Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer 12: Reunion

6:30am-7:15am, my neighborhood + Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA
cool, breezy, scattered clouds

A "tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle" singin' Carolina Wren serenaded me before I'd gotten one block from my house.
He lured me first with this trill:

Then, I re-visited the Arboretum for the first time since early June. It was a gorgeous and happy reunion!

I reveled in the lush, dense greens; the new shoulder-high meadows where last I'd seen cropped lawns; the bright dimples of wildflower-color everywhere.

Running into Rocco and his owner, I babbled happily about how nice it was to see the Arboretum at its peak of summer glory. He burst my bubble by pointing out that there were already many fallen leaves, brown, on the path. I remembered the acorn from Franklin Park last week. My spirit dipped momentarily.

As I strolled home, I noticed a whole stand of trees standing in inches of dead, brown leaves, and decided that those must be LAST YEAR's leaves, that have not decomposed yet. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...!

Other birds this week:

On Tuesday 8/16 I heard a crazy bird in Watertown in my friend's backyard - new to me, though a little bit like a catbird in its eclectic and sheer weird-ness. To be recorded!

Earlier that afternoon, I stopped by magical Mt. Auburn Cemetery, as the sun broke through a day of clouds, dappling incredible beeches and deeply-creviced sugar maples.

I enjoyed this funny bird who looked almost like a non-blue (grey? white?) blue jay. Large, crowned head, black marks on his otherwise white throat.

Sunday 8/14

late morning, Franklin Park, Jamaica Plain, MA

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer 11: Signs

7:00am-8:00am, Franklin Park, Jamaica Plain, MA
cool, clear, gorgeous

First, a jay:

Next, a funny thing - an acorn falls on my head. After so many stormy fall and winter excursions without incident, it seems totally random to be dinged by an acorn in mid-August. Whoulda thunk?

I suspect it's yet another premonition that summer is waning - just like the chilly weather two days ago that gave me a wave of frightened recognition. Just when I had settled fully into the idea of always-hot, usually-humid, and never a long-sleeve except to combat indoors-AC...

A nice jaunt in Franklin Park, which is a-bustle with activity this morning, leads me to the Bevy of the Day. I know it's not the right term for chickadees, but I think it fits this scene - a roadside enclave of several chickadees whose varied songs were a mix of old and new to me. I wonder if some of the higher calls are summer variety, as I don't recognize some of the higher calls from my earlier spring, winter, or fall chickadee sightings.

Summer 10: Inventions

July 25-August 11, 2011

How to get back on the blogging-wagon after a long sojourn away?

It was a flurry-ous final couple weeks with Blue Sky Project and I just couldn't keep the blog up, though I did make the occasional birding excursion.

Daunted by the backlog and lack of written notes, I've decided to have some fun and be a bit inventive with my explanations for each recording. The dates, locations, and characters are more or less accurate. The stories are embellished. Enjoy!

August 11, 2011
6:45pm, on the road to Franklin Park, Jamaica Plain, MA
warm, golden, gorgeous

A mysterious animal with the face of a cat, the feet of a bird, and the tail of a squirrel, mewled at me from a low-hanging tree. The sound mesmerized me - it was disturbing, yet entrancing - and I inched closer and closer. I was saved from permanent hypnosis only by the familiar sound of human machinery. A close call!

August 10, 2011
7:00am-7:45am, Franklin Park, Jamaica Plain, MA

Before my astonished eyes, a rusty metal gate morphed into a blue jay!

August 7, 2011
7:45am, parking lot, College Park Center, University of Dayton, OH
misty and humid

I wouldn't have expected it in early August, but there they were - a large V of geese headed (roughly) east. A sparrow wearing a bright-orange safety vest directed them, much like ground crew at an airport.

August 6, 2011
7:00am, Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, OH

In the distance, I saw an Eastern Pee Wee teasing a large hawk. The hawk was clearly upset, so I hurried over to try to help out.
With the judicious use of animal sign-language (silent), I was able to convince the Pee Wee to lay off, though the hawk was a bit of a whiner in the end...

August 4, 2011
Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, OH

All it takes is one peewee.
As the cemetery maintenance staff revved up for their daily morning tractor race, an excited peewee managed to infect a nearby cardinal with his enthusiasm. Before I knew it, a whole gang of cardinals was gathered, cheeping with excitement and jostling for the best vantage point (branch).

July 31, 2011
Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, OH

If you ever need some very precise glass-cleaning, I highly recommend the chickadees. They have a special technique using only their toes, a bit of grass, and chickadee speed!

Here they are scrubbing away at the little glass house of a neighboring cardinal.