Wednesday, October 11, 2017

10.11.17  Yarmouth Park & Recreation Bird Walks - Flax Pond
South Yarmouth, MA

I was excited to see both familiar faces and some new ones at our walk this morning.  The weather was still warm & not quite as foggy as our last visit through the trails at Flax Pond.  I was pleased to hear that the mosquitoes were not too terrible in the cedar swamp, so we headed in that direction first.  If you've never been to a cedar swamp, there is something eerie and other-worldly about it.  It's typically very quiet and the forest floor is very damp, if not covered in puddles.  The majority of the trees have branches much higher up and I've always been curious as to why there are not more birds found in these areas.  The times I've visited both this cedar swamp, as well as the fancy boardwalked one near Marconi Beach, I have always noticed the lack of birds.  It's weird.  Maybe that's why it feels a little creepy almost when you're walking through a cedar swamp.  I know there's wildlife there, but there is not much of a trace of anyone.  It's kind of like a tree cemetery... I dunno.  We did hear some nuthatches in there and two or three curious Black-capped Chickadees as well, and I believe a frog.  It's very cool in there.

When we checked out Flax Pond this morning we first heard and then saw a Belted Kingfisher.  We were too far away to get a decent photo, but I was so pleased that we all got to see him, and hopefully everyone got to hear the tell tale call of a kingfisher in flight.  They are not shy about saying they are flying here and there, near the water's edge!

As we were near the end of our time together, I wanted to check out another area of the woodsy edge.  I kept hearing a peep coming from the low shrubs... when out popped not one, but two Chipping Sparrows.  SO cute!  We were able to get fairly close to them so I was able to get a few photos... though they were very well camouflaged, which the photos also reflect.   Just at the very end of our time together, we discovered a flock of blackbirds; Common Grackles & Red-winged Blackbirds.  They were providing the "Safety In Numbers" demonstration.  I was in for one last surprise though... one of the walkers, who I KNEW looked familiar, re-introduced herself as my CCD teacher from 40 years ago!!! It was a big treat, having my former teacher on a bird walk.  I LOVE SURPRISES!!!  It was wonderful to see you Barbara!

I also received one of the best compliments I have ever had.  Pat, one of the new comers this week said, "Even if I didn't like birds, I would love them after your walk."
Thank you Pat!  That meant so much to me and I like to believe the birds thank you too!  (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Blue Jay
American Crow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Downy Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Mourning Dove
Chipping Sparrow
Common Grackle
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird

Bird Nerds in the woods!

We visited the cedar swamp - which looks
much darker in person

Looking upward at the cedar tree tops

Many forms of vegetation are thriving in this cedar swamp, and
the nurse trees help feed the forest floor.

A distant, fuzzy (terrible) photo of a Belted Kingfisher.
I had to include this photo though...we were all SO excited to see & hear him/her!

Pointing out the Belted Kingfisher across Flax Pond

It is FUN to share the outdoors through birds!

Snail trails in the sand underwater in Flax Pond

Flax Pond mirrored upon itself this calm cloudy morning

I know it looks like a poop emoji, but it's a freshwater snail shell
When I looked it up to identify, the best I could find was
that it is probably a Chinese Mystery Snail

A photo of a mushroom, two weeks later...

This mushroom matched Loruso Lodge

Indian Pipe in its dark cold season colors

TOUGH to spot the two Chipping Sparrows in this photo...
See next photo for help

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Reminds me of a beautiful Beatles song...

Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds

Can you spot the Red-winged Blackbirds mixed in with the Common Grackles?
See the next photo...

Common Grackle

You can see the different iridescent feathers if you
look closely at this Common Grackle

Hydrangea, still blooming in October!
My surprise - BARBARA!!!
Next opportunity for the bird walk at Flax Pond: 10.25.17 at 9am $10/person
Click here to register.
Happy Birding!


  1. Fantastic post and really enjoyed going through it mate. Loved the pictures that you have shared and I think I'll be registering for that bird walk if its still on. Thanks

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