Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2.25.15 - Bird Nerd Moment
Yarmouth, MA

So when I was shoveling out areas in the yard for our pooch and for me to be able to get to the bird feeder and the suet, I happened to notice a warbler!!! I was shocked, because I always think warbler=warm weather, then I remembered there is one breed I have seen here during winter months, when we're covered in snow.  This warbler was attracted to the suet I had just refilled yesterday, a new 'high energy' variety, so I'm wondering if the change in flavor had something to do with our new flighty little visitor.  I took a few photos,(taken through glass - so they are not great) because that always helps me with ID because the photos ARE STILL.  Warblers are NOT very still, EVER.  It's one of the reasons that makes them so challenging to confidently identify I feel. Turns out it was a Yellow-rumped Warbler first year female.  I did get within 6 feet of this bird, as well as an American Robin.  Hunger is a driving force. Robins typically prefer worms and bugs, but since we're stuck in a snowy spell here in New England, worms aren't being found so easily, if at all.  The handsome (American Robin) fella in our yard picked at the spilled seed from the feeder (thanks squirrels! double click photos to enlarge)

My List:
American Robin
Yellow-rumped Warbler (myrtle)
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse

American Robin (male)

American Robin (male)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (female)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (first year female)  
Notice the yellow peeking through from under the top of her wings

If there was any doubt that she was a Yellow-rumped!

Yellow-rumped Warbler (first year female)

Black-capped Chickadee

Happy Birding!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2.24.15 - TUESDAY TWEETS CANCELLED

I'm sorry to do this again but with the wind chill below zero, it doesn't seem wise to be out on icy trails for an hour this morning, even though the sun is in our favor.  Hope you are warm and able to find some beauty in this hectic New England weather.  Here is a puffed up Blue Jay in my front yard.  S/he was there yesterday after grabbing a bite.
Blue Jay

Blue Jay

I hope there will be less snow on the ground and plenty of sun in the sky for our next Tuesday Tweets.  
Next opportunity: 3.10.15 $2Members/$4Non-members at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster.
Happy Birding!

Monday, February 23, 2015

2.23.15 - Bird Nerd Moment - West Dennis Beach
Dennis, MA

It's not so often I get "free time" but suddenly I found myself with a little slice of it and I just happened to have my binoculars, camera & my daughter with me, and we just happened to be close to West Dennis Beach.  I was hoping to maybe catch a glimpse of a Snowy Owl because it was just over a year ago and we saw our first wild Snowy together right there. Well with the amount of snow still iced up and packed down, the main entrance to West Dennis Beach was gated off and plowed in.  Rats.  However, I thought, how wonderful for the wildlife there to have a break from the human traffic!  I imagined at least one Snowy Owl enjoying the semi-solitude and lack of human harassment.  So we drove up another road crossing the creek and turned around as we were, and spotted Hooded Mergansers... and more!  They are SO charming and adorable and for a minute the male rested on the shore, which I've never seen.  I wish the photos were better but we were birdwatching from the car. I felt that if we got out & opened and closed the doors of the car... bye bye birdies.  So, we had some fantastic views from the warmth of the car and we saw 6 species in less than 10 minutes. (double click images to enlarge)

Our List:
Hooded Merganser (female & male)
American Black Duck (female & male)
Great Black-backed Gull
Bufflehead
Red-breasted Merganser
Canada Goose

Hooded Merganser - female

Hooded Merganser (male) stretching his wings

His & Her side of the post (Hooded Mergansers)

Hooded Merganser

American Black Ducks (female & male)

Great Black-backed Gull

Hooded Merganser (male)

Red-breasted Merganser (female)

Hooded Mergansers

Bufflehead (female)

Mr. & Mrs. Hooded Merganser

Bufflehead (female) top of picture
Hooded Mergansers (male & female)

Canada Geese
These guys were hilarious... they must've been resting in the road on this
semi private street near the ocean.  Rather than continue on the road, I turned
around so as not to disturb them.  Who knows how exhausted they may 
have been from migrating.  


Sharing wildlife with your family is a sweet way to spend time!   Even in the cold from your car in the winter if you are near any bodies of water.  If you're just a little patient, you may get to see visitors you might've missed.  I ALWAYS have trouble driving by ponds and rivers this time of year.  I KNOW who's in there, I just don't always have the time to sneak a peek. This time 10 minutes, was a plenty and just so rewarding.  
Happy Birding!


2.23.15 - For The Birds - Enrichment - Wixon Middle School
Dennis,MA

One of my favorite aspects of working at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is that I get to teach educational outreach ornithology classes for all ages of students here on Cape Cod.  I'm fortunate to be now leading an enrichment class at Wixon Middle School on Monday afternoons and our group includes 11 fifth graders interested in birds.  Yesterday we headed out into FREEZING temperatures, but not for too long.  Next class I am stashing a bag of spare mittens and hats!  We did manage to enjoy our brief sighting of a family of crows who were playing in the air and hunting for their supper.  The students spotted two different kinds of nests (see images below - 1 nest photo) and we discussed whose nest it might be due to its size.  Moving forward, I'm excited to share their bird lists and discoveries and creations from our Monday afternoons together.  (double click photos to enlarge)
American Crows


Thank you Mrs.Mezzetti and students of Wixon for welcoming me into your school so we can get outside together in search of birds in their natural habitats!  Keep those bird lists going young bird nerds!  
Happy Birding!

Monday, February 9, 2015

2.9.15 & 2.10.15  TUESDAY TWEETS CANCELLED

Due to current weather and trail conditions, Tuesday Tweets has been cancelled.  I apologize for any inconvenience.  Stay safe and warm and enjoy all the birds who miraculously fend for themselves and forage for food in this wintery weather!
Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow (foreground), Dark-eyed Junco & Mourning Dove

Eastern Bluebird

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 2.24.15 Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
$2Members/$4Non-members
Happy Birding!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

2.7.15 - Bird Nerd Moment 
Yarmouth, MA

While we're getting a small break from crazy weather, the birds have been feeding in our yard like mad!  I'm sure they're feasting on food from any feeder they are able to find.  When I was outside today, I was sure I heard a hawk, probably Red-tailed, I was thinking.  I looked up, expecting to see one soaring above the oaks, looking for lunch.  Nothing.  I didn't see anyone in the sky. Then the call again... hmmm...
Then, I saw the Blue Jay, perched on an oak branch, near our feeder.  So I grabbed a short video of this.  The video quality is not very good, because I used my phone.  I was only able to capture one hawk-like call from the jay on the video, and it's at about three seconds in or so... hope you can hear it!  If you look at the branches, you can see the jay move, but it may take more than one viewing.
video
It is nearly impossible to see the Jay at first when s/he is making the call.  Why do they do this?  Make calls similar to a hawk?  I've learned that maybe it's to keep other birds away, as if to fool them that a predator is near.  It's also thought to maybe act as a warning that hawks are about.  What do you think?  There were some Black-capped Chickadees, Song Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos in the yard nearby when the Jay was calling the way s/he was.  It was SO authentic sounding.  

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 2.10.15 at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
at 9:30am.  $2Members/$4Non-members.  Rain and unhealthy air temperatures (less than 15F) cancel the walk.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1.28.15 Bird Nerd Moment - Juno has passed
South Yarmouth, MA

Thank you utility companies!  We did not lose power throughout the wild blizzard that Juno was!  Though the birds don't have the luxury of a warm home, their survival tactics saw them through the snow, wind and freezing temperatures.  Digging ourselves out also allowed for more sightings of flying friends all over our yard.  We all have our priorities, and naturally, I dug out trails so I could fill the seed feeder and the suet feeder.  Normally the feeder is about 6 feet off the ground... but after the drifting of the snow, there was less than two feet between the top of the snow and the bottom of the feeder.  WHAT A STORM!  Of course, I felt the need to photo-document.  I'm obsessed.  Hope it is warm where you are, whether it's in your cozy house or in a tropical destination if you're lucky!  (double click photos to enlarge)

My List:
House Sparrow
Black-capped Chickadee
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Blue Jay
Mourning Dove

The space between the feeder and the snowdrift is less than two feet.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrows


Path to the feeder

Song Sparrrow

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets at the Cape Cod Musem of Natural History: 
2/10 at 9:30am $2Members/$4Non-members
Happy Birding!