Thursday, April 18, 2019

4.18.19 Bird Nerd Moment - Cape Cod Rail Trail
Dennis & Yarmouth  

Paying for auto repairs is just one of those expenses that you have to handle every now and then.  Typically, it is not the most convenient predicament, especially when you're talking about the unknown diagnosis on the car and the time factor that can be associated with such maintenance. Why the heck am I talking about auto repairs?!  I have been bringing our car to a local vendor now for months - shop locally applies to auto repair as well!  They've been very accommodating and helpful and only 2 miles away.  I thought, "Hmm....they are not far from the Cape Cod Rail Trail... I'll just drop the car off and walk home!"  Wanting to turn what would be a negative effect on my bank account into a positive for me with checking out this new trail was a good motivator.

As soon as I walked about 100 yards on the new pavement of the Dennis section of the Rail Trail, it started to rain.   Oh well.  This was the main reason I didn't bring my camera along, so my photos are from my phone, nothing fancy about them and the birds didn't provide too many close ups.  There are some great views along this stretch of the Rail Trail.  What a beautiful job they (not sure who "they" are) did!  It is freshly groomed in some areas - three new bridges included - and it's a very safe way to get from here to there, while enjoying peace and quiet even while traveling parallel to Route 6.  You DO need to be vigilant while crossing over the main roads though, but safety crosswalks and flashing lights are much appreciated safety features.

Seeing what other people sometimes leave in their back yards made me feel better about the mostly hidden clutter I shove behind our own shed.  What I loved most of all was the time I got to spend watching the bird behavior as they worked their morning magic across several habitats that the Cape Cod Rail Trail traverses.  I enjoyed it so much, I got an additional 2 miles more of steps for myself to walk back and pick up the car later in the day.  There were less birds in the afternoon, which is typical.  I can't blame them for enjoying a siesta after their early bird busy time. 

Cape Cod offers so many spaces where modern amenities mingle with natural surroundings rather gracefully.  Such locations offer a delicate balancing act of a secret habitat sneak peek, via accessible convenience.  The design of the Cape Cod Rail Trail has done that uniquely well. (double click photos to enlarge)

My list:
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco (!!!)
House Sparrow
European Starling
American Goldfinch
Common Grackle
Chipping Sparrow - my first of 2019!
Northern Flicker
Hairy Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse
Red-winged Blackbird
Northern Cardinal
Fish Crow
Blue Jay

American Robin

I SWEAR this was a Dark-eyed Junco!
I just didn't have my binoculars or fancy lens to prove it

I warned that the photos of birds were less than spectacular...
That is the first 2019 Chipping Sparrow for me

Red-winged Blackbird, overlooking Route 6

A southern look at Bass River

The bridge over Bass River dedicated to the late George Allaire.  According to Wicked Local's article)
Allaire, the former Yarmouth public works director, was largely responsible for initiating the enormous project.
Nice touch!

I've often wondered why these oaks wait to drop their leaves until the new buds form new leaves in the spring.
I believe it's in order to help certain wildlife build their nests.  Thanks to humans, a lot of leaf litter suitable for
nest building is not readily available this time of year thanks to landscaping and yard perfecting. 
The oaks have solved a problem for the wildlife... at least that's how I like to think of it.
Nests like this...

Mrs.(hard to see bottom left) and Mr. Northern Cardinal

A faint silhouette of a soaring Osprey heading back to the nest on the tower

Back to a more natural trail

Spring IS exciting!  These tiny buds are covering this shrub... ready to POP!

Arriving to the party early...Mayflower (Trailing arbutus) doesn't seem to care that it's April...
Happy Birding!

Monday, March 11, 2019

3.11.19  Bird Nerd Memory
Yarmouth & Brewster, MA

"O" is for Osprey, who will be returning to Cape Cod very soon.  March is typically a wild month here on the Cape with unpredictable weather and rollercoaster-like temperatures.  I know maybe it's silly to worry about wildlife, but it's just who I am.  It seems that within just a day or three of the Osprey's return to the Cape...usually right around St.Patrick's Day, 
there is a Nor'easter.  Where do they go?  How do they shelter themselves?  How do they stay warm enough?  How do they have the energy after thousands of miles of migration to build a humongous nest to prepare for the next generation?  Birds are survivors.  They are also sensitive to the changes in the ecosystem.  Be nice to the birds and they'll keep showing up as beautiful as they are.  

The Ospreys are on their way!  There is warm sunshine on Cape Cod today and it makes me anxious to hear the Osprey call and to see them soaring overhead.  Warmer air will be here to stay, but probably not until May.  The birds give us the hope of the changing seasons. 

I took these photos while on a bird walk in Brewster about four and a half years ago.  Our group was so fortunate to stumble upon a juvenile Osprey, looking large and posing for pics!  You can tell this is a juvenile by the pale-colored tips on the very edge of her feathers.  Mature adult feathers are completely black all the way to the edges. (double click photos to enlarge)

Happy Birding!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

2.28.19 Bird Nerd Moment - my yard
Yarmouth, MA

A light snow started falling last night on Cape Cod, and it is still faintly falling. What a lovely surprise to see a juvenile Cooper's Hawk perched on the edge of our yard for nearly 20 minutes, a beautiful gift for the day! Hope you are enjoying snow if you have some where you are! (double click photos to enlarge)

Cooper's Hawk - juvenile

Happy Birding!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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

Bird walks in January probably seem like an outlandish concept for many.  I get it.  It IS very cold outside, but as a New Englander, I just wear layers of warm stuff and then I'm good to go, as long as I keep moving.  

The wind chill wasn't as severe as we walked along the wooded of John Wing Island, but it was a different story when we reached the sands.  It's nearly impossible to focus your own eyes when winter winds are determined to make you teary-eyed.

We had several sightings ( and hearings ) of the local regulars, and some fabulous views of a female Hairy Woodpecker who seemed to be focused on finding some bark beetles for breakfast along the tops of the Pitch Pines.  I have to admit, I did not know that Hairy Woodpeckers have a broken eye ring ( a tiny circle of tiny feathers surrounding their eye which makes it look like a ring of white ).  It is clear to see so though, in one of the photos I was fortunate to be able to get of her.  She didn't seem to mind us so nearby at all, and she 
was fun to observe and listen to as she displayed the tell tale woodpecker drumbeats while working.  

I wasn't sure if the east side of the trail that crosses the dunes would be washed out as it often is, so I wanted to check it from the set of wooden steps.  The trail and wood walkway was in decent shape and passable, but we weren't opting for walking right into the icy winds along the shore.  I was so glad we paused there for a few moments though because as is so often on Tuesday Tweets, we were rewarded!  I have NEVER seen a Merlin on our hikes, and then all of a sudden, there he was!  Darting over the dunes and landing on the cedar trees, scoping out his sandy hunting ground.  He was quite a distance away from us, so the photos I got make him look like a blob at the top of the tree he was perched on. 
There was no doubt it was a falcon we'd seen though.  He had the angular wings in fast flight and I noticed the orangey underside as he did so.  Happy 2019, Bird Nerd Style!
(double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Blue Jay
Northern Cardinal
Black-capped Chickadee
Song Sparrow
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Carolina Wren
Merlin (!!!)
American Crow
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
American Black Duck
Canada Goose

Song Sparrow

Not in the mood for photos - so s/he darted into the protection of the marsh

Black-capped Chickadee 

Hairy Woodpecker - female
Note the broken eye ring

Just as pretty in the shadows

The edge of the shore of Cape Cod Bay is starting to freeze. 
Does this photo make you chilly?

MERLIN!  The photos I got are admittedly sub par
I was just so happy to see him!  

Backside of a Merlin - Best my lens could do given the distance

I like to capture this view in each season if possible

Herring Gulls and American Black Ducks

Canada Geese
and if you look closely - you can see the Pilgrim Monument in the top right of the photo

Canada Geese

We came across one of Sue Finnegan's (Cape Cod Bander) mist net areas which runs
through the woods and parallel to the main trail

And what a trail it is!
Happy Birding!