Thursday, April 23, 2015

4.23.15 - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History - Birdwatching For Beginners

It's not every day one of your high school friends drops by for your presentation... but today WAS that day!  We had a fantastic group for Birdwatching For Beginners and we saw & heard about 8 species in less than 10 minutes of outside time after my talk!  Here we are posing with our birdoculars!  Thanks Mags & family!  Such a treat to have you visit!


Next opportunity for Birdwatching For Beginners: 5.14.15 Members: Free/Non-members- regular admission prices apply.
Happy Birding!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

4.21.15 - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History - Tuesday Tweets
Lee Baldwin Trail - Brewster, MA

What is it about fog over a salt marsh that makes it more alluring?  There were about 100 gulls, Herring and Great Black-backed, all waiting for that moment when a herring might swiftly swim past them up the creek.  We all knew quite well when that happened because of the gull symphony!  They're so often stealing fish from one another...little thieves.  We often head in the other direction for Tuesday Tweets, north toward the ocean... but the Lee Baldwin Trail was calling us, especially after someone mentioned the Great Horned Owl nest that was on that side of 6A last spring (click to go to 5.7.14 for photos).  Well that nest seemed long gone, but we had quite the bird show south of 6A.  We spent so much time on the viewing platform, because we kept hearing and seeing birds, so we didn't get too far, but it's really not about the distance I always remind myself, it's about being out there and seeing, hearing & smelling outdoors.  Brewster never disappoints.  
(double-click photos below to enlarge)

Our List:
Song Sparrow
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
House Finch (female & male)
Northern Cardinal
Mourning Dove
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Northern Flicker
Red-winged Blackbird
Pine Warbler
Downy Woodpecker
American Robin

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Great Black-backed Gulls & Herring Gull

Skunk Cabbage

Gulls in the fog - maybe not as enticing as gorillas in the mist...

Nice shelter

Red-winged Blackbird (male)

Herring Gulls & Great Black-backed Gulls


Northern Flicker (blurry because SO far away)

Red-winged Blackbird (male)

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 5.5.15 at 9:30am  $2Member/$4Non-member
Happy Birding!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

4.14.15 - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History - Tuesday Tweets
John Wing Trail - Brewster, MA

They're BAAAAACK!  SO the Osprey arrived, as we knew they would, on 3.27.15, both on the nest by 3.30.15 and by 4.1.15, well... we'll just say, the "How Do You Do" occurred. : )
Ahh... nature!   Here on Cape Cod and in many other areas in the Northeast, once the Osprey return and the Spring Peepers begin their nightly chorus, there is this joyful anticipation of warmer weather!  (Imagine this next statement in a Boston accent...) It was a wicked harsh winter - and we got through it, but it was TOUGH, and we are READY to warm up and stick our toes in the warm sand and absorb that Vitamin D the natural way!  Cape Cod Life is a lifestyle I feel.  It took a while for me to understand it from this side of the bridge, but seriously, I'm happier here.  I'm more ME than I ever was before being surrounded by the waters and the wildlife and the way it is.  Sure it drives me bonkers occasionally because I'm human!  That's how we kinda are, unsatisfied!  OK - ENOUGH!  I can't tell you how great it was to see both Osprey hanging out on the nest, fishing and singing their beautiful spring time song for us to hear.  We heard so many birds calling out to each other and celebrating the season in their own way.  We never made it to the ocean this morning, because taking in the Osprey just seemed far too important.  We also hear Pine Warblers - no photo, but see the blog on 4.9.15 for a photo from my own yard.  Brewster to me, remains a magical place.  You'll have to come experience it for yourself sometime if you haven't already.  (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Cardinal
American Crow
Osprey
Song Sparrow
Double-crested Cormorant
Herring Gull
Mallard
Great-backed Gull
Pine Warbler

Herring Gull & Osprey

Double-crested Cormorant, Herring Gulls

Song Sparrow

Osprey

Double-crested Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull

Osprey

Osprey

Horseshoe Crab shell - HUGE!!!

Northern Cardinal - male

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

High Bush Blueberry

American Crow

Osprey & American Crow

Osprey

Next Opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 4.21.15 $2Members/$4Non-members
Happy Birding!

Monday, April 13, 2015

4.13.15 - For The Birds - Enrichment Class
Wixon Innovation Middle School - Dennis, MA

Hooray for sunshine!  I got to hear some great accounts of Osprey sightings and American Robin sightings and one of the students has been observing the House Sparrows nesting on the school. Pretty cool to hear all of the enthusiasm about the birds they've all seen!  We saw SO many species inside of 30 minutes, it was amazing.  I didn't get the greatest photos of the birds we saw and heard. Wildlife photography requires a lot of things to align properly.  A ten person group like ours is not optimal for the birds to allow us to get close enough to get photos usually.  Soooo... I got a few.  We did get to hear some spectacular bird songs though!  They are singing of spring, looking for mates and setting up nests.  It's the perfect time of year to be out and about enjoying all of the senses the birds trigger in each of us.  We ALL got to hear the difference between a Fish Crow and an American Crow on this outing as well!  I'm pretty sure that crow was answering us, in his/her nasally call.(double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Canada Goose
Downy Woodpecker
American Robin
Song Sparrow
Black-capped Chickadee
Turkey Vulture (good eye you know who!)
Herring Gull
Fish Crow (we all heard the difference in his/her voice)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Pine Warbler

Canada Geese
As soon as we spotted these two, I asked our group, "Now what are we NOT going to do...?"
"Run toward them, spook them or chase them away."  RIGHT ON.   I was quite proud.

American Robin

American Robin

Found feather, framed by Nature Shape

Gotta pose with the feather!

Golden-crowned Kinglet (TERRIBLE photo! - Oh well!)

Canada Geese

'Til next Monday - Happy Birding!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

4.9.15 - Bird Nerd Moment - My yard
Yarmouth, MA

A flash of yellow... I SAW IT!   And there he was, a Pine Warbler!  They're back!  Still mixing in with the Dark-eyed Juncos, who refuse to leave.  I had to include a shot of a Downy Woodpecker who also decided to make an appearance.  I even got to hear the tell-tale warble... so pretty!  Now, we just need these temperatures to rise and all will be well in the world. (double click photos to enlarge)

Pine Warbler - male

Downy Woodpecker

Happy Birding!

Monday, April 6, 2015

4.6.15 - For The Birds - Enrichment Class
Wixon Innovation Middle School - Dennis, MA

The bird nerds in training and I headed out to the school yard, hoping to see some birds and we were not disappointed this afternoon!  Almost immediately, we heard an American Crow... then we spotted her/him...and then, almost right away an American Robin was staking his claim on the grassy areas around the school yard.  This was turning out to be a great bird walk already!  Last week I pointed out the House Sparrow nests that were tucked behind old school bells on the outer walls of Wixon.(see blog entry/photos from 3.31.15)  As we were walking by, one of the students noticed a male House Sparrow, hanging out on one of those very nests.  He posed nicely for us, so we discussed why he was OK being so close to us and why he was all puffed up.  Eventually we got to the woods - not much of a path there!  We didn't mind though, walking over branches and dodging thorns.  We were able to catch- some of us- a brief glimpse of two Mallards who may be occupying the vernal pool behind the school.  It sure is nicely protected and I hope that these kiddos understand how special it is that they could have nesting ducks right on their school property.  Not many students can claim that!  We couldn't see a nest, but we'll monitor those Mallards if they let us, and who knows... wouldn't it be nice if we had to make way for ducklings?  We practiced using the Nature Shapes and pointing out how even a square foot of the forest floor is precious and worth protecting.   Happy Spring!  (double-click photos to enlarge.)

Our List:
American Crow
American Robin
House Sparrow
Red-tailed Hawk
Blue Jay
Song Sparrow
Black-capped Chickadee
Mallard
Northern Cardinal

House Sparrow - male

American Robin

American Robin

Spotting 3 Red-tailed Hawk soaring

Black-capped Chickadee



'Til we see each other next week... Happy Birding!

Friday, April 3, 2015

4.3.15 - Private Walk - Cape Cod & South Coast Home Schoolers
Four Ponds Conservation Lands - Pocasset, MA

Off again with the enthusiastic home-schooled students...and we were doing our best to walk in between rain storms.  Four Ponds in Pocasset is a peaceful set of trails, although we amazingly were still dealing with some slippery ice and well...dog poop.  LOTS.  I'm baffled that folks who hike with their dogs through the woods simply leave it all over the trails.  It's so disrespectful to other visitors, but more importantly to the woods themselves.  Sigh... 
These woods are a hidden treat, and it's impossible not to appreciate the simple beauty of the water trickling between the ponds - especially when you need to carefully tip-toe over the boards between. The students did just that and I could tell they understood  the unique nature of this special spot, not only the sights, but also the peaceful sounds.  Due to my schedule this year, I hadn't had the time to go searching for my favorite duck in the kettle ponds of the Cape - the Ring-necked duck, but I was rewarded this morning.  What a handsome guy (see photos below).  I'm looking forward to our next bird walk and excited to explore another special area of the Cape with these families in a week! (double click photos below to enlarge)

Our List:
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bufflehead 
Osprey
Ring-necked Duck
Downy Woodpecker
Mallards



Bufflehead (male, female & male juvenile)

Appreciating the water flowing between the ponds




Princess Pine


Ring-necked Duck male

Ring-necked Duck male


feather attached to piece of branch - feathers are treasures

Fallen trees nurse the pond & forest floor

The kids spotted a Mallard couple

Mallards male & female



Bufflehead (female, male juvenile, male)

Bufflehead male

Welcoming path 

Hydrangea at the pond's edge



This impressive pine needed a hug


Peek-a-boo!

'Til we walk again... Happy Birding!