Friday, March 28, 2008

Our Pheobe Returns!

For the past few years, we have had a pair of Pheobes in our neighborhood. Yesterday, I heard the male singing for the first time this year. The Pheobe is our earliest returning flycatcher, usually returning in the end of March-- a sure sign of spring as the Pheobe feeds mostly on flying insects. Pheobes often nest under bridges or in culverts, near water. Our Pheobes have nested in the rafters under my neighbor's back porch.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Favorite Spots

This is one of my favorite short hikes in Newton, MA. A forested peninsula juts out into the marsh at a bend in the Charles River. The trail can be accessed from the Solomon Schechter parking lot off of Wells Avenue or from the end of Sawmill Brook Parkway. You can follow the trail into the marsh and right out to the river (be careful, this section may be wet in early spring). This is a great spot to cross-country ski. Sometimes you can see Common Mergansers and other waterfowl on the river. I have also seen Leopard Frogs here. The Leopard Frog is relatively uncommon in Massachusetts and can be easily mistaken for the more common Pickerel Frog.
This is a side spur of the Charles River Path, which can be taken to Nahanton Park, Millenium Park in West Roxbury, and beyond. The trail system also links to the Cutler Park trail system in Needham. This large block of open space along the Charles is a real gem. Other noteworthy species which can be found here include the Spotted Turtle, Blue-spotted Salamander, Ribbon Snake, and American Woodcock. If you hike here in March you may hear Red-Winged Blackbirds singing. In May, you may hear Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers, as well as Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. During winter, Golden-crowned Kinglets. I've also seen Bald Eagle and Rough-legged Hawk in winter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Great Night for Spotted Salamanders!

Male Spotted Salamander swimming in vernal pool, Hammond Woods, night of 3/19/08

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More signs of spring

Turkey Vultures

Spotted Salamanders & Wood Frogs on the move

Migratory waterfowl on many of our ponds, including beautiful Common Mergansers & Hooded Mergansers