Tuesday, March 28, 2017

3.28.17  Field Guide Training - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Brewster, MA

Today I was asked by Bud Ferris,of Mudflat Mania fame, to present my Birdwatching For Beginners class to the new museum 2017 field guide trainees.  I was so appreciative to have been asked and there was a fantastic crowd, of both familiar and new faces, smiling while we discussed being a bird nerd!  They were an enthusiastic group and I thoroughly enjoyed their questions, comments and especially our time together outside.  That's what it's all about after all... the wonder of bringing folks together out of doors.  The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has a perfect setting to offer just that.  Check out how adorable this crowd of nature lovers is!  Thanks to them for coming to my program and I can't wait to see and hear them out in the field, leading families along the wonderful trails.

Happy Birding!
3.27.17 Tuesday Tweets - John Wing Trail - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Brewster, MA

It is THAT time of year... when those of us on Cape Cod start aching for warmer weather. The bird nerds know the warmer days are coming when they start noticing migrants and budding daffodils and hopefully... the sound of the Osprey.  I've had to cancel the last two Tuesday Tweets due to weather and icy trails.  We didn't seem to have the best weather for our walk... until... it turned out to be one of the most prolific (species wise) walks we've ever shared together!  Sure it was rather raw out and even though we're craving that warmth of a new season, it doesn't much matter until it actually begins to warm up.  It really has not yet. We had the lovely symphony of bird song as we often do this time of year at the head of the trail near the museum.  As we moved through the woods there was bird song in every direction.  I was anxious to get to the shore...who isn't?  We were rewarded when we hit the trail that crosses the meadow by American Goldfinch who was already sporting his mating plumage!  What an exciting moment!  We arrived on the sands with more species to be spotted, including Black-bellied Plover & Brant.  A question arose about the endangered status of plovers.  Most of us who live and/or visit Cape Cod are well aware of the Piping Plover included on the Endangered Species List.  The only other plover I could find that was listed as such was the Mountain Plover, which is not an eastern species.  

There were SO many Brant on the shore, still here for the season, but that won't last.  A lone American Crow was showing off her/his vocal clicking sounds.  I realize they are not necessarily showing off their vocal abilities, but I imagine, maybe sometimes they are.  We had enough time to enjoy the full loop of the trail, which is hard to resist when we have the time to do so.  As if the universe answered my request... just as we were crossing back over the salt marsh, we spotted a Red-tailed Hawk in the distance...and then... there she was... an OSPREY!  I just couldn't BELIEVE MY EYES!  She flew right over the marsh, gliding gracefully, quietly, but we saw her!  I wanted SO badly for us to see an Osprey today... and amazingly enough - we DID!  Then of course, a Great Blue Heron upstaged her...but just a bit!  It was a thoroughly enjoyable Tuesday Tweets!   I have to thank Merrily, a staff photographer from the Cape Cod Times, who joined us on our walk this morning.  I like to think she got some wonderful bird photos.  Rick was there as well and his photos are listed and credited below.  What a morning! (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Cardinal
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Black Bird
House Sparrow
Mourning Dove
American Robin
Herring Gull
American Goldfinch
American Black Duck
Blue Jay
Canada Goose
Northern Flicker
Tufted Titmouse
Great Black-backed Gull
Black-bellied Plover
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-tailed Hawk
Great Blue Heron

Tuesday Tweeter pointing out a Black-capped Chickadee

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow, singing - photo credit (RICK)

American Robin
American Robin - photo credit (RICK)

American Robin - photo credit (RICK)

American Goldfinch

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow - photo credit (RICK)

Cape Cod Bay View

Brant - you can faintly see the Pilgrim Monument in the background

Brant - photo credit (RICK)

Canada Geese


Herring Gull, Black-bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plovers - photo credit (RICK)

Black-bellied Plover & Herring Gull


American Crow - perfect silhouette lesson

American Crow - photo credit (RICK)

Brant - photo credit (RICK)

Red Squirrel defending his/her Pitch Pine Palace

Chipmunk evidence

Tuesday Tweet Bird Nerds

OSPREY!!! photo credit - (RICK)

OSPREY - photo credit (RICK)

Great Blue Heron - photo credit (RICK)

White-breasted Nuthatch
Saw this guy on the way out... and Rick saw 
these guys on the way out as well... SO pretty

Cedar Waxwings - photo credit (RICK)

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 4.11.17 @ 9:30am  $2Members/$4Non-members
Happy Birding!

Monday, March 27, 2017

3.27.17  Birds Enrichment Class - Wixon Innovation Middle School
South Dennis, MA

There was rain in the forecast, so we had to stay indoors today.  This weather called for mandala coloring in my opinion... If you're not familiar with the mandala craze, I feel it's worth looking into.  I have colored some and they take a while!  They cause you to focus, slow down, choose your colors based on tiny spaces and patterns, in order to create something beautiful and allow you choose only ONE task for a bit, without a screen, without (too many) distractions... to just enjoy coloring.  I realize, I may sound crazy, but try it sometime! There are adult versions too, and connecting the different shades of color with the birds and discussing the birds each student chose, always makes for a relaxing lesson (which is a bit of an oxymoron...).

Of COURSE I'd rather be outdoors enjoying our surroundings, but I don't do bird walks in the rain.  The birds aren't out and about, and it is STILL the chilly March air.  Cold rain is really no fun for anyone in my opinion.  Wait until you see their beautiful work!  (Photos below) It's always interesting to find out which student chooses which particular species of bird mandala they'd like to color.  I had six to choose from: Northern Cardinal, Gull, Hummingbird, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl and Dove.  We discussed different aspects of the chosen species and if the students had seen or heard these particular species recently, and if so, where... doing what?  

People always have a story or a question about birds.  Birds are easy to share with others...they are everywhere, and aren't we lucky for that?!  (double click photos to enlarge)


Northern Cardinals & Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Showing the owl love...

Meticulously designed hummingbird

These are difficult to finish in just 40minutes

Lots of focusing happening...

Happy Birding young Bird Nerds!

Monday, March 20, 2017

3.20.17  Birds Enrichment Class - Wixon Innovation Middle School
South Dennis, MA

It's the first day of Spring!  Yes, it was windy out there, but I was excited to get the bird nerds outside today in the warm sunshine.  Last week, I noticed a tree that had fallen and I wanted to inspect why it happened, its root structure, why we thought the tree had not survived a recent storm... so many questions!  That's what I love about science and nature.  I was curious about it myself, but I was even more interested in checking out this tree with the bird nerds to find out what we could discover.  I also brought my "Nature Shapes" ( recycled pizza box cardboard wrapped in duct tape - they last forever ) along for our walk.  I am often reminding students, and whomever may listen, that "...we are all connected...".  When I mention this, I mean every living thing.  The Nature Shapes can be used as a sort of a frisbee, and we discuss the organisms and specimens we discover within the shape wherever it lands...a tiny measurement of ground... and how what we find, relates to birds and their healthy (sometimes unhealthy) ecosystem.

There was one bird sighting in the crazy winds... a lone Ring-billed Gull. (double click photos to enlarge)

Which birds do you want to learn about?

What's in this Nature Shape?

Examining all that they could see within the Nature Shape

                               Lichens covering the branches of this soon to be flowering tree

How can you resist climbing a tree?

                                          This pine needle bunch and tiny pine cone looked
                                                                "...like a flower..."

White pine, uprooted by a storm, 
though previously attacked by beetles & covered in lichen

What/who made this hole in the tree bark?

Noticing beetle trails on the underside of the tree bark

Roly poly bug on the edge of the bark... trying to shelter him/herself

Doing her/his best to stay out of sunlight, for safety

                                      Searching the edge of the woods on the school grounds

                                                      A new Nature Shape perspective

Nature Shapes can help us to understand
how we are all connected... even the tiniest space
can define how healthy an ecosystem is.

Nature Shape discoveries

Identifying natural occurrences in the Nature Shape

Happy Birding young Bird Nerds!