Friday, April 18, 2014

Coyote at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land

I definitely jinxed myself.  I was talking to my Mom this morning about how when red foxes stop and stare at me, it doesn't bother me at all.  I just think, "They're curious."  Then, I added that if a coyote stopped and stared at me that same way, it would frighten me.   I would think, "It's sinister", or "It's stalking me."

So guess who was staring at me today at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land?  Just about every time I turned around and scanned the horizon.....I saw the Coyote.   I felt a little paranoid.   I warned one jogger, and as I was leaving, I warned two people coming in to walk their unleashed dog.

Downy Woodpecker

Rock Tripe closeup

Rock Tripe (distant)

Yup, still watching me....

 Chipping Sparrow

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Two Red Foxes

I tried a new destination today:  Cowassock Woods and Ashland Town Forest.  I am trying to make more of an effort to explore the green spaces in my own town.  It was an ok hike, although parts of the trail were very root-filled or rocky, making watching for wildlife secondary to watching my feet (for which I have no patience).

American Robin

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Have you ever tried to peek inside the skunk cabbage flower?  

Downy Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

My evening outing was much more fun, though.  First, I stopped at Hopkinton State Park.  There were a few Canada geese, one of which I noticed has a silver leg band just before it disappeared into the water.  The Pied-Billed Grebe was still on the water, too.  I also had a fly-by Double-Crested Cormorant.

Next, I stopped at Sudbury Reservoir Trail on Parkerville Road.  I first saw a pair of Northern Cardinals.  Then, I saw a red fox cross the road, and chuckled to myself as all the squirrels ran up into the trees as fast as they could, chattering warnings to each other from tree to tree.

I lost sight of the fox, but a little further down the trail  I ended up finding two!  The sun was sinking low in the sky, so the light wasn't good for photos, but I enjoyed spending at least a quarter of an hour watching them.

Farewell, my foxy friends!

Parting shot of the Sunset 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Going Green at Breakneck Hill

The recent rain and warmer temperatures have really made a difference up at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land.   The brown, matted look of the winter meadows is turning green.   Trees are showing a blush of color from budding out.

An Eastern Phoebe led me down the trail, going from tree branch to a twig near the ground, to the next tree and so on....

Norm, the Northern Mockingbird, was near the shrubs by the parking lot, and I believe I caught sight of Norma in the middle bottom of the same shrubs.  

There were a couple of guys at the top of the hill that were carrying a long piece of wood.  I wondered what on earth they were going to do with it....and then I saw a pretty good-sized model airplane.  It was their runway strip.  It was quieter in flight than I expected, but I still have to say I'd prefer the sounds of nature than the motor of a model airplane.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Amphibians Around the Block

Warm night (59 degrees).  Heavy rain.  I saw some frogs hopping on the roads when I drove home tonight, so I decided to don my headlamp, grab an umbrella and my camera and see just who was in my neighborhood.  I walked up my street, down to the next one and back.  Frogs were definitely active tonight!

I am really new at this, so my identifications are guesses.   If you see an error, please let me know in a comment!

Green Frog (I think)

Bullfrog Green Frog
(Thanks to Josh F. for his comment help with ID)

American Toad Gray Tree Frog
(Thanks to Josh F. for help with this ID)
Note the sticky foot pads!

 Green Frog

Green Frog (ridge runs from eye down backside)

Bullfrog (ridge runs from eye around ear)

Wood Frog

American Toad Gray Tree Frog
(ditto to Josh F. for help with ID)
Note the sticky foot pads!

Their eyes glowed like jewels in the light, so it was easy to find them in the dark!  It was neat to meet the neighbors and surprising to find such a variety.  Next time, I'll take a plastic ruler, because you really can't tell the sizes from these photos.  The wood frog and toads tree frogs were the smallest.   The bullfrog in the photo just before the wood frog was the biggest.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Palm Warbler and Mourning Cloaks at BHCL

I was going to search for warblers this morning but got distracted by spring flowers.


(I think these are some of the ones that were planted along
 the Boston Marathon Route after the bombing last year.)


It wasn't quite the beautiful day originally predicted.  By lunchtime, it was in the mid 60s, but extremely gusty and overcast.  I was not expecting to see much of anything with the crazy wind.  So I was pleasantly surprised to come home with a couple photos from my afternoon walk at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land.

I saw 5 Mourning Cloaks battling to maintain their flight plans in the wind.  Most were sorry that they ever lifted off the ground and were in a hurry to get back again.  To be precise, three were actually in the Town Forest.  The other two were on the edge of the BHCL meadow abutting the Town Forest.

Mourning Cloak

After skipping my search for warblers this morning, I was happy to have a Palm Warbler pop up onto this stone wall at Breakneck Hill.  I love seeing flashes of yellow in the spring!  This bird spends its winters in the Caribbean (smart move!)  It only wears its chestnut cap in the springtime.  It's a very pretty bird passing through Massachusetts on its way to Canada.

 Palm Warbler