Friday, May 24, 2013

Checking in at Nahanton Park

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly stops to inspect a plant in a garden plot at Nahanton Park in Newton, Massachusetts. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.
Although the atmosphere felt uneasy today, heavy with potential rain and ready to let loose with thunder and lighting, the air was also full of birdsong at Nahanton Park in Newton, MA this afternoon with Yellow Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, House Wrens and Gray Catbirds calling from treetops, brush and fence posts. I was only out birding for a little more than an hour, but I got to see 19 species of birds, as well as a range of avian behavior.There were also numerous moths and butterflies out and about, including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in the photo above.

A male American Goldfinch in breeding plumage sits atop a fence at Nahanaton Park in Newton, MA. Image copyright Daniel E.Levenson 2013.
Many of the birds I saw today were nesting or engaged in food gathering, which is typical for this time of year. The Yellow Warblers seemed to be around practically everywhere I went at Nahanton - I heard them singing as they moved from branch to branch, searching for food and I came across one of their nests in a fairly exposed spot by the trail, with the female was very much in sight but the male nowhere to be seen. This is the second Yellow Warbler nest Ive found this spring - the first one was in a wet, brushy area near the boardwalk at Mass Audubon's Broadmoor wildlife sanctuary in Natick, Massachusetts. In addition to the warblers which were nesting I saw several Tree Swallows peeking their heads out from nest boxes, no doubt sitting on eggs inside, and a beautiful pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Several of the birds I saw today looked fairly worn, including a Tufted Titmouse, an American Robin and one of the many Gray Catbirds I saw on my walk. It's possible that the weather played a factor in their appearance, but it's also possible that they are going through some stage of molting. This is a topic I would love to learn more about, if anyone out there has insight into the molting stages for these commonly seen birds.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

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