Wildlife Watch by Marian Harman – June 2018

Tufted Titmouse by Doug Pederson

Are you a birder? If so, are you a contributor to eBird? This interactive birding website was developed by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and launched in 2002. Anyone can join free of charge. The website describes the program this way: “eBird transforms a global birding community’s passion for birds into critical data for research, conservation, and education…..eBird gathers unprecedented volumes of information on where and when birds occur in the world. Half a billion bird observations have been contributed so far.”

Log on to eBird.org and you can explore the whole world or your own community. You can watch a real-time display of birders entering data. When I log on to Massachusetts, I see that 498 bird species were seen in the past year and 734,648 checklists were submitted. There were 8691 Massachusetts birders submitting these checklists. Top counties represented were Barnstable and Essex, with Middlesex County coming in seventh out of ten. Top birding hotspots were Plum Island and Salisbury Beach.

When entering species, one can also enter photos, audio recordings and comments. For instance on June 11th, a surprising report and photo of a snowy owl was entered from a yard in Edgartown. Maybe Westford can add some more species for Middlesex County.

You can research sightings for any time or place in the world. Most numerous are sightings for the United States, but there are sightings from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. And you can share your sightings with anyone else who is interested. The website also offers a “Be a Better Birder” course.

To get started, log on to eBird.org, watch the introductory two-minute movie, and explore the amazingly powerful tools on offer. Then you can join and start submitting data. You can also download the free eBird app for your phone, have all the data at your fingertips, and submit while you are in the field.

Many thanks to all flora and fauna reporters for the month of June. Please send reports by July 26 for inclusion in next month’s column. You can write me at 7A Old Colony Drive, call me at 692-3907, or e-mail me at mariancharman@gmail.com *(please note new e-mail address).


Late May Reports:

Sue Bonner, Plain Rd. May 8, beautiful male Baltimore oriole at our feeder. May 10, male rose-breasted grosbeak at feeders. Other birds we usually see: chickadees, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, starling, mourning doves, two cardinal pairs, blue jays, goldfinches, house finches, red-bellied, downy and hairy woodpeckers, robins, sparrows, titmice. Two bluebird houses seem to have sparrow nests. May 8, lone female turkey arrived, coming to eat under feeders several times a day. We found a big (turkey?) egg in the soil around our lamppost in front yard. “When the turkey arrives at the bird feeders, she always looks toward our house and seems to wait for Bruce to come out with seed. When we see her, Bruce goes out with seed, she walks away a few feet; she watches and waits as he dumps seed under the feeders, and them immediately comes to eat the seed as he walks away.” May 24, big opossum eating birdseed off our wall and drinking water from container. Most days there are nine squirrels on the stonewall under feeders and hanging from our mixed seed and sunflower feeders, despite the squirrel baffle on the pole. Two squirrels are tan, and one has a rat tail with no fur. We have so many chipmunks we can’t count. Many holes in yard. A water container on the deck keeps our two cats amused as they watch the chipmunks and others.  May 29, resident woodchuck appeared early May.

Esther Donlon, Providence Rd. May 16, raccoon walked the length of our yard and on to Providence.

Dot Mooney, Monadnock Dr. May 26, eastern phoebe repeating his song on a lovely spring morning. May 29, happy little red-eyed vireo in back woods. May 31, in front woods, a pine warbler and red-eyed vireo trying to compete with three energetic titmice.

Doug Pederson, Woodland Dr. May 28, opossum in my yard today.

Dave Earle, Old Colony Dr. May 31, snapping turtle laying eggs in garden by our deck.

June Reports:

Dot Mooney, Monadnock Dr., June 2, a great blue heron flew low over the back woods, probably headed for the beaver pond and a nest. June 6, red-bellied woodpecker on feeder, pair of cardinals and two chipping sparrows in and out. June 7, big hungry red-tailed hawk scared numerous birds when he landed in tree by feeder, and they are all scolding him, and attracting more birds to join in. June 8, going down Beaver Brook Road, a great blue heron lifted up out of water and flew over road to land in water on pond side, not far from a pair of graceful swans. June 10, lots of white blossoms on multi-flora rose along edge of lawn, among the sumacs. Beautiful buff-colored squirrel under feeder along with the grey ones. June 11, while sitting on deck I watched a young redtail perched on roof corner just a few feet away from us. June 12, adult redtail flew low over front walk, and not long after a young redtail did the same. It must be very difficult for a young bird of prey to actually learn how to hunt. June 13, one bunny nibbling greens along edge of back lawn. White-breasted nuthatch at feeder, scurrying down side of large trees in woods. I often hear their quiet chuckling sounds as they move. During the day I saw and heard, two chipping sparrows, three doves, four tree swallows, one blue jay, one flicker, two cardinals, two goldfinches, one red-bellied woodpecker, one white-breasted nuthatch, one titmouse, two house sparrows, one grackle, one robin, five turkeys, one rose-breasted grosbeak, two house finches, two orioles, two red-tailed hawks, one red-eyed vireo. June 14, yellow evening primrose blooming on Flagg Rd., daisies and white yarrow in bloom. June 15, several people have seen the young redtail perched on a condo roof, not very afraid of people. June 18, catalpa tree in back woods now covered with white blossoms. June 20, downy woodpecker visiting suet, two noisy nuthatches begging parent for something tasty–Happy June!

Marian/Bill Harman, Old Colony Dr. June 2, a walk to the swamp: phoebe singing, two veeries singing, common yellowthroat, red-tailed hawk overhead. Later heard a juvenile red-tail calling. Lots of lady’s slippers and polygala blooming along the trail.  On our deck, six or more grackles are eating a full block of suet on our deck and a full feeder of sunflower hearts in half a day. Huge amounts of pine pollen outside and inside house. It goes right through screens. June 10, walk to swamp: female wood duck,