A late fall bird walk in the Arnold

The temperature at 8 AM was in the mid-forties and the birds were having none of it for the first 45 minutes until the sun began to warm things up.  Fifteen birders plus my co-leader Andrew and I looked in vain for anything other than robins and jays until we got to the base of Bussey Hill where things began to pick up.  A Blackpoll Warbler was our only fall warbler, eating berries in a small euonymus shrub.  Farther on we found some common woodpeckers and sparrow species.  We heard Golden-crowned Kinglets, and saw Ruby-crowned of the same genus as they flitted about in a crabapple tree.


Golden-crowned Kinglet. The striped face and orange-yellow crown is distinctive.
Photo: Bob Mayer


Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Note the partial white eye ring and otherwise plain head; usually just a hint of the crown is visible as in this image.
Photo: Bob Mayer

Both of these tiny species are often seen in the fall as they switch over from the Ruby-crowned— more present in the warmer months, to the Golden-crowned— more common in winter.

We then proceeded to the ponds where we picked up two late Red-winged Blackbirds and a pair of Northern Mockingbirds flying in tandem and calling out their mimicry of songs of other species.


Northern Mockingbird. The long tail and the white wing patches are especially prominent in flight.
Photo: Bob Mayer

Here is our list of birds seen today:

Arnold Arboretum, Suffolk, US-MA
Oct 19, 2013 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
Comments:     46- 60, sunny
27 species

Great Blue Heron  1 Faxon Pond
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Mourning Dove  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Blue Jay  many
Black-capped Chickadee  4
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
Carolina Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin many
Northern Mockingbird  2
European Starling  5
Cedar Waxwing  4
Blackpoll Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  4
White-throated Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  1
Northern Cardinal  1
Red-winged Blackbird  2
House Finch  5
American Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  8

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15441059

This walk concluded the fall series of bird walks in the Arboretum.  We will be leading one more walk this year; this one around Jamaica Pond looking primarily for waterfowl.  The walk will be at 8:30 on Saturday December 7th starting at the parking area on the NW side of the pond, along Perkins Street.  If you want to brush up on your ducks before this walk, check out my posts last year on this blog-  Jamaica Pond Ducks and Rare Birds & Odd Ducks on Jamaica Pond.

We will kick off 2014 with a winter walk in the Arboretum on Sunday January 12th also at 8:30AM and commencing inside the Main Gate off the Arborway.

Good Birding!


A windy bird walk on Peters Hill

On Saturday October 12, I led a walk with sixteen eager birders through Peters Hill and part of the Conifer Collection in the Arnold Arboretum.  We started off with looks at two woodpecker species, including a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  A nice bird, but not as striking as the adult male of this species:

Carolina Wren

Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Photo: Bob Mayer

We also saw some other resident birds and heard a Carolina Wren calling below the Burial Grounds on the east side of the Hill. Off to a good start, we then moved into a long stretch with almost no birds.  Thinking the wind was keeping the avian crew hunkered down, we went off into the conifers on the lee side of the hill.  After some searching we finally got into some birds:


Blackpoll Warbler in fall plumage
Photo: Bob Mayer


After seeing this common fall warbler as well as another- Yellow-rumped Warbler- we had some brief looks at some Cedar Waxwings before they flew out:


Cerdar Waxwing eating Tartarian Honeysuckle berries
Photo: Bob Mayer



Our scheduled time for the walk was now over but it was hard to pry the group away from some nice sightings, particularly after the drought we had earlier.  Several sparrow species appeared in the short grass near the intersection of Valley Road and Hemlock Hill.  We ended the walk with close up views of a flock of American Goldfinches, displaying a broad range of plumage as they fed on weed seeds along Bussey Brook.

Here is the list of species we identified:

Arnold Arboretum, Suffolk, US-MA
Oct 12, 2013 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
Comments:     55, cloudy and windy
21 species

Red-tailed Hawk  2
Herring Gull  1
Mourning Dove  2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  3
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  3
Blue Jay  15
Black-capped Chickadee  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Carolina Wren  1
American Robin  X
European Starling  12
Blackpoll Warbler  6
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3
Chipping Sparrow  15
Song Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  2
Dark-eyed Junco  1
Northern Cardinal  1
House Finch  8
American Goldfinch  20

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15384299

The last fall walk will start at the Main Gate next Saturday October 19 at 8AM.

Good Birding!