I walked into Fox park at around 6:25am.  I did not leave until 7:35am.

Forgive this post for being entirely about birds.  There are tracks (the melting prints from happy-go-lucky dogs, mostly), there are trees (haven’t changed much since that time I covered the trees on my route), there are plants (budding beechs for the most part) and there are….  Birds!  Today is the first day of spring (albeit for the third time), and the forest was singing to celebrate.  Without further and in no order besides memory:

Crows:  Making merry and causing raucous, the crows were gurgling and grunting around with the blue jays, who actually did not have a real reason to cause tomfoolery, but did so anyway.

Blue jays:  Yelping about with cheer and a general noisiness, the blue jays are no longer saving their breath for owls and hawks.  I watched them zoom around, babbling at the top of their lungs, with absolutely zero objective concern for getting eaten, or whatever they usually are concerned about.

Raven:  At least one.  A lower burp of a sound, these may have been causing some mischief with the crows.

Mockingbird:  This one mockingbird yodels atop its thicket as I enter Fox Park.  I have observed it only speaks when people are around, making it just another attention getter.  This one has less of a vocabulary than the one near Allwell at PSU, singing “robin” and “cardinal” instead of “barn owl” and “wood pewee”- the latter two I heave heard in the same breath from the other mocking bird.

Chickadee:  DEEEE – doo!  These chickadees plan to make babies, with a call like that.

Titmouse:  PETER PETER PETER!  Peter?  Pete?  The local titmice say this a lot.  This seems to be a dialectical decision- even though all titmice are programmed with between three and four real songs, the boston titmice choose to say whaah, whaah, whaah! more than these ones do.

Robin:  So many everywhere, they are in with all stops out.  They have a truly fabulous thrush song (indeed, they are a “true thrush”- unlike the euro-asian ones, who just occupy a subfamily of old-world chats… Don’t even worry about the australian or japanese ones, it just gets worse).   The song is parsed in a almost questioning fashion, with clear whistles and swooping notes.   Easy to tune out during a walk in the woods, but amazing to really listen to.

Downy woodpecker:  Found a few at the bend in the trail closest to the houses, after exiting the wolf pine clearing.  They whinny when the call, as opposed to the single, dull “chek” of the hairy woodpecker, which occupies the same pitch.

Hairy woody pair:  Chek, Chek!  I found two hairy woodpeckers flying around upon entering the park looking for bugs.

Nuthatch:  These were hopping around the area the hairy woodpeckers were.  They like to be with the titmice and other woodpeckers.  White breasted ones in these parts, but the red breasted could still show up.  They both “honk” or ‘toot”, but the red breasted ones sound really tinny compared to the white breasted.

Goldfinch:  Well, they have arrived, with the finchy song and “PO-TA-TO-CHEEIP” flight call.  I know it is hard to overlay “potato chip” on a monotonous, 4 note chip call…. But that’s how I learned, and it has worked rather well so far.
Phoebes:  I saw at least two pheobes at a time in 6 instances.  That is a large number of pheobes, no matter how you slice it.  The big fuzzy grey head, the tinted-olive sides (but not like a olive sided flycatcher, mind you) and the perpetual tail pump.  They also are OCD to the extreme, and will do a kind of circuit from specific branch to specific branch.

flotilla of golden crowned kinglets:  Yay! the fuzz-covered golf balls are at it again, with their unique, rolly-polly approach to the world.  The like to hop up a coniferous tree (the love hemlocks),  then valiantly leap into the air, but without the wings in gear.  They then stick their wings out to slow their descent, thus causing them to tumble through the air until daintily alighting on the branch below.  This way they can look cool and catch a flying bug on occasion.  This may or may not actually work out for them- they also glean insects like other passerines- but it certainly keeps they busy and happy.  They are marginally larger than an adult ruby throated hummingbird, though significantly more puffy.  They are also rather unintelligent, and get so absorbed in tumbling about in the trees approaching them is easy- requiring nothing more than knowing where they are.

Brown creepers:  Though not too crazy, these are great winter birds- always looking up (birder joke, they only walk up, and need to fly back to the base of a tree to get back down)….   And taught me something very important today.  The song I heard in the middle of the winter from the short video I made?  Brown creeper.  It turns out they have a beautiful song, one I had not heard before.   The sound is akin to a smaller wren, but slower and more distinct.  Huzzah!