Saturday, September 8, 2018

9.8.18  Thornton Burgess Adult Nature Club - Green Briar Trail - Green Briar Nature Center Sandwich MA
Cape Cod Canal - Sandwich, MA

The Thornton Burgess Adult Nature Club is the brain child of Elise Leduc, local naturalist and environmental educator.  We gathered at Green Briar Nature Center for the first half of our time together to hike the Green Briar Trail that begins behind the Education Building and winds around the Smiling Pool, eventually connecting with Discovery Hill Road.  The woods were a bit quiet that morning, with overcast skies and a nice breeze.  As usual, the birdfeeder was where a lot of action was, with about 6 species of bird, offering a good morning welcome to our group.  

While I focused on the birds, Elise focused on the plant life.  The Green Briar Trail is very VERY green and we had sights and smells to guide our way.  We learned about Jewel Weed, which at the right time, produces seed pods that basically explode when touched.  We also got to try the tiny edible seeds that taste like walnuts.  A natural little surprise snack!  We were able to catch a quick glimpse of the Mute Swan pair who live on the property before we headed to the Cape Cod Canal.

When we arrived at the canal, it was clearly high tide and the ocean water was running like a river.  It was SO fast and impossible not to take notice.  The breeze was now a wind and the birds were here, there and everywhere.  As we got closer to the water, I noticed a fin moving in a circular motion.  "What the heck?!"  Turns out it was an Ocean Sunfish, according to Elise.  The fin was easily identifiable by the circular motion it kept going in.  I wish we had an aerial view of this gigantic fish!  I did get some photos... see below.  There were plenty of gulls to talk about gull ID and we saw juvenile terns when we arrived at the beach near the east end of the canal by the jetty.  The cormorants provided quite a show on and in the water.  They are truly amazing to me.  We even had a brief, but very close up view of a Turkey Vulture pair.  

The morning was an interesting combination of different habitats and the birds and plants found in and around them.  Click: Thornton Burgess Adult Nature Club for more information.  (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Common Grackle
Northern Cardinal
House Sparrow
American Goldfinch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Gray Catbird
Eastern Towhee
Red-winged Blackbird
Tufted Titmouse
Black-capped Chickadee
Blue Jay
Mourning Dove
Common Yellowthroat
Tree Swallow
Great Black-backed Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Double-crested Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Tern (Common? Roseate?)

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

American Goldfinch - male

Northern Cardinal - female

Mourning Doves

Eastern Chipmunk

Nature Nerds - you gotta love it!

Lovely trail

Princess Pine on the forest floor


Fungus lesson

Turkey Tail Fungus on a fallen Beech Trunk

Black Locust

Nature Lovers! 

Old stone wall

Tiny branch on a Black Cherry, fighting for sun

Jewel Weed - which I now know thanks to Elise

Mr. & Mrs. Mute Swan on the Smiling Pool

A walk through the Wildflower Garden

Jewel weed seed pods

Overcast days are an opportunity to work on bird silhouettes

Wait a minute.... Who's fin is this?!

What is going on in the Cape Cod Canal?!

Elise assured us that this was... Ocean Sunfish.  I have only seen them in videos
and at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium in captivity

... now I can't say that anymore.  It was WAY cool!!!

Double-crested Cormorant

...coming in for a landing

Don't you wish you could?

Double-crested Cormorant coming up for air after a dive

The kite show going on at Scussett Beach 

Graceful landing on top of the water

Laughing Gull - juveniles

Laughing Gull - juvenile

Cormorants in the water and Gulls on the sand

A distant flock of Tree Swallows gathering across the canal

Add caption

Tern almost finished swallowing a fish

Tern, pretty sure it is a Common Tern

Ring-billed Gull

Nice size comparison among a Ring-billed Gull (top left)
what I believe is a Semipalmated Sandpiper (bottom left)
and an a very recognizable Great Black-backed Gull

Next opportunity with Thornton Burgess Adult Nature Club featuring Wild Food
Saturday October 6th - 9a-12p -$30
Happy Birding!

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