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Walk In Honor of Bird Mothers
May 10, 2009 - Tim Factor

Hello all,

A few hardy souls braved the stiff winds this Mother's Day morning for a walk through the Alewife Reservation in Cambridge and Belmont sponsored by the Friends of the Alewife Reservation. We walked from the Reservation parking area on Acorn Drive to Little Pond and back via the Silver Maple Forest. The birding highlights were shorebirds, maybe not what one expects as the attraction for a birding trip in Cambridge. A couple of us had a pair of Solitary Sandpipers in the swales on both sides of the path at the East end as we were arriving. We also saw a pair of adult Killdeer and two tiny Killdeer young. One of the Solitaries tried to land amongst the Killdeer and was promptly chased off. We later had Spotted Sandpipers at both Little River and Little Pond.

The strong winds did seem to keep the birds down and made seeing and hearing them very difficult at times. Local breeders like Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Warbling Vireos, and especially Baltimore Orioles were abundant and vocal though. Migrants were in shorter supply and relatively quiet. We did have three Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and some of us did hear briefly a Least Flycatcher's "che-bek".

Before the trip began I also saw a Coyote sneaking into the thicket behind Blair Pond.

  • 20 Canada Goose - including two batches of goslings
  • 3 Mute Swan
  • 3 Mallard
  • 1 Double-crested Cormorant
  • 5 Great Blue Heron - it seemed at least one was in the air for much of the walk - there could have been 9 or 10 birds or we were seeing the same birds repeatedly. I suspect they're roosting at Little Pond overnight and we were seeing them disperse to feeding grounds.
  • 2 Red-tailed Hawk - one adult, one immature
  • 4 Killdeer - young sometimes under sitting female.
  • 2 Spotted Sandpiper
  • 2 Solitary Sandpiper
  • 2 Herring Gull
  • 2 Rock Pigeon
  • 6 Mourning Dove
  • 12 Chimney Swift
  • 2 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 1 Least Flycatcher - west end of Acorn Park Drive
  • 8 Warbling Vireo
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 1 American Crow
  • 2 Tree Swallow - winds on Little Pond must have kept them grounded, normally abundant with a regular pair of Rough-wings there
  • 1 Barn Swallow
  • 3 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 House Wren - heard briefly
  • 10 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • x European Starling
  • 1 Northern Parula
  • 15 Yellow Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Blue Warbler - silent male
  • 2 Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler
  • 2 Black-and-white Warbler
  • 1 American Redstart
  • 3 Common Yellowthroat - one brief look
  • 1 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Savannah Sparrow
  • 6 Song Sparrow
  • 4 White-throated Sparrow
  • 3 Northern Cardinal
  • 3 Rose-breasted Grosbeak - one male and female seen, another singing
  • 20 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 10 Common Grackle
  • 6 Brown-headed Cowbird
  • 20 Baltimore Oriole - everywhere and very noisy
  • x House Sparrow

Tim Factor