Some Notable Wildlife Seen During White Memorial's Nature Day, 9/24/11

Olive-sided Flycatcher by Tom Munson


Nashville Warbler photo by

Jacob Spendelow from

Northern Parula photo by Alan Murphy

Blackpoll Warbler photo from the

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Northern Leopard Frog photo by Dave Rosgen

Blue-spotted Salamander photo by Ashley Hayes

White Memorial's 30th annual Family Nature Day was held this past Saturday, 9/24/11, under mostly cloudy, warm, and humid conditions. Fortunately for all of us, the forecasted rain showers never materialized and the event was a big success. Approximately 784 people attended and were given a chance to learn about a wide range of environmental subjects. The people who went on the general nature walk that Samantha Foster and I led saw lots of plants, berries, nuts, and mosquitoes, plus several Green Frogs and a few birds. Right after that, Sam and I led a walk around Ongley Field and Pond in search of reptiles and amphibians. We found many Green Frogs and a cooperative N. Leopard Frog in Ongley Field. The north side of the Ongley Pond Trail produced an E. Garter Snake, while the pond yielded about 15 Painted Turtles. We found 4 Blue-spotted Salamanders behind the Sawmill Yard buildings. Next came the hawk watch, which I knew wouldn't produce any migrant hawks because of the weather conditions, which included a breeze from the south. Hawks want winds from the north and sunny conditions for their fall migration. However, Veronica, our semi-tame/semi-wild resident Red-tailed Hawk put on a show for the walk's attendees by swooping down and grabbing an unsuspecting young cottontail rabbit from the side of the driveway leading into the Sawmill Yard. We hadn't seen the bunny until Veronica caught it because we were focused on a nice group of warblers that included a Blackpoll, a Palm, a Nashville, 4 Pines, and 5 Yellow-rumps. After Veronica dispatched the bunny she flew into the row of conifers along the west ridge of the Mill Field to eat it. As I was positioning my spotting scope on her, I saw an Olive-sided Flycatcher in the top of the first Tamarack tree in this row. Being a rare bird, I wanted everybody to see the flycatcher, which they did as it put on a good show of its own, catching numerous dragonflies and other flying insects. Veronica took her time eating the rabbit, so they got to see that action too. Back in the Museum Area, we, along with some of our guests, saw another fair-sized wave of warblers that included a Northern Parula. In all, we saw or at least heard 46 species of birds, as well as numerous other forms of wildlife this day.

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