Thursday, May 8, 2014

WC Community Noon Time Nature Walk: Spring Bird Walk

Walk participant finding a bird
The Peabody Museum's Community Education Center is now hosting Noon Time Nature Walks throughout the summer and fall for members of the West Campus Community.  Tom Parlapiano, the community education center coordinator, led a spring bird walk on Friday, May 2nd to kick off the series.  Check out the bottom of this blog for information on upcoming walks as well as how to sign up. 

Spring has sprung along the Oyster River

Four members of the west campus community joined Tom for a walk in the woods behind the nursing building in search of spring migrants.  Each day during the spring thousands of birds pass through Connecticut on their way north to breeding grounds and many of these stop at West Campus for a rest.

Walk participants with leader Tom Parlapiano

New birders were given a brief introduction on how to use the binoculars provided by Tom for the walk.  Luckily, American Goldfinches fighting for mates were willing to act as models for focusing lessons.  Once in the woods a Great-crested Flycatcher caught our attention.  The states largest flycatcher, the Great-crested is one of the earliest to arrive in Connecticut and while some continue north, many will remain in our area to breed. 

Great-crested Flycatcher

In the tangles along the river, Yellow Warblers, Song Sparrows, and even a Chipping Sparrow all made an appearance.  At one point a Red-tailed Hawk came flying by at tree-top height, either looking for a meal or trying to figure out what we were doing.  Along the river, we were able to find an American Robin's nest, although there were no eggs inside yet, the adult kept scolding until we had walked away. 

American Robin nest
Totals for the walk included, about 20 different birds seen with 18 identified to species.  A blackbird (probably a Brown-headed Cowbird) and a crow (either a Fish Crow or Common Crow) were not positively ID'ed.  Those totals are actually pretty impressive considering that noontime is when birds are least active during the day.  Birds are most active during the early morning hours when they fly to different spots in their territory and sing.  Highlights not already mentioned include: Double-crested Cormorants (flying over), Osprey (flying over), Barn Swallow (WC nesters), and Mallard Ducks. 

As our time wrapped up we did get one non-avian highlight.  This six-spotted tiger beetle came out onto the sidewalk for a quick view.

six-spotted green tiger beetle
Upcoming Walks
Friday, June 13th- Non-Native Invasive Plant ID Walk
Friday, September 12th- West Campus Hawk Watch
Friday, October 10th- Fall Tree Identification Walk
Friday, November 14th- Fall Bird Walk
Let Tom know you want to participate by registering HERE