Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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

Cape Cod typically has to wait quite a long time to reach warm temperatures in the spring, and this April has been typically chilly.  As long as you bundle up though, a walk in the woods is always a good idea, especially with a group of local school kids who maybe don't get to hike all that often.  I think one of the reasons folks don't maybe find woodland trails as welcoming as maybe I do, is that they are concerned about ticks and mosquitoes and maybe even a little of the unknown.  The trails at Flax Pond, now conveniently connected to the Yarmouth section of the Rail Trail, are very well maintained, even after that crazy stormy March!  If you go for a woodsy walk, just be prepared; educate yourself and be responsible for yourself.  In other words, wear the right footwear & clothing, wear bug spray when seasonably necessary (warmer weather) and do a tick check as soon as you are finished with your walk.

The treasures that you will find are natural and when there is built in human curiosity along for the walk - it makes for a healthy combination of nature appreciation and fresh air.  We were fortunate to see and hear several bird species, including a truly incredible close up of a Hairy Woodpecker, pecking away at a tree trunk, just a few feet away from us.  We even spotted the state flower, Mayflower (Trailing Arbutus) in lovely bloom and fragrance.  If you check out the photos below, you'll see all of the different natural gems the day campers discovered for themselves along the way.

Our List:

American Robin
Eastern Phoebe
Chipping Sparrow
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay 
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Tufted Titmouse
Northern Cardinal

Spotting the Hairy Woodpecker in action

There was a lot of tree damage along the sides of the trails,
but whoever maintains these walkways continues to do a fabulous
job keeping them passable

Tiny pine cones

A Pitch Pine pinecone that's been stripped by wildlife,
which now looks like a mini-pineapple

Active participants

Treasure comparison

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Mayflower in bloom!

Flax Pond through the trees and a Blue Jay on a distant branch

White-breasted Nuthatch in flight

Comparing picked apart Pitch Pine pinecones

Demonstrating how rodents need to keep chewing on things,
like sticks, in order to keep their incisors healthy and strong.
Conveniently, a chipmunk puppet joined us along our way.
Happy Birding!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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

When birdwatching this time of year, it is often the case that my brain has a hard time catching up with my ears in that we are starting to hear calls and songs of returning migrants that we haven't heard or seen in months.  Spring has not exactly sprung here on the Cape and we all had to keep warm as we hiked the trail today.  It is still VERY cold and the damages from March's storms are still visible everywhere you look.  So many of the tall marsh reeds, both the native and the invasive, have had much damage near the head of the trail on the marsh.  As we stepped onto the board walk, a pair of Canada Geese seemed to welcome us to Tuesday Tweets.   Yes, it is the season to start seeing pairs of birds everywhere.

We did make it to the shore this morning, and cold as it was, there were several gulls and so many Brant.  It is almost Earth Day and the very first time I remember wondering what those small geese, or large ducks were (small geese) was on Earth Day several years ago.  Brant seem to stick around gathering food for a while here on Cape Cod before migrating to the arctic for breeding season.  I remember seeing some even into May... we shall see.  The protective signs are up on the beach reminding us that breeding season has begun here though, as certain sandy zones are kept designated for plovers and terns.  It's exciting thinking about all of those babies who'll be hatching in just a few weeks.  I wonder when things will warm up around here!
Our List: 
American Robin
American Goldfinch
Canada Geese
Ring-billed Gull
Black-capped Chickadee
Blue Jay
Song Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse
American Crow
Double-crested Cormorant
Herring Gull
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Wren
Pine Warbler
Brown-headed Cowbird
Great Black-backed Gull
Tree Swallow (!!!)

Canada Goose

Osprey on the nest

The trail looked very tunnel-like this morning

Bundled up Bird Nerds

A nest to keep watch on.  It looked more like
a bird's nest than a squirrel nest and it was big!
Brant on the shore

Many gulls and a few Brant coexisting nicely

These trees are no longer alive, but they add to the landscape and provide
shelter for both birds and small mammals scurrying across the sands
Gulls resting across the shore of Quivett Creek

Signs asking to give Piping Plovers and Terns their nesting areas

This American Crow had a lot to say

I noticed this Red Squirrel collecting nesting materials when I was leaving in the parking lot

Defying gravity

Hoping no one saw the secret nest

American Robin
Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 5.22.18 9a $4Members/$6Non-members
Happy Birding!