Thursday, June 30, 2016

6.30.16 - KidSummer Bird Walk - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Brewster, MA

Before I know it, I'll be enjoying bird walks Monday through Friday with the KidSummer Birding 101 group.  KidSummer is a nature oriented day camp offered at The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, MA.  It is sponsored by IFAW, whose international headquarters is two towns away in Yarmouthport, MA.  IFAW has sponsored hundreds of deserving local children the past several years through the scholarship they offer to send these kids to a quality day camp they would otherwise not get to enjoy.  One of the benefits to KidSummer is the diversity of the attendants, children aged 3-15.  

One of the counselors for Nature Sleuths (5&6 year olds) asked if I would lead a bird walk for their group.  HAPPY TO!  They were animated and interested and gentle with nature, which are qualities we bird nerds like to experience.  Thanks for having me along for one of your morning activities Nature Sleuths!  (double click photos to enlarge)

Friendly Eastern Chipmunk

American Crow, being scolded by...

...a Red-winged Blackbird - male

Testing out birdoculars

White-tailed Deer & fawn on the marsh in the distance

Song Sparrow

Checking wingspans

Osprey pair

Found feather...always a treasure

Osprey soaring

Red-winged Blackbird - male
He was scolding us for being in his territory

Another Osprey nest

Someone found a roly poly bug

Honey bee, collecting & pollinating

Inspecting the honeybee

Happy Birding!
If you're interested in KidSummer, click here for more information.  My Birding 101 course is M-F 9-11:30 and is offered for children 7-12 years of age.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

6.29.16  Bird Nerd Moment - Sam Diego's outdoor patio
Hyannis, MA

What a PERFECT summer night on Cape Cod!  It happened to be the end of the baseball season in our area as well, with all teams from the district converging on one of the local ball fields.  After the awards and the announcements and the endless games of catch...we were pretty hungry and we allowed our young baseball player to choose where we would go out to supper.  He decided on a family favorite, Sam Diego's in Hyannis.  What I forgot to consider on the way there was the weather being a factor on where we would get to sit.  We ALWAYS opt for the outdoor patio!  It is so comfortable out there, and between the atmosphere of the festive restaurant itself and the well-groomed landscaping,  you don't really notice that you're on a very busy traffic corner.

We could easily see the local gulls slowly flapping their way back to their nearby rooftop nesting grounds.  Many of the local businesses that have flat roofs have been dealing with an over populous gull colony.  There are no predators on the roof!  They thrive up there and are rarely disturbed.  

As we were sitting and enjoying our dinner, I, naturally, cannot help notice bird sounds that occur when I'm anywhere.  I am particularly distracted when it's a bird sound that I cannot identify.  My curiosity takes over, and I do my best to figure out who is making what sound.  It was an interesting sight to see once the two birds came into view along side the patio.  Brown-headed cowbirds (an invasive species) have somehow decided that laying an egg in someone else's nest and then taking off leaving it to be  warmed, cared for, hatched by & fed by another species, is advantageous.  They are a non-parenting species.  I've seen it in action with a poor, exhausted looking Chipping Sparrow in my own driveway a couple years ago.  Here on this night in Hyannis, I got to see it again... this time, camera ready! (miraculously!)

There was this incessant younger sounding bird who was badgering a smaller bird, this time a Song Sparrow.  The Brown-headed Cowbird juvenile was chirping and begging and squatting down in the "FEED ME!" pose, over and over and over again.  I couldn't help but feel for the frazzled Song Sparrow, who fed this comparitively oversized youngster, over and over and over again.  This time, I got photos... Sorry Song Sparrow.  Better luck, next brood!  (double click photos to enlarge)

Song Sparrow foster parent on the left
Brown-headed Cowbird juvenile on the right

Happy Birding!

Friday, June 17, 2016

6.17.16 Nature/Bird Walk - Cape Cod Museuem of Natural History
Brewster, MA

During field trip season, I am typically stationed inside the museum, and I was this morning, but then, extra help was needed for the nature walks this afternoon.  Sooooo... off I went into Field Guide mode with about 20 local sixth graders(including my own!) along for the walk with their teachers.  I explained to the group that I do lead bird walks here at the museum regularly, so this walk would be "heavy on the birds".  No wind, lots of sunshine and no math tests (sorry math teachers) made for a nice walk where the goal was to get some hands-on nature, as opposed to "please do not touch".   We did see and hear some birds along the way, but I feel their favorite part was when we finally reached Cape Cod Bay, they had space to spread out, feel the sand between their toes and the ocean on their ankles, the salt air in their noses and see the ocean hues, which are so very pretty, there are no names for the colors.  Thanks Mattacheese Middle School!  Happy almost summer kids & teachers! Teachers... thank YOU for all you do!  It is so often a thankless job and I hope you thoroughly enjoy your summer vacation!  (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Barn Swallow
Green Heron (!!!)
American Crow
Prairie Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Gray Catbird
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Laughing Gull
Great Egret
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch

Greenhead fly trap on the marsh

Two nest boxes on the marsh

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

Meadow & marsh


Gulls - Great Black-backed, Herring & Laughing

Group of periwinkles

Single periwinkle snail

Great Egret

"Wishing Rock" or "Friendship Rock" (rocks are not my specialty, 
but this one was really cool, and the line in it went straight through, all the way around.

Crab claw

Rock that looked like a tool

Crab molts

Recently deceased Horseshoe Crab (pretty stinky!!!)


Happy Birding young Bird Nerds!