On Saturday, May 15th, the Wentworth Watershed Association kicked off their events for the year with a bird walk. The walk started at Fernald Station and went to where the rail trail crosses Fernald Brook. The group then went to Ryefield Marsh that is at the NE end of the lake. Virginia Long of Milton has led many bird walks in the past and was the leader. She helped find birds, answered questions and shared her enthusiasm for birds with the group. A great time was had by all.
On the walk to Fernald Brook, the group stopped to listen to the song of the Ovenbird, a kind of warbler. It seems to belt out “teacher, teacher, teacher, teacher” and is often heard in the woods around the lake. Someone spotted one beside the rail trail and everyone got to get a great look at the bird as it was only 10 yards off the path. Given the stuff in the beak, this bird is working on a nest which is built on the ground and looks like an oven (as you might imagine given the name of the bird).
We also saw one of our resident birds, a Black-capped Chickadee, collecting nesting material. It pecked and pulled for a minute or so until its beak got full of fluffy stuff before it flew off.
An American Goldfinch sang for us, too. This is a flashy bird with a high finch trill and often is seen at bird feeders.
A number of warblers were singing and this black and white warbler was no exception. Its call is a very high pitched trill repeated a dozen times.
A song sparrow was not to be ignored and he, too, was belting out his song. It was nice that he was near enough to get a good picture and he was staring right at the camera.
Virginia had her bird book and would point out the various identifying features on the different birds. On the song sparrow, there is generally a small dark dot in the middle of the chest, often called its “stick-pin”.
In the non-bird department, one person noticed two large snapping turtles. Their shells were both about a foot in diameter.
At Ryefield swamp, there were some different birds including Baltimore Orioles and Red-winged Blackbirds. Also, some of the birds posed a bit better for the camera and this Yellow Warbler was showing off its front, ruddy stripes.
A Common Yellow-throat Warbler was also more cooperative. This bird does have a yellow throat but the black mask seems to be the determining identifying mark. The question of why it isn’t called a “Black-masked Warbler” was discussed…..
Some birds are less conspicuous and the sparrow clan is in that group. The sparrow in this picture is a chipping sparrow and has a very handsome red-brown cap.
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was seen on top of a dead tree and other birds were evident. One memorable bird is a Veery and was just sitting on an electric wire along the road. A Veery is a member of the thrush family and sings a wonderful downward, spiraling, flutey trill. If you have one nesting near you, you will enjoy its song. We heard a Hermit Thrush near the swamp and they, too, have a melodious, flutey song.
If you have some time, now is the time to get out and see some of these birds.