Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2.21.18   Flax Pond Day Camp - February school vacation
South Yarmouth, MA

Why not add a bird walk to a day camp experience!?  That's what I get to do with the Town Of Yarmouth Park & Recreation Department at Flax Pond during school vacation week!  The weather was a little raw, so we bundled up, the kids seemed enthusiastic about their birdoculars that I made for them and off we went!  I pointed out the wonderful habitat that surrounds you wherever you are when you're on the Flax Pond property.  The trails are an easy trek and there is evidence of birds wherever you turn.  This time of year you can see leftover nests from last year's breeding season.  There were holes manufactured by woodpeckers of all types, as well as many made by insects.  We tend to hear and see mostly Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpecker and Northern Flickers in these woods.  The woods were quiet today though...

Being out in nature and learning about the local trails and woods that these children get to grow up near is so important and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy our hike.  As we were getting closer to the end of the trail, we did get to see and hear Black-capped Chickadees & Tufted Titmouse...and to my surprise - we got to see a Bufflehead male crusing along, all by himself, right on Flax Pond!  It was quite a treat!

Our List:
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse

The small whitish dot in the bottom of the photo is actually a
Bufflehead male - a lucky find!  It's a first time seen
bird for these kiddos!

Making great use of their birdoculars

Beetle and bird damage on a piece of fallen Pitch Pine bark

Happy Birding young Bird Nerds!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2.20.18  Tuesday Tweets - John Wing Trail - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Brewster, MA

It was not too cold, not too windy, not too rainy... we made it our own morning on this Tuesday Tweets.  I have to admit though... we did not see a whole bunch of birds.  I wondered if it was due to the storm on the way.  The birds always seem to know.  Walking this trail with the perfect crowd is one of my favorite ways to begin a day.  The tide was WAY out when we made it to Cape Cod Bay and far far in the distance we were able to make out some birds.  When I present my class Birdwatching For Beginners, one of the things I talk about is being able to identify birds at such a distance.  

I encourage is familiarity of the birds you see all the time.  When you are watching Black-capped Chickadees in your yard, even through the window, pay attention to their behavior, their movements.  When you see gulls on the beach (or in a parking lot) pay attention to that gull's behavior, also their markings.  When you start picking up on the details observing a bird rather close up, you'll be able to identify species from hundreds of feet away, with decent accuracy.  In other words... we were fairly certain we saw Brant that were probably close to 800 feet away.  It's a fun skill to practice... especially when you're walking with us for Tuesday Tweets!

Our List:
Northern Cardinal
Black-capped Chickadee
Blue Jay
Hairy Woodpecker
Song Sparrow
American Crow
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Turkey Vulture
House Sparrow

See that bill?
Hairy Woodpecker

Bird Nerds checking out the calendar on the trail

We had a great bunch this morning!  

This tree is gonzo, and has been for a long time. 
It reminds me of a giant tumbleweed

Don't you wish you could...?

Ring-billed Gull

American Crow

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Black-capped Chickadee

Mrs & Mr
Northern Cardinal, that is...
Northern Cardinal - female

Northern Cardinal - female

Northern Cardinal - female
Enjoying the seedy buffet behind the Marshview Room

Blue Jays
Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 3.20.18 9am $4Members/$6Non-members
Happy Birding!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

2.7.18  Bird Nerd Moment 

Sometimes you just need to take a walk.  It doesn't matter where you live, it will do you good.  My thoughtful husband bought me a new camera for Christmas and I've been dying to try it out, which I did the other day during Tuesday Tweets.  I don't know why I was feeling sheepish about trying the big lens that morning, and later I wished I had because I missed some fabulous Eastern Bluebird photos... they were too far for the lens with less power to get great images.  Bummer.  It was time to try out the new camera and lens, and I figured since I live on the Cape, I should combine my walk with my camera and the higher power lens.

The universe was really looking over me on this walk.  I didn't have too much time to spend this morning when I was on the beach, so I took a slightly less traveled sandy path through the low dunes to cut my walk shorter than I really wanted.  As I was approaching the pavement to head back to the car... I really couldn't believe my eyes or my luck.  I saw a white owl-sized blob in the distance on the dunes... and there he was.  
No joke - the Snowy Owl.  
I just couldn't believe it!!!  
I can't post on here what I said out loud, but I am so excited to post this photo!  HOORAY!!! The lens works...
(double click to enlarge)

Snowy Owl

Happy Birding!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2.6.18  Tuesday Tweets - John Wing Trail - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Brewster, MA

What to do on a chilly Tuesday morning... go for a bird walk, that's what.  Especially when you're surrounded by sweet folks who love the outdoors as much as you.  I highly recommend it.  We had a bit of life and death on our walk this morning, though not with the walking humans, don't worry!  We came across a bone on the trail.  When I first spied it, because the bones were all connected so nicely, I assumed it was a skull.  Nope.  Morning science.  I was so excited to find this perfectly preserved bunch of bones... then one of the Bird Nerds tipped it on its side and said, "I believe this is a pelvis."  Yup. 
So.  It's been a while since my favorite class, Anatomy & Physiology... like 27 years.  We had a good laugh and I hope to update this once I identify just whose pelvis it WAS.  

The birds in the forest were very quiet this morning and I was wondering why we weren't having our usual luck of sights and sounds, but again... we were together on one of the best trails on Cape Cod.  Still...  where WERE they?!  A storm for the next day was in the forecast, but that typically means a lot of activity.  Something was telling me to head for the meadow, so we did.

As we arrived, some of the colors of the rainbow decided to show up on branches and in the sky... red, yellow... and BLUE!  The Northern Cardinals were spotted first, soon followed by a small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Goldfinches too...and then...Eastern BLUEBIRDS!  There are some birds, for whatever reason, who bring smiles to most every person's face.  When it's Bird Nerds you're talking about... even tears.  Tears of happiness.  Thanks little bluebirds.  We needed you this morning!  (double-click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Black-capped Chickadee
Blue Jay
Northern Cardinal
American Crow
Great Black-backed Gull
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Bluebird (!!!)
American Goldfinch

Cedar Waxwing
Downy Woodpecker

Bird Nerds on the trail

A pelvis...  not a skull. : )
Boy did I feel silly...but I can laugh at myself.

So well preserved!
We just never know what we'll find in the woods!

The east end of the dune trail was flooded out

Ok, so the tiny black dot on the branch in the middle of the photo is a Northern Cardinal
Definitely time for a lens lesson.  I just love the view though.

Bird Nerds!  Aren't they the CUTEST?!
Here, they're checking out a distant Yellow-rumped Warbler show.

The warblers flew right over us!
The blurs of blue in the top left and bottom right of this photo
are Eastern Bluebirds

Eastern Bluebirds

Eastern Bluebirds

These pretty birds are trying to match the ocean blue

We got the greatest Eastern Bluebird ballet!

Sometimes we hit the birdie jackpot at the mudpuddle.
Today we sure did!

I love the contrast of the bird against the natural surroundings

The bluebirds were posing for us, I SWEAR!

It's wonderful just how much happiness birds can bring just being themselves

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets 3.20.18 at 9a. $4Members  $6Non-members
Happy Birding!