Friday, June 2, 2017

6.2.17 Bird Nerd Moment - Bird walk - Fort Hill
Eastham, MA

When there's an opportunity to visit Fort Hill in Eastham...I JUMP at it!  We were able to spend about two hours there this morning and we were very excited to revisit the Maple Swamp boardwalk trail loop.  It has finally reopened after several years.  There were MANY people there to check out this remarkable bird watching location and I cannot recommend visiting this spot quite enough.  It is minutes from the Eastham/Orleans rotary on, Route 6. Parking is limited, but free.  The hike here is so peaceful and on a scale of 1-10 as far as being a hiking challenge.  I'll rate it a 3.  I feel most everyone can enjoy Fort Hill, no matter what their hiking skill level is.

I hadn't been to visit for a couple of years and fortunately for us, we had sunny hot weather, my personal favorite.  The amount of bird species you can encounter on such a day seems limitless... I was fortunate to be able to get some decent photos of a few, as well as a couple of photos of a snake.  I'm telling you this here because yes, I primarily share bird & nature photos here.  Today I HAD to take photos of the snake I noticed while we were hiking.  I understand some are less enthused about these reptiles. You don't have to look at the photos of the snake!   Please don't take it the wrong way either, I was SHOCKED that I even heard it in the underbrush.  I've never seen a snake there before... please don't let it deter you from visiting Fort Hill!  

Back to the birds...who seemed to be surrounding us at every turn.  I'm so happy with our list and was so pleased with the sightings and there was a bird call that was making me CRAZY.  We could not, could not, COULD NOT SEE this bird.  We heard it over and over and it was a call that I was not familiar with.  This bird was hidden up in the canopy and all we could do was listen, learn the call and then listen to a bunch of calls later ( I NEVER use bird calls or songs when out in nature - certainly not in breeding season - this can be VERY stressful to the birds who are so territorial and protective of their space ).  
After listening to several different species, I pinpointed the call to what I believe to be a Northern Parula.  Sadly - I have no photographic proof, but the call we heard was so very distinct.  I'm going to include the species in our list.  It's ALWAYS exciting when you can add a new species to your life list! (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Barn Swallow
Northern Bobwhite
Red-winged Black Bird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Red-tailed Hawk
Yellow Warbler
Gray Catbird
Fish Crow
Northern Cardinal
Downy Woodpecker
Red-eyed Vireo
Northern Parula
Pine Warbler
Black-capped Chickadee
Mourning Dove
Common Grackle
Song Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Blue Jay
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret

SUCH a lovely view

If you're familiar with a Red-winged Blackbird's call,
you can almost hear it when you look at this photo.

Can you spot the two Yellow Warblers in this photo?

Yellow Warbler - male

Yellow Warbler - male

Bird Nerd

The new maple leaves look like blossoms when they
start to pop

Turkey Tail fungus on a tree trunk

Gray Catbird

Red-winged Blackbird - male

Pretty sure this is a Garter Snake

Great Blue Heron

Red-winged Blackbird (male)

Song Sparrow, looks like a juvenile to me

Couldn't get enough of the Yellow Warblers today!

Our list with a view, and a pretty flower picked
for me by my husband.  : )
Happy Birding!

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