Tuesday, August 25, 2015

8.18.15 - Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History - Tuesday Tweets - John Wing Trail
Brewster, MA

So much for wishing away mosquitoes...  Oh well.  Bird lovers have endured the annoyances of the trail, an off the trail, in order to sneak some moments in the birds' world.  We eventually found a breeze when we crossed the marsh and were treated to three BIG bird sightings (Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk )  We did have a great viewing of an Eastern Phoebe, who seemed to be posing for photos this way and that.  Pretty cute.  Most of the photos below are Rick's & are credited as such.  How do I thank you for those Rick?!  I greatly appreciate it.  I do not have the talent of taking a decent photo when I hear the mosquito buzzing in my ear.  My swatting instinct is too strong.  I love this weather, I just wish those stinkin' bugs didn't.  The birds are always there though.... (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
European Starling
Mourning Dove
Gray Catbird
Blue Jay
Common Yellowthroat - female
Red-winged Blackbird - male
Northern Cardinal - female&male
Eastern Phoebe
American Crow
House Sparrow
Black-capped Chickadee
American Goldfinch
Osprey
Great Blue Heron
Herring Gull
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Red-tailed Hawk
Tufted Titmouse
Mourning Dove playing Hide n' Seek

Mourning Dove (photo credit: RICK)

Gray Catbird (photo credit: RICK)

Gray Catbird

European Starlings 

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe (photo credit: RICK)

Tree struck by lightning recently
American Crow (photo credit: RICK)


American Goldfinch - male (photo credit: RICK)

Great Blue Heron (photo credit: RICK)

Northern Cardinal - male (photo credit: RICK)

Northern Cardinals - female & male (photo credit: RICK)

Gray Catbird (photo credit: RICK)

American Crow (photo credit: RICK)

Red-tailed Hawk (photo credit: RICK)

Northern Cardinal - female & male

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 9.8.15 9:30am $2Members/$4Non-members
Happy Birding!

Monday, August 24, 2015

8.24.15 - Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History - Painting Nest Boxes
Brewster, MA

When we can, it's a wonderful idea to give back to the birds.  Since there are four basic needs of every living thing (food/water/shelter/space) - why not provide some shelter for the birds, for nesting season, now and into the future, as well as providing a potential shelter from a storm.  I find painting relaxing and when we get to discuss birds and nests and bird houses, well you know I'm having a good time!  We use many recycled materials: paintbrushes of course, but I re-use plastic egg crates, which were made from recycled water bottles, which hold eggs laid by cage free chickens..... good stuff!  I put the rinse water in re-used yogurt cups and I always wait to see if we can share paint so not too much is used.  We also listen to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake while painting... music inspired by birds. 

These beautifully painted nest boxes are going to be perfect in the yard they're hung up in, and fantastic for the birds who choose them for their needs. (double click photos to enlarge)






Nice work young artists!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

8.18.15 - Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History - Tuesday Tweets - John Wing Trail
Brewster, MA

Man eating mosquitoes.  Holy moly you guys - THAT was a buggy walk!   I think every time I even think about this walk, I will swat one of my arms and start to scratch an ankle!  I felt SO BADLY that we were constantly swarmed!  I know there's nothing I can really do about the mosquitoes, and my bug spray was not working!   OK, enough about the bugs, but if you were there, you'd understand the craziness it was!  I did NOT want to leave the beach to head back into the woods after that walk. We all survived though and it was quite the American Goldfinch show!  They were singing and calling almost everywhere we turned this morning.

I did not get too many great photos, but Rick was there to save the day.  I've credited his photos below.  We had an amazing encounter with a juvenile American Goldfinch.  He let us get SO close!  With bird photography, your lens is set typically to so far away, that when they're close, you need to adjust the focus wicked fast... or the photo op is gone.  There are a couple of him below.  What a handsome fella!  When we arrived at the beach, we were surprised by the sight of four beautiful Canada Geese who politely decided to fly right by us on the beach.  I just couldn't beat that - walk was over.  We all preferred the honking of the geese, to the buzzing of the mosquitoes.  (double click photos below to enlarge)

Our List:
American Crow
American Goldfinch
Osprey
Barn Swallow
Herring Gull
Laughing Gull
Cooper's Hawk
Gray Catbird
Northern Flicker
Canada Goose
Least Tern

Osprey (photo credit: RICK)

Osprey (photo credit: RICK)

American Goldfinch - male

American Goldfinch - male/juvenile (photo credit: RICK)

American Goldfinch - male juvenile

Canada Geese

Canada Geese (photo credit: RICK)
SUCH a beauty!

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 8.25.15 9:30am  $2Members/$4Non-members
Happy Birding!

Monday, August 17, 2015

8.17.15 - Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History - Painting Nest Boxes
Brewster, MA

When we can, it's a wonderful idea to give back to the birds.  Since there are four basic needs of every living thing - why not provide some shelter for the birds, for nesting season, now and into the future, as well as providing a welcome shelter from a storm.  I find painting relaxing and when we get to discuss birds and nests and bird houses, well you know I'm having a good time!  We use many recycled materials: paintbrushes of course, but I re-use plastic egg crates, which were made from recycled water bottles, which hold eggs laid by cage free chickens..... good stuff!  I put the rinse water in re-used yogurt cups and I always wait to see if we can share paint so not too much is used.

These beautifully painted nest boxes are going to be perfect in the yard they're hung up in, and fantastic for the birds who choose them for their needs. (double click photos to enlarge)




Finished!

Next opportunity for painting nest boxes: 8.24.15 at 11:30am
Fee: Cost of museum admission + $4/nest box

Happy Birding young artists!

Friday, August 14, 2015

8.14.15 - Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History - KidSummer - Birding 101
Brewster, MA

It's no surprise that I get attached to the KidSummer Kids who've been placed in my care each week.  This week was no different.  One of my favorite aspects of spending time with children and doing my best to impart constantly growing bird & nature knowledge is that they are capable of learning so much in such a short amount of time.  By the end of the week, it's a collaborative effort and we're all learning things through observation and cross checking in our field guides.  It's fantastic being able to do what I get to do.  These KidSummer Kids were so enthusiastic about learning more of what Citizen Science is, why it's important and how they can directly help the birds.  I created an eBird account that these bird nerds can continue to access when they're at home, or traveling, or visiting wild places - even their school yards!

Our data was about to grow following our bird walk this morning.  Wait 'til they see the Wood-peewee that I mis-identified because we were too far away, and I'm always learning too!  Another reason being a bird nerd is so cool - it's educational, whether you realize it or not.  We had more great sightings on the Lee Baldwin Trail, especially of an Osprey who soared right by us...too fast for me to capture a decent photo.  We also played a game called Food Chain Hide & Seek in the Beech Forest.  It's a game where one child is the "avian predator"(Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Horned Owl) and the others are "avian prey" (beetles, ants, mice, fish) It's rather lengthy to describe, but the idea is to get them to understand the concept of bioaccumulation.  The game is a visual aid in understanding that some birds ingest toxic chemicals for various reasons and depending on how much they ingest, it affects them in different ways, often adversely.  They got it, I know they did because of the great questions they asked on our hike back to the museum!  I hope you spread the word bird nerds!  It's COOL to be a bird nerd!  (double click images to enlarge)

Our List:
Gray Catbird
House Sparrow
Belted Kingfisher
European Starling
Black-capped Chickadee
Mourning Dove
Common Grackle
Song Sparrow
Eastern Kingbird
Wood-peewee (!!!) I mis-identified this bird on the walk
American Crow
Eastern Phoebe
American Goldfinch
Osprey
Showing eBird to the bird nerds - an introduction to Citizen Science

Finding invertebrates in the tidal pool exhibit.


The famous blue lobster


Painted Turtle

Snapping Turtle

Hanging out with Myrtle


Tina showing the bird nerds a leatherback turtle skull

Great Black-backed Gull breast bone




Gray Catbird spotted!


Recording bird behaviors and documenting the species

Red-winged Blackbird - female

Red-winged Blackbird - male

American Crows

Mummichogs in the creek


Wood-peewee!!!

Wood-peewee!!!

Fresh water source on the rock

Stepping on the natural stairs

Talking about bioaccumulation

Roly poly bug - BIRD FOOD!

Hide & Seek


Mourning Dove demonstrating camouflage


Glasswort, also known as sea pickle, a salty plant - which we all tasted.

In the fall, this glasswort will turn a beautiful
shade of purple...some are already starting to change

European Starlings flocking on the telephone poles

Eastern Phoebe


They wanted to bring their own field guides on our walk!


Entering eBird data into our bird nerd account
BIRD NERD SALUTE!!!

Happy Birding KidSummer Kids!