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Weekly Report - 2018-04-13 - Nature Clubs & LOTS of FOYs!

The BSES Nature Trail has been super active this week; both in the realms of people and birds!

Trailblazers Nature Club for grades 3-5 ventured on a bird walk this past Tuesday. This walk was part two of last week's study session, "5 Birds You Need to Know!" Well, good thing we studied these birds because we observed all five species: Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, Downy Woodpecker, and Northern Flicker. We also enjoyed a few first of the year (FOY) observations including Eastern Phoebe and Palm Warbler. Both of these birds were seen by the outdoor classroom. Also, students who brought devices with them got to try their hand at digiscoping with our classroom Phone Skopes. Using these tools, you can attach your phone to your binoculars or scope and photograph through them!

The Trailblazers Nature Club for grades 1 & 2 was accentuated by an absolutely gorgeous afternoon on the trail! We walked on the trail to review how to identify poison ivy in the field and look for some new birds. We didn't find our targets of Eastern Towhee or Eastern Bluebird, but we were treated to a low flying Red-tailed Hawk. Then, first grade student Sam pointed out a high-flying bird of prey: Broad-winged Hawk; a second property record of the species!

Species wise, this past week featured quite a few notable birds for the trail! We also had a pretty high diversity of birds: 42 species to be exact!

Thursday provided five FOY species. Hermit Thrush, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, and Tree Swallow were all observed for the first time in 2018 on the morning of 4/13. All of the species were found in the expected habitats on the trail with the exception of the Field Sparrow, which was found in the brush along the gas line cut. In the afternoon, one Broad-winged Hawk was observed flying over the playground, representing a third property record of the species!

Friday continued to give good looks at Tree Swallow, which seemed to increase in numbers greatly overnight! Also on 4/14, one Pileated Woodpecker was seen briefly as it flew past my 4th grade class through the woodland near the trailhead. The bird passed and took off down the ridge behind the playground.

Five Double-crested Cormorants were observed circling high over BSES in the 7:00am hour on 4/14. Later on in the 9:00am hour, I took my 4th grade class out on the trail and observe five Double-crested Cormorants again circling over the same area! I found it a strange occurrence to have two groups of the same number of Double-crested Cormorants soaring over the area in the same morning two hours apart. The timing is right for the species though as all previous records of Double-crested Cormorant from the BSES Nature Trail were from mid to late April (with the exception of one record in October 2017).

42 species for the week:

Canada Goose

Double-crested Cormorant

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Red-shouldered Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Ring-billed Gull

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Phoebe

Blue Jay

American Crow

Tree Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Carolina Wren

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird

Hermit Thrush

American Robin

Northern Mockingbird

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing

Palm Warbler

Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

White-throated Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Common Grackle

House Finch

American Goldfinch

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