, I couldn't help dropping by the nearby Sandwich boardwalk...
View from Boardwalk 
I was happy to see yellowlegs were still on the scene (Burgess would hunt them in the marsh when he was young).
Plus some basic-plumaged laughing gulls.
I need to visit more often.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Early Autumn at Ridge Hill

Field View Trail, Ridge Hill Reservation, Needham, MA
Took my monthly Trail Steward tour through Ridge Hill this morning. Didn't feel like work. As soon as I got out of my car--chickadees! This time of year that can mean only one thing--warblers! And sure enough, in the cedars and hemlock, migrating pine, black & white, yellow-rump, Nashville, and even an early golden-crowned kinglet. A redstart along the fieldview trail. Another pocket of chickadee-led migrants along the Drumlin Trail added brown creeper and hermit thrush.

On my way out, I passed through waves of middle school students on their annual bio-blitz visit to the reservation. While I was happy to see them discovering life in the meadow, all I could think was--I hope their teachers will help them do a tick check.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A perfect hour on a September afternoon

Surprisingly reflective great blue heron on waterfall, Dover, MA
An hour to kill before after-school pick-up brought me to the Charles River Peninsula. The weather was perfect autumn. Sunny but cool in the shade. The air smelled of sugar.
Gray Catbirds, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Berries. Catbirds everywhere. A hermit thrush (not pictured but in the tree above also eating berries). A red-eyed vireo with a bright yellow under-tail. A migrating pine warbler.
Backlit Kestrel, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
The hour's real excitement, though, was a kestrel, flying between the oak grove and the utility poles.
Better lit though more distant Kestrel, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
The red-bellied woodpeckers and robins muttered their discontent but the bluejays were completely silent. A quiet mob that finally drove the kestrel from the property.
Better lit great blue heron
On the way out I watched the great blue heron stalking fish in the river. I'm looking forward to more hours like this.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Swallows return to the Charles River Peninsula

Charles River from Red-Wing Bay, Needham, MA
Swallows are making their annual late-summer appearance at the Charles River Peninsula. Northern rough-winged swallows, with their brown heads and "breet-breet" vocalizations.
Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
They wheel around the meadow and perch high on the electric wires over the river. Today there were about a dozen. Yesterday, more than fifty.
I stood on the stump of the old shag-bark hickory at the top of the hill and watched as they flew around me. An accipiter flew high above and the swallows flew up in a cloud and surrounded it, not so much mobbing as much as letting it know they knew it was there.
Today I walked down the train tracks to the trestle so see if I could get a closer look. No luck (sun was directly behind them) but it is always a pleasure to hang near the trestle.
After a short burst last week, general migration seems to have slowed down again. Except for catbirds. Easily 25 of them arrayed around the field eating berries.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Here comes fall migration!

Black-throated Green Warbler, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
It has begun. A couple of warblers and a singing yellow-throated vireo.
Northern Parula, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Birding life renewed.