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Friday, July 25, 2014

Kingfisher Chatters

(a blog about Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge)

NOTE: Enter your email address above and click "Submit" to subscribe/receive email when new Kingfisher Chatter posts are published.  Also check out WWW.FARNWR.ORG to catch up on news, calendar and photos of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge.
Click on the photos below for larger views

Recent Sightings (as of 07/22/2014)

As mentioned in the last post Eastern Kingbirds are nesting in Footrbridge Marsh (marsh at footbridge and spillway along Taylor Way).  I've been monitoring progress of the nest.  Two chicks have hatched and the parents are most attentive.  Dad stands by readily attacking any other birds too close to the nest.  Mom is catching plenty of flying insects for her babies when dad is available for guarding.  

Mother Eastern Kingbird returning with food for her young



Mother Eastern Kingbird feeding grasshopper to chick



Two Eastern Kingbird chicks



Cecropia Moth Caterpillar (Hyalophora cecropia)


Cecropia Moth is the largest in North America.

Green Herons and Kingfishers have been spotted routinely at Footbridge Marsh.  Rangers have removed most of the beaver dam there.


What have you seen lately?



See you on the refuge,

- The Kingfisher


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Kingfisher Chatters

(a blog about Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge)

NOTE: Enter your email address above and click "Submit" to subscribe/receive email when new Kingfisher Chatter posts are published.  Also check out WWW.FARNWR.ORG to catch up on news, calendar and photos of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge.
Click on the photos below for larger views

Recent Sightings (as of 07/12/2014)


The refuge has been quiet lately.   Most spring avian migrants have come and gone, but still lots of wildlife to view.  Here are some of the sighting highlights from May, June and early July:

Cedar Waxwing, Taylor Way near Footbridge Marsh, 04/26/2014

Mute Swan, Puffer Pond Marsh as viewed from Otter Alley, 05/15/2014: This is an invasive species.  Sightings to be reported to refuge staff



Baltimore Oriole, throughout the refuge this year (bumper crop), 05/15/2014


Solitary Sandpiper, Footbridge Marsh, 05/17/2014


Common Nighthawk, east end of Footbridge Marsh, 05/18/2014


Greater Yellowlegs, Puffer Pond Marsh as viewed from Otter Alley, 05/21/2014


Brown-headed Cowbird, female, outside Visitor Center, 05/23/2014


Promiscuous Angle MothHarry’s Way, 05/26/2014


Killdeer, over Taylor Brook Marsh between Otter Alley and Taylor Way, 05/27/2014.  Sightings of this bird at ARNWR have been relatively rare.  No new photos but See reference photo on Friends website:http://farnwr.org/gallery1.htm

North American Beaver, Footbridge Marsh, 06/01/2014


Great Crested Flycatcher, Footbridge Marsh, 06/02/2014





Common Yellowthroat, Taylor Way, 06/02/2014




Painted Turtle, laying eggs, 06/02/2014



Pink Lady's Slipper (also called Moccasin Flowers) Harry's Way, 06/02/2014

Deer Tick, male, throughout the refuge, 06/06/2014.  bumper crop this year.  Check out U. Rhode Island’s excellent website on ticks (http://www.tickencounter.org/ ).    It is by far the best site for understanding and identifying ticks.  Forget everything you’ve heard about ticks and learn from this spectacular site


Yellow Warbler, Taylor Way near Footbridge Marsh, seen collecting nesting materials, 06/21/2014


New Beaver Dam, Footbridge Marsh spillway, 06/21/2014


Eastern Kingbird, Footbridge Marsh, nesting in Snag. 06/27/2014 to present



Red-tailed Hawk, Juvenile, outside Visitor Center, 06/27/2014


Brown-headed Cowbird, male, outside Visitor Center, 06/27/2014


Dog Tick, male, Throughout the refuge, 06/27/2014bumper crop this year.  Check out U. Rhode Island’s excellent website on ticks (http://www.tickencounter.org/ ).    It is by far the best site for understanding and identifying ticks.  Forget everything you’ve heard about ticks and learn from this spectacular site


Green Heron, Footbridge Marsh and also seen on Puffer Pond Marsh from Otter Alley, 07/06/2104


White-tailed Deer after a late afternoon drinkPuffer Pond Marsh as seen from Otter Alley, 07/06/201


Jared has been seen frequently rounding up Blanding’s Turtles for his research and restoration of this species to the refuge.
There are signs of APT (invasives removal team) at work.

Hopefully I will see you at Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge.

The Kingfisher



Saturday, May 3, 2014

Kingfisher Chatters

(a blog about Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge)

NOTE: Enter your email address above and click "Submit" to subscribe/receive email when new Kingfisher Chatter posts are published.  Also check out WWW.FARNWR.ORG to catch up on news, calendar and photos of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge.
Click on the photos below for larger views


Recent Sightings

The Kingfisher has been busy now that the snow and ice are gone.  Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is teeming with wildlife.  Many species noted were “First-of-Year” (FOY) observations on the Refuge for me.  Among them:
Figure 1  Eastern Garter Snake (FOY).  Did you know that
it was recently discovered that they are mildly venomous?
Photographed at the North Gate parking lot (20 Apr 2014)


Figure 2  Easy to see how the Yellow-rumped Warbler
got its name.  This is a male photographed along 
Winterberry Way (20 Apr 2014)

Figure 3  Another view of the Yellow-rumped Warbler

Figure 4  Yet one more shot of Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Look at the yellow epaulet visible under the wing (20 Apr 2014)

Figure 6  Front view of Pine Warbler (FOY) along
Winterberry Way, 20-Apr 2014


Figure 8  Northern Water Snake, Part 2.  Winterberry Way, 20 Apr 2014

Figure 9  Northern Cardinal


20 Apr 2014



Figure 12  Canada Goose feeding along Otter Alley
(20 Apr 2014)




Remember, NO DOGS ALLOWED ON THE REFUGE!

Other animals seen (but escaped unphotographed) include:

  • River Otter (FOY) in Footbridge Marsh along Taylor Way
  • Snapping Turtle (FOY) crawling across Taylor Way at Footbridge Marsh (seen from distance)
  • Pileated Woodpecker (FOY at the Refuge) on the ground on Otter Alley
  • Dead Muskrat in field near the intersection of Taylor Way and Otter Alley
  • Mourning Cloak butterfly (FOY) at the intersection of Winterberry Way and Taylor Way

 Trail Cam Activity

After noticing some possible body slide tracks or large tail drag tracks in the mud below Otter Alley Trail near the west-most culvert, an automatically activated Trail Cam was set up there in hopes of photographing aquatic mammals.  

Figure 16  Drag or slide marks in mud likely made by aquatic mammal(s)



Here’s what was seen:

Figure 17  Mouse of unknown species

Figure 18  American Robin

Figure 19  Pair of Mallards

Figure 20  TA-DAH!  Finally....a beaver!
After months of trying to photograph a beaver, one was finally shot.  Now all three aquatic mammals at ARNWR have been photographed: muskrat; otter; beaver.  The latter two are in need of live daylight shots yet.  I'm working on it.


Historic Bus Tour of the Refuge

Paul Boothroyd of Maynard led a wonderful Historic bus tour of the refuge on Sunday, April 27th.  He has so much information about the lands that are now the Refuge as well as the families who lived there.  He's an amazing resource and eager to share his knowledge.  It was exceptionally interesting.   One of the first stops was at Igloo #309

Figure 22  The historic tour included entry into Igloo #309 (27 Apr 2014)


The spring bird migration is in full swing.  It's a terrific time to visit the Refuge.  

Come see me soon at ARNWR

                            - The Kingfisher