Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Backyard Birds

Here are some of today's avian visitors.  There was a lot of activity in the trees today.  I'm not sure if it is because it is just after Hurricane Sandy, because the Georges did yard cleanup yesterday and stirred things up, or if it's just coincidence, but it sure was nice to see all these varieties!  Kinglets were the "star of the day" today!

Golden-crowned Kinglet

This was the first time I had a real good look at the gold on the crown!  Wish that little branch didn't cut into the view!

Dark-eyed Junco (lots of these around)
Hope to catch one in flight someday to get the flash of white in its tail....

White-throated Sparrow

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Black-capped Chickadee

Cardinal (female)

Robin (in flocks today)

White-throated Sparrow

We were lucky and avoided the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.  We lost power for a little over two hours but otherwise just had branches and leaves to clean up.  Our thoughts are with those who are still without power and dealing with the damage the storm inflicted.  For those who are able to go trick-or-treating tonight, Happy Halloween!

Also seen but not photographed:  Tufted titmice (many), White-breasted Nuthatches (several), Red-Bellied Woodpecker (1), Downy Woodpecker (2), Cardinal (male) (3), and a Crow (1).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dainty Sulphur

There were two tiny yellow butterflies flying around the parking lot when we left Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve (Urbana, Ohio) last week.  I wasn't able to identify them while I was traveling, but after looking closely at the two photos I took of them, I believe they are Dainty Sulphurs.  This is another "new" butterfly species for me, but it is not one that is found in Massachusetts.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Great Blue Heron

I spotted this Great Blue Heron fishing on the Olentangy River just across from Mom and Dad's house in Delaware, Ohio.

Pileated Woodpecker

Yesterday morning began with a Red-Breasted Nuthatch sighting at my sister's backyard feeder.  Later, that afternoon, my parents and siblings and I all walked, in blustery winds with mid 50s temperatures, at Inniswood Metro Park in Westerville, OH.  There were still some pretty flowers in bloom at the entrance.

We walked The Preserve Trail, a beautiful, wide boardwalk which wound through the woods.  We hadn't gone too far at all when we heard the tapping of a woodpecker.

I was thrilled to see my first Pileated Woodpecker!  A life bird!  My parents had actually seen them here before, but we had all forgotten about it and so it was an unexpected surprise!

The foliage was also quite nice in spots!

We visited the rose garden on our way back to the car.  It was amazingly beautiful for late October and cold temperatures.  Here are some of the highlights.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve

I'm in Ohio, visiting my parents and sibs.  Yesterday, we walked the boardwalk trail at Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve in Urbana, Ohio.  The naturalist at the visitor center said there wasn't much to see this time of year, but we enjoyed it.

Most of the leaves have fallen here, and most of the flowers had gone to seed, too.

We stayed ON the boardwalk!   We were advised that these snakes are very timid and would likely leave the area if they heard people, so it was not a huge concern.

After the rattlesnake area, the boardwalk passes through sedge meadows where ...even though it looked solid, the naturalist warned us that if you left the boardwalk, you would sink to your waist in the bog.

Northern Flicker

The boardwalk

We did see a couple of deer in the thicket.
One blooming wildflower on the entire trail:  my Mom identified it as Marsh Marigold.
I did see two small yellow butterflies in the parking lot on the way out.  They were tiny compared to the usual Cloudy or Orange Sulphurs....I will have to take a closer look at those photos when I am home again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MBC October Butterfly Derby - Week 4

The Massachusetts Butterfly Club is hosting an "October Derby".   One of the members is keeping track of all the reported sightings, by species, and will provide a count at the end of the month.  Since he is only tracking data at the club level, I thought I'd keep my own records here.

Personal Species Total through 10/27:  11

Sunday 10/21

Boylston, MA
Monarchs - 5
Cabbage white - 4
Painted Lady - 4


Monday 10/22

Ashland, MA
Orange Sulphur - 5
Cabbage White - 1

Cabbage White

Tuesday 10/23

Framingham, MA
Orange Sulphur - 4-5
American Lady - 1

Wednesday 10/24 - Saturday 10/27

no Massachusetts butterflies - traveling out of state

Cushing Memorial Park

I took a drive over to Cushing Memorial Park in Framingham for my lunch break.  It was 74 degrees and the sun was trying hard to stay out.  Really a pretty late October day.  All the birds were common, but I still enjoyed trying to get photos of them.  I thought I heard some warblers, but I never saw any.

There were 4-5 Orange Sulphurs flying around and at the end, I saw an American Lady butterfly!  Not bad, not bad at all!

House Sparrow (female)

House Sparrows (male in front)

Northern Mockingbird

House Sparrow (female)

Black-Capped Chickadee

American Robin

Song Sparrow

American Lady butterfly

Still some nice color by the parking lot.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cabbage White

Not every day is as fun as this past weekend was for nature sightings!  Today was almost a complete wash.  I went to Queen Isabella Drive in Ashland to check out the meadow and the urban marsh area that border Wildwood Cemetery.  The birds stayed low in the reeds and refused to come up.  There were 5 or so Orange Sulphurs flying rapidly around the freshly mown meadow looking for any potential nectar source.  Frankly, I wished them luck.  It was mowed so low that there didn't seem to be even one surviving dandelion or clover bloom left.

Here is a photo of the one Cabbage White that I spotted.  Wouldn't you just love to know this butterfly's story?  It's obviously had a rough season, with several close calls.   According to the Mass Butterfly Club web site, the flight period for a Cabbage White is March 1 - December 5, but mainly mid-April to mid-October.  It should be proud that it has survived this late into the season!

Here's hoping tomorrow is a better nature day!

MBC October Butterfly Derby - Week 3

The Massachusetts Butterfly Club is hosting an "October Derby".   One of the members is keeping track of all the reported sightings, by species, and will provide a count at the end of the month.  Since he is only tracking data at the club level, I thought I'd keep my own records here.

Personal Species Total through 10/20:  11

Sunday 10/14

no butterflies

Monday 10/15
mid 70s, gusty winds

Concord, MA
Monarch  - 2
Orange Sulphur - 1
Copper - 1 (went off trail rapidly and I couldn't spot it again)

Tuesday 10/16

no butterflies

Wednesday 10/17

Framingham, MA
Cabbage White - 1
Red Admiral  - 2 (in flight)

Thursday 10/18

no butterflies

Friday 10/19

no butterflies

Saturday 10/20
sunny and mid-70s

Cambridge, MA
Red Admiral - 1

Bolton, MA
Cabbage white - 1
Painted Lady - 1

Painted Lady

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mass Audubon Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

I had a couple free hours while my son was at practice, so I drove over to Broadmoor in Natick and took an hour walk.  I forced myself to take a different route than my normal circuit and headed down Indian Brook Path....

Once I passed the private driveway, I entered an area with lots of bittersweet vines and consequently, lots of bird activity.  I saw American Robins, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Cardinals, Cedar Waxwings, a Northern Flicker, and a Sparrow I have yet to identify but am hoping is a Savannah Sparrow.  Nice way to pass an hour!

Yellow-Rumped Warbler
 (most common warbler I've seen this Fall)

Cedar Waxwing

 American Robin

Northern Flicker (male)

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

 Indian Brook Trail

Clay-colored Sparrow
(working on identification - possible Clay-colored Sparrow)

Closer look at Clay-colored Sparrow

 poss. Savannah Sparrow
Purple Finch (female)

She needs a napkin!

Cedar Waxwing

Pine Warbler

What a pretty sky!

It couldn't have been a more beautiful fall day here in New England.