Monday, April 27, 2020

4.27.20  Another drizzly walk - My neighborhood
Yarmouth, MA

It is not easy living without being able to visit with, celebrate with or work with friends and family these days.  I know I've mentioned it before, but heading out on a walk, by yourself or with your family and/or roommates, is a healthy way to spend some time.  If you're on Cape Cod, you'll definitely want to bundle up these days.  It will be so nice to have a stretch of warmer days... C'mon MAY!

I hope you are staying safe and getting some time in nature for yourself.  To me, the air is cleaner these days and I do believe wildlife is taking advantage of the pause we humans have been forced to take.  This was from a walk earlier this morning and there is a particular area in my neighborhood where about two weeks ago, I heard my first Eastern Towhee of 2020.  I didn't see him that day... it took another couple of days.  Today I heard SEVERAL Towhees!  Spring is here... even though it doesn't feel much like it.  The blooms are budding though, no matter how grey the sky is and windy the weather has been.  Hope you can hear the Eastern Towhee in the video.  I've posted one of my photos of an Eastern Towhee seen about a year ago so you can also see what they look like!

Eastern Towhee - male

Eastern Towhee - female
Happy Birding!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

4.26.20  Bird Walk - Trail in my neighborhood
Yarmouth, MA

Considering most humans are staying at home and obeying the safety guidelines so as not to spread our germs ... going for a walk is a healthy activity!  The air is fresh even when it's drizzly.  Remember to always do a tick check after a walk in the woods or fields or marshes.
Let me know what you are seeing and hearing on your walk!  I love including photos too, but I'm bringing my phone only on rainy walks, I can't bring my camera.  In the video below, I mention some bird calls and songs - one I incorrectly identify because I have two hoods and a warm hat on obstructing my ears a bit.  Also worth mentioning... when you are welcoming migrants back to your neighborhood, sometimes it takes a few minutes to access that sound file in your brain to remember which bird you're hearing, no matter how much of a bird nerd you may be! 

If you are new to bird song and learning who is who, my best advice is this.  Sit in your yard, mornings are best, and listen for a close by bird.  Try to slowly get closer to that bird, or use your binoculars if you have them.  Watch and listen.  That information WILL get stored, it does take repetition though.  Now is NOT the time of year to use bird calls on your phone to "attract" birds.  This is mating season and it can be very stressful for songbirds to hear random and unexpected bird calls out of nowhere.  Remember - their language is not really something humans can translate, meaning, who KNOWS what those pre-recorded bird calls are actually meaning to the birds that hear it.  Get outside and enjoy the birds!


Happy Birding!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

4.22.20  Happy Earth Day - My yard
Yarmouth, MA

I feel as though I'm behind schedule... but right now, this Earth Day, I believe we all are a bit behind schedule.  Many of us are not on any type of schedule at ALL!  The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives dramatically.  I am hoping you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.  

I have missed my blog and missed the writing and missed the birdwatching!  Earth Day comes as an inspiration for me to hop back in, so here I am with a nature scavenger hunt.  You may notice the tone of it is geared toward preschoolers.  That is quite intentional as I have added a new love in my life - preschool assistant!  I can't wait to get back to school with the kiddos.  This will have to do for now.  May this offer a bit of inspiration to get out in your own yard to find amazing things!  I hope you enjoy...



Happy Earth Day and Happy Birding!



Wednesday, November 27, 2019

11.27.19  Bird Nerd Moment - My yard
Yarmouth, MA

This year continues to be a transitional one for me.  Today I was so inspired by the bird activity in my yard... I just had to grab my camera and get out there.  I have missed it over the past several months.  The temperatures are mild here today on Cape Cod as we await some lousy weather with unfortunate timing for those traveling today for Thanksgiving.  I imagine that is why there was so much going on outside.  The birds know when they need to stock up on body-warming energy in the form of food to keep themselves safe and warm when a storm is on the way.  The photos were all taken in about 10 minutes in my yard, as it seemed everywhere I turned there was another species doing some fun-to-watch, birdy thing.  

It was foggy and wind-less so it made for decent photos, though some of them merely silhouettes.  When the camera is on autofocus it often decides to focus on bird surroundings rather than the bird. No. I've never had a photo class, though I aspire to, so I suppose photographers may find my photos frustrating.  Somehow I see the surroundings as an equally inspiring subject, so I occasionally leave the blurry shots.  Why not?  I hope you enjoy them as well.  There was also a surprise guest - two really!  See my list below.  These two little species are so quick in their movements, they make it a challenge to photograph.  Every once in a while, luck is on my side, and the bird is facing JUST the right way.  I never truly know until I upload them and get ready to crop the photos though.  Sometimes... VOILA!  There it is... You'll see!  

I am thankful for the inspiration the birds provide just by being wherever you find them.  
I intend to add a new activity to Cape Cod Bird Nerd services in 2020: 
Your Yard Birds - I visit your yard for an hour, identify the species for you and photograph, list and label them here for you on the blog.  Let me know what you think! 
(double click photos to enlarge)

My list:
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Blue Jay
American Robin
Downy Woodpecker
White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Flicker
Song Sparrow
Carolina Wren (!!!)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (!!!)
Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Carolina Wren
Inspecting our Christmas light wiring

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren
Note the downward curve of her/his bill, a great
field mark to focus on, as well as the pale eye stripe
above the eye

Carolina Wren

Downy Woodpecker
Pointing out the damage critters have done to our shed

American Robin silhouette behind the branches

Black-capped Chickadee

Carolina Wren
Inspecting the Old Man's Beard Lichen on an oak branch
 
American Robin

American Robins
Silhouetted with the fruity branches

American Robin

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

American Robin

Downy Woodpecker - female
Contemplating creating more damage to our roofline

Downy Woodpecker - female

Downy Woodpecker

Song Sparrow

Downy Woodpecker Silhouette

Northern Flicker
Being camera shy and distant

Blue Jay

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Downy Woodpecker
Demonstrating how strong their foot grip is

Golden-crowned Kinglet!!! - male

Golden-crowned Kinglet - male

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Downy Woodpecker - female

Carolina Wren
Bidding adieu!

Downy Woodpecker - male

Downy Woodpecker - male
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birding!




Thursday, June 20, 2019

6.20.19  Bird Nerd Moment
South Yarmouth

You can't tell me gulls aren't graceful.  I know, not all appreciate gulls the way I do.  I didn't grow up on the Cape, so for me, gulls were always a reminder of the shore and the sand between my toes, or the french fries between my fingers, with the salt air surrounding me.  When there are french fries about, surely... a gull is not far away here on Cape Cod.

Well there were no french fries today but a bunch of fruit and popcorn I had ready to go for a bunch of kids on a picnic table and as I was heading back to the car to get more supplies... I see this guy silently swooping in optimistically.   The camera was in hand so I got a few nice photos of her/him just before our conversation when I mentioned that the food was not up for grabs.  I did not bring it for the birds.  So the gull never landed, but continued to glide along effortlessly looking for another snack, seemingly used to the rejection.  I really like the photos I got, so I felt like sharing.  (double click to enlarge)

Herring Gull



Happy Birding!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

5.4.19  Private Walk - Historical Society of Old Yarmouth - Botanical Trails
Yarmouthport, MA

This is the fourth year the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth has asked me to lead a bird walk along the very green and lovely botanical trails that wrap around Miller Pond in Yarmouthport.  We were concerned for the weather, but it somehow allowed for us to fit our walk in.  We were immediately greeted along the way by a cheerful Song Sparrow, a curious American Robin and an early-blooming rhododendron!  Spectacular!   

The walk this year was scheduled a little earlier in May than in years past, so I was curious myself to discover the birds we'd encounter along the way.  There were some species I basically expected due to the habitat, and they did not disappoint, though we didn't see or hear any nuthatches.  That was definitely a surprise.

It is the time of year though when Eastern Towhees are calling out, looking for mates and establishing territories.  It is common for us to get some great views in and boy did we luck out!  I know the foggy weather was affecting some of the settings on my camera, so I didn't get too many photos.  The photos of the Eastern Towhees however, I am very pleased with.  We got quite a show!  I could not get great photos of the warblers who darted about at the top of the oaks and pines overhead, though we were fortunate to get to hear the pretty song of the Pine Warbler.  Calls and songs are the greatest way to identify warblers for me.  I could not confirm that we also saw a small flock of 6-10 of Yellow-rumped Warblers.  I thought it was awfully late in the season to be seeing them, but from the angles and daylight we had available, along with the behavior of the birds, they sure seemed to be the "butter butts" as another bird nerd called them.  : )

It was a nice way to get outside between the raindrops that somehow held off, and we had the perfect-sized group as well! (double click photos to enlarge)


Our List:
American Robin
Song Sparrow
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Flicker
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Blue Jay
Tufted Titmouse 
Mourning Dove
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Downy Woodpecker
Pine Warbler

American Robin - female
...welcoming us to our walk!  

American Robin playing Peek-A-Boo!


American Robin
Eastern Towhee - female

Eastern Towhee - male
Singing right in front of us... as if the greeter of the Pond Trail!

What a GIFT to be able to all see him this UP CLOSE!

Yellow-rumped Warbler... another Bird Nerd thought
Note the bill... a great field mark for birdwatching

Black-capped Chickadee


Sometimes the best you can get, is a warbler silhouette

Pine Warbler - male
SINGING!

Muted greens, greys and browns along the path

Red-winged Blackbird - male

Red-winged Blackbird - male
Puffing out his tail as he called out his territorial notes

A tree with a presence, a Post Oak... I think

A welcoming trail as we rounded the pond

Northern Cardinal - male

I just loved the silhouette of these brand new leaves against the overcast sky
Happy Birding!