By Jason Beale, Manager, Abbott’s Mill Nature Center
Yesterday morning’s 20 degree temperatures and high winds left no doubt that we are well into fall and that winter weather is making its move. With only the oaks and arrowwoods still clinging to their leaves, we sought out the sunny niches sheltered from the wind. The thicket at the north edge of the Lee Meadow held a single Brown Thrasher and the meadow itself provided a nice contrast of the dried and dormant warm season grasses amongst the very green and thriving cool season species.
The powerline cut with its wet meadow and thicket area provided a haven for both birds and birders. American Robins were plentiful, feasting on greenbrier and arrowwood berries. A few Hermit Thrushes with their soft “chuck” calls worked the area as well as numerous White-throated Sparrows and another Brown Thrasher revealed itself with its smacking call. The scrubby edge of Johnson’s Branch held another sparrow with a white throat, a skulking Swamp Sparrow. Chickadees and a Northern Flicker were also in the throng.
We headed into the swamp forest to escape the winds and encountered two Winter Wrens ducking in and out of the piles of fallen limbs and other forest debris. We were able to follow their mouselike movements amongst the brush with their “chimp-chimp” calls.
Abbott’s Pond held a single male Bufflehead bobbing in front of the Atlantic White Cedar island. A Horned Lark flew over en route to the barren farm fields along Lindale Road.
The feeders were dead when we checked them – not even a seed-eating squirrel, but they are hopping as I write this now that the sun has cleared the trees around the center making it a warm, sheltered refuge for the rest of the day.