Sunday, October 27, 2013

Goodbye, October

Foliage reflected in Charles River
One final October post, before the best month of the year leaves us for a while. 
Eastern Bluebird, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
One last bluebird photo before the meadow gets its annual mow.
Swamp Sparrow, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
One last swamp sparrow photo.

One last swamp sparrow video. (What a happy bird).

Coyote, Ridge Hill Reservation, Needham, MA
And, uh oh, hello coyote. Make that coyotes. The youngsters seen earlier in the year are now gangly grown-ups. Out in the open in the middle of the day. This could be an interesting November. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hello, Beaver

Millennium Park, West Roxbury, MA
It's sparrow season, so Millennium Park is a must these days. I didn't catch a glimpse of white-crowned, but song, savannah, chipping, white-throated, swamp, and even field (!) sparrows were there. Some bobolinks in the mix as well. On the mudflats were killdeer.
Charles River, looking across at Cutler Park
You get a real October-style dawn chorus too, with robins, song sparrows, and others singing and squawking. And lots of traffic noise roaring in the distance.

And, best of all, active beavers. If you are careful you can see them in the stream bordering the lower path. If they see you (or a dog or a jogger or a jogger with a dog) they may continue their swim underwater (which seems quite disturbing to ducks).
Beaver, Millennium Park, West Roxbury, MA
Beavers are truly large animals. When they stop swimming, as the case of the individual in the photo, there is a hippo-like quality to them. Below is the video version.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A special guest joins old friends for a splendid afternoon at the Charles River Peninsula

Charles River Peninsula, Needham, Ma
Leaves peaking. But I was in a gloomy work-related mood. I began my slow walk around the peninsula.
Pileated Woodpecker, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Mid-walk I heard a loud cry and I couldn't help smiling. A pileated. Same spot I'd seen it before, months ago.
Pileated Woodpecker attracts attention
I wasn't the only one paying attention. On the near-by tree-tops, a group of bluebirds, a phoebe, and a palm warbler (?) seemed to be watching it carefully. When the woodpecker flew off, so did they.
Eastern Bluebird, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
I caught up with our friends, the bluebirds, who were investigating a cavity in an old oak tree. Something seemed to be fascinating to them about it. Ample insects to eat? A future nesting spot? At any rate they kept returning to it over and over. See video below.
The day had turned splendid. Now I was ready to appreciate the foliage.
Redwing Bay Parking Lot, Needham, MA

Monday, October 14, 2013

Birding into the Sun

Cutler Park, Needham, MA
"No real birdwatcher would ever travel eastward in the morning," asserts a solution to an Encyclopedia Brown mystery that's always bothered me. Sometimes it can't be helped. As in a Sunday morning trip to Cutler Park in Needham to walk along the train track.
Cat tail fuzz-covered burrs
The sun is what baseball cap visors are for. I'll admit that birding is a bit challenging. But not impossible.
Swamp Sparrow
Surely you know the swamp sparrow in silhouette.
Swamp Sparrow
The bird of the day. Dozens and dozens of them.
Swamp Sparrow
A multitude of browns and grays. A bird that even color-blind me can fully appreciate.
Robin resting before resuming the chase
Amidst robin insanity. Almost constant chasing, three near misses--I was evidently in the way. They were going after blue jays and mourning doves too. And then one zoomed past screaming, diving into the brush. Everything went quiet. Accipiter in the vicinity I suspect.
Tree on fire, with red-winged blackbird
Ruby-crowned kinglets sub-singing. Plovers and sandpipers on the river mudflats. On the way back the sun acted as a blind. Young common yellowthroats inches away.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Oh October

Backlit Milkweed Explosion, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Oh October.
Black and Mallard Ducks, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Thoughts begin to turn to ducks.
Palm Warbler, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Palm warblers at eye level
Palm Warbler, Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
Glow bright yellow in the afternoon sun.
Garter Snake, Marblehead Neck Sanctuary, Marblehead, MA
This garter snake was in the middle of the trail.
Picture 13
Garter Snake, Marblehead Neck Sanctuary, Marblehead, MA
Its attack was unprovoked.
Wild Turkeys above my car, Needham, MA
The roar of grackles in the trees across the street. Two turkeys roosting on a branch above my driveway.
Wild Turkeys above my car, Needham, MA
Safe for the night.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Autumn scenes at the Charles River Peninsula

Charles River Peninsula, Needham, MA
It is autumn now. The leaves are turning. Yesterday the palm warblers arrived. Not a whole lot to say. Thought I would share some images from the past couple of weeks.
Poison Ivy
Milkweed and foliage
Fog on the meadow
More foliage