Monday, June 30, 2014

Moose Hill Farm

Dickcissel (behind the grass)
Like half the birders in Massachusetts, it seems, I made the trip to Moose Hill Farm to enable a check to go into a box on a list in a book. What a pretty little cooperative bird. It was there at 6:30 a.m., immediately identifiable by sight and sound, posed for a few moments, and then flew off across the field. And then I was free to experience the other joys of Moose Hill, which are considerable. Near the dickcissel stake-out spot, for example, there was an eye-level oriole nest complete with loudly vocalizing nestlings.
Prairie Warbler (preening)
But it is the easement running through the Moose Hill Farm property that was the real revelation for me. Shrub-land of the sort that means eastern towhees, field sparrows, prairie warblers, and indigo buntings. And the reasonable imagination of golden-winged warblers (for me, on that day, just blue-winged). I was able to capture some of the magic in the video below. Listen to the field sparrow's loudly ringing song with a descending pattern perfectly complementing the prairie warbler's ascending chorus.

It is also a fine place to explore other dimensions of life. Especially wildflowers and butterflies.
Great Spangled Frittilary on milkweed blossoms
The friendliness of Moose Hill Farm to wildlife can be summarized by the following image:

Eastern Phoebe under the eaves of the Moose Hill Farm kiosk
This phoebe, on nest (and not moving off nest), making good use of the parking lot kiosk. 

Bluebirds! Season 4. Episode 11. Almost done.

Tree Swallow fledgling
Only four out of seventeen boxes at Charles River Peninsula are still active. Two bluebird nests (one with eggs, the other with chicks) and two tree swallow nests (both ready to go). I spent an afternoon last week cleaning out the finished boxes. Will go back and clean out the rest when the bluebirds have left.
Tree Swallow fledgling
I will miss the parental dive-bombing when these guys finally fledge. Perhaps the red-winged blackbirds can take up the slack. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bluebirds Season 4. Episode 10. Endings and New Beginnings.

Next year's Father's Day card
Four of the tree swallow nests have already fledged. I expect most of the others will fledge during the coming week. Thus ends the intensive nesting season at Charles River Peninsula. With an eventual quadrupling of the number of swallows floating over the property.
New Eastern Bluebird nest (5 eggs, 1 visible here)
But bluebirds brood twice around here so nesting itself will stretch into late July, even August. There are two new nests already. The box 4 nesters are back in the same location, with one egg so far. The box 13 nesters have moved on to a new (IMO horrible) location in the confines of the great leaning box 11. Even the tree swallows rejected that one. But it is too late. There are already 5 eggs.
Two bluebird fledglings and their dad
Meanwhile, the bluebird dads are busy keeping the young ones safe and happy. A week after leaving the nest, all four box 4 fledglings are still alive (two seen above).

As for Ridge Hill: 2 tree swallow nests with eggs. I seem to have dissuaded the house sparrows from nesting on the property.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bluebirds! Season 4. Episode 9. Empty Nest(s).

Empty Eastern Bluebird nest
Empty Eastern Bluebird nest
Empty Black-capped Chickadee nest

Empty Tree Swallow nest

Empty (but new!) Eastern Bluebird nest