1.26.16 - Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History - Tuesday Tweets - John Wing Trail Brewster, MA After some of the snow had melted, it felt good to be out and about, breathing in fresh air over the marsh and in the woods! It was a great morning for a walk, and the bird nerds (& birds) did not disappoint! We saw and heard a ton of song birds, mostly close to the museum itself. The "drive through window" as I like to call the windows of the Marshview Room are typically swarming with hungry customers particularly when the weather is cold. Flying is a huge exertion. Yes, of course - birds fly - but with each beat of their wings - there is an energy price. They store their fat for this energy and without food sources to assist them - winter can be the toughest season to endure for wildlife. It's good to feed the birds! Even 1 feeder and/or 1 suet feeder can help countless bird species, yes the squirrels too... but they live out there as well! I have found that if I fill my feeder with a mix that has more safflower seed than sunflower seed, the squirrels will still visit & hog, but less so. Our snowy walk was windy too and we were rewarded for bundling up with some pretty larger bird sightings: Great Blue Heron swooping over the tree line, what Rick thought to be a Northern Harrier who was right over the marsh as we came back out from the woodsy trail, and Red-tailed Hawks in the distance. Photo credits as listed. Thanks for enjoying the John Wing Trail as much as I do bird nerds! (double click photos to enlarge) Our List: American Robin Black-capped Chickadee White-breasted Nuthatch Northern Flicker Blue Jay Tufted Titmouse American Crow Downy Woodpecker European Starling House Sparrow Song Sparrow Northern Cardinal Great Blue Heron American Black Duck Northern Harrier (good guess Rick - my gut said the same) Red-Tailed Hawk
House Sparrow - male
House Sparrows on the bat houses
House Sparrow - female (photo credit: RICK)
Downy Woodpecker - male (photo credit: RICK)
House Sparrow - female
Evidence of birds eating the seeds from the tall marsh reed grass
Some seeds still left on the marsh reed grass
Chilly & oddly inviting
Cape Cod Bay iceburgs
Red-tailed Hawk (photo credit: RICK)
House Sparrow - male (photo credit: RICK)
House Sparrow - I just love how close they let us get
Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 2.9.16 $2Members/$4Non-members Happy Birding!
1.22.16 - Wixon Innovation School - For The Birds Enrichment Class This was our last class together as a group at Wixon this afternoon, and yes it was chilly, but the wind wasn't whipping at us, which made for another nice outing. It didn't hurt when as soon as we walked out the front doors of the school - there happened to be a Red-tailed Hawk swooping right over us! I didn't really think we'd top that... but wail 'til you hear... I'll get to it. We went walking across the upper field and came across some animal tracks. I mentioned that anyone who found any bird tracks in the snow would get a reward. Oddly enough, we didn't find any. I guess we weren't looking in the right spots, but we had a nice walk into the woods. It's so peaceful back there behind the school and being outdoors is a plan that can't be beat for the last class of the week on a Friday afternoon I like to think. As we turned around and headed back to the school for bus & pick up time... I spied a large bird south of the school and flying over the tree line. Big bird. I pointed it out to the bird nerds as we were on our way back, but we still had a minute or two to linger. Some of them thought it was the same hawk we saw earlier, though I could tell it was a larger bird... which leaves a limited selection when thinking of a larger than a Red-tailed Hawk in Dennis, MA. As I looked through my binoculars because the bird was at least 300-400 feet away...I could see a white head, a white tail and black body and wings. BALD EAGLE!!!! IT WAS A BALD EAGLE!!! I of course went nuts and started screaming, "THAT IS A BALD EAGLE YOU GUYS!!! A BALD EAGLE!!! OUR NATIONAL BIRD, RIGHT HERE IN DENNIS!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!" Turns out, I was slightly more excited than the young bird nerds, but that is OK. Thanks for spending so much time with me! I hope I get to hear a bird story or sighting or get a bird question from you the next time we see each other. (double click photos to enlarge) Our List: Red-tailed Hawk Bald Eagle (!!!!!)
Checking out the Red-tailed Hawk
Looking up hawks in the Sibley guide
Animal tracks in the snow
I finally taught them the Bird Nerd Salute!
So I got in on it too...
The woods behind the school were quiet & beautiful
Happy Birding young bird nerds! See you around school!
1.12.16 Cape Cod Museum of Natural History - Tuesday Tweets - John Wing Trail We had to bundle up on this particular Tuesday Tweets, but once we were on that wonderful trail, any body chills warmed right up with the morning sun and some interesting bird watching! We even got to see some animal tracks along our way (see photos below). We had some fantastic views of a Yellow-rumped Warbler, who hung out long enough for me to snap some photos. One of the curious findings we had was below the cedars, there were loads of juniper berries below. What made it curious though was also the amount of the tips of branches also broken off and strewn about the trail. Why? One of the bird nerds speculated that he thought it was squirrels - which made sense for the amount of branch tips all over the ground near the base of the trees. It was just weird and I've never noticed that on a walk before. Sometimes the interesting stuff isn't in the trees and shrubs, it's evidence of a puzzle. I have to say my personal favorite sightings of the day were the Eastern Bluebirds, who conveniently turned toward the warm sun so we could see the rusty color of their bellies and the bright blue of their backs... and the other - the Red-breasted Mergansers. Due to there being little to no breeze, I had a hunch we'd get to see wintering waterfowl and I felt like finding them was the prize! What a sweet bunch of bird nerds today as well! So nice to see familiar faces and to meet new bird lovers! It was a sweet walk, ALWAYS an invigorating start to the Cape Cod day. (double click photos to enlarge) Our List: Black-capped Chickadee White-breasted Nuthatch Northern Cardinal Red-tailed Hawk American Crow American Goldfinch Yellow-rumped Warbler Blue Jay Eastern Bluebird Song Sparrow Ring-billed Gull Red-breasted Merganser Herring Gull American Black Duck Great Black-backed Gull
Raccoon Tracks on the marsh boardwalk
Icy over the salt pannes - looked like cinnamon bun frosting
Bird nerds admiring the warbler
Broken off cedar branch tips and juniper berries
Oh the Cape Cod Bay view - birds or no birds, it's amazing every time!
Eastern Bluebirds facing the southern sun
Yes, he's a natural blue...
Red-breasted Mergansers - female
Bird Nerds admiring the view
Our shadows were long
American Crow silhouette
Nice view of the back of the museum from the marsh
Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 1.26.16 $2Members/$4Non-members Happy Birding!