Saturday, June 30, 2012

Weekend Birds in Sharon, Newton and Natick, MA

A Killdeer lands on the grass outside of City Hall in Newton, MA. This member of the Plover family is often found far from the coast.
Since I had plans to go kayaking with my cousin yesterday afternoon I decided to do a little birding beforehand at the Newton City Hall. I was glad to see many of the same species which were present yesterday, including the Eastern Kingbirds and a Killdeer which was even more cooperative today when I tried to take its photo.There were many Mallards, Pigeons and Robbins present as well, and the highlight (aside from the Killdeer) was a Red-tailed Hawk that caught my eye soaring on a thermal over the park.

Lake Cochituate , located in Cochituate State Park in Natick, MA is a popular destination for kayakers, sailors and fisherman.

After birding I headed over to Lake Cochituate in Cochituate State Park, Natick, MA, to meet my cousin to do some paddling. We rented kayaks from Charles River Canoe and kayak, which allowed us to explore a variety of ecological corners on the water, from marshy spots filled with turtles and ducks to narrow places where Herons, Kingfishers and Eastern Kingbirds watched for prey from hidden perches. I left my binoculars in the car, but brought along my camera and managed to see some really great birds, including a first of the season Belted Kingfisher.  I was also positively delighted to get within about 3 feet of a Great Blue Heron hunting at the water's edge.

A Great Blue heron surveys the waters of lake Cochituate from its perch on a  tree branch. This species if normally quite skittish, but I was able to get a photo of this heron by allowing my kayak to drift quietly past the bird.

We also came across myriad other wildlife, ranging from Dragonflies and Damselflies to Painted Turtles and Muskrats. Unfortunately, we also came across a variety of floating trash, including several Styrofoam trays, a beach shoe and a beach ball, all of which I loaded into my kayak and brought back to shore to throw away. I suppose that with a swimming beach and picnic area at the park it's inevitable that some errant trash may end up in the water, but it was upsetting to see nonetheless.

Unfortunately it's not uncommon for trash and other debris to make its way into the water when people are careless. In this photo you can see we found a beach ball, Styrofoam trays and a water shoe.
 I finished the day at Mass Audubon's Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, hoping to see some interesting butterflies as well as birds. As soon as I got out of my car I noticed an abundance of birdsong and as I made my way over to check out the feeders beside the nature center, some movement caught my eye and I paused to look through my binoculars - on the other side of a fence were two adult Wild Turkeys and 7 juveniles. This could very well be the same group I saw in the area a few weeks ago, so I was excited to see them again. I watched them forage for a while, and then two other adults appeared. I then moved on to check out the feeders but soon heard very loud calls coming from the same area - I returned to see two adult male turkeys facing off against each other. This is something I hadn't seen before and it was pretty interesting. They were both clearly quite agitated and were gobbling very loudly as they flew up into the air a couple of feet off the ground and collided head on. After a few minutes the dispute seemed to resolve itself and the birds quieted down. Later, I saw a female turkey and some of her young feeding on the ground beside the nature center.

A Wild Turkey forages beside the nature center at the Mass Audubon Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, MA.
I also made sure to check out the fields closest to the nature center and along the Billings Loop. The big field was actually surprising quiet, aside from Chipping Sparrows and one or two Swallows, there was very little bird activity evident.

The fields At Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary offer great opportunities to see Tree Swallows, Chickadees, Eastern Towhees, Hawks and other birds.

 I finished off the day by taking some photos of wild flowers.

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is not only a great place to observe wildlife, but to see a wide variety of wild flowers, trees, ferns and shrubs.
Thanks for reading.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

1 comment: