All posts by lmelvin1@aol.com

Birder and butterfly watcher and compulsive cleaner of environments.

Dave Brown walk 8/2 and Sun 8/3 counts

Despite the intermittent rain showers and very wet foliage, Dave led an informative nature and history walk on the North Trail. He is a professional tracker, a wildlife assessor and has completed wilderness survival training in the Sierra Nevada mountains. He was filled with information about the animals of the reservation, plants, and the history of the area. We got to eat for free owing to the abundance of ripening blackberries throughout the reservation. We saw many deer tracks, found a toad, and lamented that the rain made the birdlife and butterflies scarce. But the information and knowledge more than made up for the dearth of creatures. The walk will be repeated in three weeks.

Sunday brought more sunshine and the birds as well as one species of butterflies were out. There was a major migration in of Cedar Waxwings (21) and Blue Gray Gnatcatchers (9). Seven immature Baltimore Orioles were seen. On the Alewife Greenway, 21 broad wing skippers (butterflies) were nectaring on the loosestrife in the sun. Other birds seen:
Crow 2
Chimney Swift 4
Great Blue Heron 1
Black Crown Night Heron 1
Song Sparrow 4
Robin 12
Starling 17 (flocking up already)
Blue Jay 3
Mockingbird 5
Catbird 12
Canada Geese 9
Killdeer 3
Downey Woodpecker 1
Mourning Dove 4
Red Wing Blackbird 4
Yellow Warbler 2

Close encounter with magic

IMG_0512As I was looking for the Prothonotary warbler this morning, I felt a presence. I turned and there was a doe ten paces behind me. She looked at me for a few minutes then walked right by, a mere four feet away from me. She went to a small den beside a tiny stream and settled in. I took a few pictures then left her to rest. Magical.

First Monarch Butterfly of 2014

While trying to find the Prothonotary Warbler, I located a very fresh Monarch Butterfly nectaring on the wild raspberry flowers. There were also four Tiger Swallowtails, one Black Swallowtail and over 25 Cabbage White. I took a picture of the Monarch and also a skipper that I need to identify before posting.
The Prothonotary Warbler sang to another birder this morning, but did not come out of the underbrush.
I will return several mornings this week to see if I can see it again and take a picture.
Of note today:
Willow flycatchers
Yellow Warblers (abundant)
Great Blue Heron (being harassed by red-wing blackbirds)
Lorene Melvin

Prothonotary Warbler on North Trail

One half mile in on the North Trail this morning, I found a singing male, bright yellow with black wings, no wingbars or eye stripes in a swampy area. After consulting three guides and watching it for 15 minutes, I had to believe that it was a Prothonotary warbler. This is a rare bird in MA and I was well aware that I was sticking my neck out to announce it, but by tomorrow morning the North Trail should be crawling with some of the best birders in the world….
I will be there hopefully to hear them confirm my sighting. I will also bring my camera.

Lorene Melvin

Loss of the Yellow Warbler nest

Since early May, I have been monitoring the nest of a Yellow Warbler on the footpath to Discovery Path.  The nest unfortunately was very close to the path in a small thorn bush.  I found it by watching a female Yellow Warbler with nesting material fly into the bush.  Two weeks ago, there were 2 eggs in the nest.  The next day, the eggs were both on the ground.  One was smashed but as the other was intact, I carefully replaced it in the nest.

Today, the small bush was in shambles having been cut down by a mower.  The nest was intact however but I could not find any eggs or eggshells.  I have recovered the nest.  It is truly a work of art.

Birds at Alewife Reservation 5/15 AM

Alewife Greenway and the North Trail at Alewife Reservation
Thursday morning 6:30 – 9:30 AM

Canada Goose  14                                                                                                         Swan   2                                                                                                               Mallard   10

Herring Gull  5
Great Blue Heron  3
Killdeer 1
Rock Pigeon   6
Downy Woodpecker  1
Mourning Dove   2
Chimney Swift   5
Blue Jay   3
Tree Swallow  5
Roughwinged Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  1
Black-capped Chickadee   2
American Robin  26
Gray Catbird  2
Goldfinch  4
European Starling   14
Warbling Vireo  4

Yellowthroat  2
Yellow Warbler   8  including one female near complete nest in a thorny bush close to walkway to Discovery Park
Song Sparrow  8
White-throated Sparrow  1
Field Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird   26
Baltimore Orioles  5
Common Grackle   14
House Sparrow  2
Lorene Melvin

Birds and butterflies at A Reservation 5/14

Alewife Greenway and the North Trail at Alewife Reservation
Wednesday  1 – 3:43 PM
Wood Duck  2  (male and female pair)

Canada Goose  14
Mallard   8

 Black Duck   1

Solitary Sandpiper 1
Great Blue Heron  2
Black Crown Night Heron  2
Killdeer 1
Red Tail Hawk  3
Rock Pigeon   3
Hairy Woodpecker  1  (on same tree as Downy and kept chasing Downy away)
Downy Woodpecker  1
Mourning Dove   2
Chimney Swift   3
Northern Flicker  1
Blue Jay   3
Tree Swallow  3
Barn Swallow  2
Black-capped Chickadee   2
American Robin  22
Gray Catbird  16
European Starling   16
Warbling Vireo  1

Black-and-white Warbler   11
Myrtle Warbler  3
Yellowthroat  1
Yellow Warbler   4  including one female building a nest in a thorny      bush close to walkway to Discovery Park
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Redstart  1
Song Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird   23
Baltimore Orioles  2
Common Grackle   8
House Sparrow  4
Tiger Swallowtail   1
Cabbage White   14
The 50 year old turtle
River Otter
Lorene Melvin