Tuesday, August 16, 2016

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

Birds, birds...BIRDS!  We saw perhaps the most amount of species of different birds on this particular Tuesday Tweets, and it was an added bonus, that the weather was Cape Cod Perfection.  It was hot, but there was a gentle breeze, lots of sunshine... a time to be outdoors, binoculars around your neck, comfy shoes on sandy feet and a smile on your face.

We don't always make it to Cape Cod Bay, because the birds we see and hear along the way are so often wonderfully distracting and detaining... we simply (well I simply) cannot make it all the way to the water in a mere hour.  This morning was a slightly extended Tuesday Tweets.  I could not tear myself away from the shore, with the terns flying just above our heads, singing their beachy song - at least that's what it means to my ears. When I hear terns screeching and calling and creating the sound that is all their own, it makes me want to stretch out on the sand and take a leisurely beach nap.  It's that peaceful for me.  I realize sights and sounds of the shore have different meanings to different people, but I was mesmerized this morning.  We were overrun with TERNS!  It was gorgeous.

The bird nerds seemed so pleased and I have to make mention that a former Birding 101 KidSummer Kid and her mom, joined in on this particular Tuesday Tweets.  I am so PROUD of her!  I loved birding with her!  She was taking it all very seriously and seemed to be enjoying each moment, identifying species and taking in the moment that we all so fortunately were able to share together.  Thanks Bird Nerds!  What a morning! (double click photos to enlarge & don't miss Rick's photo contributions!)

Our List:
Northern Cardinal
Tufted Titmouse
American Robin
Song Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Osprey
American Crow
Barn Swallow
European Starling
Gray Catbird
Eastern Towhee
Prairie Warbler
Mourning Dove
Laughing Gull
Cedar Waxwing
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Phoebe
Baltimore Oriole
Great Black-backed Gull
Double-crested Cormorant
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Ruddy Turnstone
Black-bellied Plover
Short-billed Dowitcher (???)
Least Terns
Common Tern


Bumble Bees with legs COVERED 
in pollen!
Photo Credit: RICK


Osprey - by the next Tuesday Tweets
we probably will not be seeing any Osprey for 2016

European Starlings - flocking on the power lines

American Goldfinch - male

Bird Nerds on the saltmarsh

Song Sparrow

Eastern Chipmunk

Prairie Warbler - Photo Credit: RICK

Prairie Warbler - Photo Credit:RICK

Mourning Dove

Cedar Waxwing...couldn't see the mate

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird - Photo Credit: RICK



Gray Catbird - looks like juvenile, kinda scruffy looking

Baltimore Oriole


Sometimes photos look blurry and more painting-like
(never will claim to be a professional photographer)

Laughing Gulls with breeding plumage filling in 
in varying stages

Laughing Gull - Photo Credit: RICK
Double-crested Cormorant - Photo Credit: RICK
Sure wish I could...

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone - Photo Credit: RICK


Ruddy Turnstone...on a mission, which
did not phase the Laughing Gull in the least

Common Terns - Photo Credit: RICK

Black-bellied Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher (???) Common Tern
Photo Credit: RICK

So very strange to observe so many different species
of birds, mingling so happily & in such proximity!
Everyone's happier on the shore!

Herring Gull - juvenile - Photo Credit: RICK

Common Tern - juvenile - Photo Credit: RICK

Ring-billed Gull - Photo Credit: RICK



Laughing Gull - juvenile

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phobe silhouette
It's COOL to be a BIRD NERD!

Happy Birding!

Friday, August 12, 2016

8.12.16 KidSummer Day Camp - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Brewster, MA

Our last day.  Today is also the last day of KidSummer 2016 at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History!  I really cannot believe it.  What an inquisitive bunch of bird nerds this week! That being said, I wanted to mention what I sometimes do with local school kids in that we make an, "I Wonder" board.  I asked everyone to think of a question related to birds that we could either answer immediately, or think about together, or research themselves.  One of my favorite websites (which some of these bird nerds already were aware of) allaboutbirds.org, is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website and it is a wealth of information you'll find fascinating!  It's great place to find out answers to their questions and learn more about what birds have to offer!  See the photo of their questions below.

We were determined to make it to the beach today, and we sure did.  It was hot, hazy & humid yet again...but we bird walked with plenty of water, took shade breaks and I just kept checking in on everyone to be sure all were A-OK.  We made it!  Wait until you see the photos tell the story of what we did, how we enjoyed the mudflats, and the water, and the creatures and the simple beauty of spending quality curious time at the edge of Cape Cod Bay. Feathers were found, as well as sea creature evidence, left behind in the sand, and have I got a story for you!  One of the bird nerds, while exploring the tidal pools, discovered many hermit crabs, one of whom was SHELL-LESS!  He needed a new shell!  Or she... either way, this little hermit crab was desperate for a shell for shelter in the blazing sun and caught in the tidal pool, which would be a danger zone without the protection of a shell.  We decided to help out!  S/he was crawling around trying to fit into shells that already had residents... kinda hilarious to observe.  Use your imagination!  We found a selection of empty periwinkle shells for options and the second or third shell fit JUST RIGHT!  What a moment on the shore!  I have never seen this in many MANY years of scouring mudflats & tidal pools.  It was a triumphant moment for the bird nerds, for me, but I think mostly for the hermit crab snuggling into her/his new home.  I don't know why I've felt so many children's book references this week... I suppose it's been that wonderFUL. This experience reminded me of Eric Carle's A House for Hermit Crab - another precious children's book.  It's been a fantastic week with this flock of bird nerds.  I'll miss them & I look forward to hearing their bird stories and bird questions someday!  Thank you bird nerds for your stories, your questions, your patience, your quiet, your creativity & most of all, your curiosity..(double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Osprey
House Sparrow
Black-capped Chickadee
American Goldfinch
Barn Swallow
Mourning Dove
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern (tough to ID from the distance we were at)
American Crow
Song Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Semipalmated Plover
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Great Blue Heron

Osprey



Found feather

Nest

American Goldfinch - male

Osprey



Sea Lavender - tiny light purple flowers

Bayberry with the berries

Mourning Dove

Semipalmated Plover



Ring-billed Gulls

Ring-billed Gull




Crab Claw!


Tern


Tern - juvenile (left) & adult (left)

Semipalmated Sandpiper (pretty sure - only had a moment to ID)

Common Terns


Great Black-backed Gulls, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gulls



Spotting gull prints on the mudflats

Common Terns


Great Black-backed Gull


Cooling off 


Hermit Crabs

Sharing Hermit Crabs





Great Black-backed Gulls

Great Black-backed Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls & Laughing Gull (lower middle)



Periwinkle





I'm not sure what this is, but it had previously been
vascularized...so part of some creature - when it was alive.  


Sense of wonder being cultivated...




Hermit crabs & one withOUT a shell!



So...we searched for the right size shell...to help a hermit crab out...

Home inspection underway

After trying it out... this shell was too big


Just to be sure - we offered the next shell in the water.

SUCCESS!!! YAHOO!!!

Great Blue Heron - what a reward for the last major sighting of our week together!



Bird Nerd Salute!

Berd Nerd Salute... along with other poses, like unicorn pegasuses.

Poison Ivy with berries


BOTH Osprey on the nest...not seen very often these days

The "I Wonder" questions

Remember young bird nerds... IT'S COOL TO BE A BIRD NERD!!!
HAPPY BIRDING!