There was a huge turnout for the first Arboretum bird walk in the new year; more than fifty people showed up hoping start their year list with some regular winter species as well as some rarities. We were not disappointed. The walk started at the feeding station near the Administration Building but there were few birds on the feeders. One nice one made a brief appearance and was seen by some.

This male Red-breasted Nuthatch is enjoying the suet at the Hunnewell feeders

This male Red-breasted Nuthatch was enjoying the suet at the Hunnewell feeders.

As we moved along Meadow Road the birding picked up. Beneath some shrubs we located a group of sparrows, and among them was an uncommon one:

Immature White-crowned Sparrow. The plain breast, brown and cream head stripes, and orange bill are distinctive

There were several White-Throated Sparrows and a Song Sparrow in the mix, providing a great chance to compare and contrast:

Male White-throated Sparrow with it’s white throat patch and black and white crown with yellow patch in front

Song Sparrow showing a streaked breast with a coalescing spot in front, and brown/gray head stripes.

We saw or heard three species of woodpecker, including this uncommon one:

Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Photo: Jason Platt

Immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Photo: Jason Platt

After we got to almost fully iced-over ponds we returned, ticking off some other resident and winter birds, including a Northern Mockingbird:

Northern Mockingbird, with it’s clear breast and long tail.

A couple of us got a quick look at this tiny beauty, a Golden-crowned Kinglet:

This Golden-crowned Kinglet has indeed a golden-yellow central head stripe.

This is the “winter kinglet”; the other in this group is seen more often in warmer weather:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet. These birds don’t always show their red top-knot as this agitated one is. They also have a thin white eye-ring.

They are fast-moving gems; hard to see and photograph.

Here is our list for this winter walk:

  • Arnold Arboretum, Suffolk, Massachusetts, US
  • Jan 6, 2019 9:00 AM - 10:40 AM
  • Protocol: Traveling
  • 2.0 mile(s)
  • Comments:     sun and clouds windless 35 BBC walk

22 species

  • Mallard  1
  • Mourning Dove  30
  • Herring Gull  1
  • Red-tailed Hawk  3
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2     immature and adult, photos
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
  • Downy Woodpecker  5
  • Blue Jay  6
  • Black-capped Chickadee  3
  • Tufted Titmouse  1
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
  • White-breasted Nuthatch  2
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
  • American Robin  35
  • Northern Mockingbird  1
  • House Finch  1
  • American Goldfinch  6
  • Dark-eyed Junco  24
  • White-crowned Sparrow  1     in with WTSP and SOSP, continuing immature, photos
  • White-throated Sparrow  12
  • Song Sparrow  5
  • Northern Cardinal  6

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

My partner Brendan Keegan will be leading monthly walks in the Arnold Arboretum throughout the winter and early spring; his next walk will be on Saturday February 23rd. I hope you can join him at the main gate at 9 AM. I will start up my spring walks on Saturday April 27th, beginning at the same gate but at 8AM.

Good Birding!