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Friday, October 8, 2010

June 30 2010 3-5pm windy and sunny Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown RI

Today we were finally going to take the hour long drive to the gorgeous bird-lands of RI namely the stunning Norman Bird Sanctuary which holds two seventy foot high cliffs, something that is not common in our flat state of Rhode Island.

House Sparrows, Robins, Goldfinches and Tree Swallows happily welcomed us back to woodlands, marsh's, ponds and meadows of Norman Bird Sanctuary. Cardinals and Catbirds hoped through the bushes glaring eyes always watching us as we strolled down the well kept paths. A female Turkey with her ten fat polts scurried across the path and hastily scrambled to relative safety under a mass of healthy bushes. Four Mourning Doves burst from the path their wings flapping noisily they acted as if angry dogs were chasing them - how wrong they were.

An orchestra of caws alerted us to the brief presence of six social American Crows who flew gracefully over us still trying their best to play Beethoven's Fifth. A Chipping Sparrow hopped about on the side of the path while Blue Jays shrieked raucously from all about presumably playing there favorite game called "Shriek".

Butterflies fluttered here and there and we found four species by the end of the walk: Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, Cabbage White and Red Admiral, all common, but beautiful. Eight Black-Capped Chickadees and four Tufted Titmice dashed about the canopy wildly chattering though I didn't quite catch what they were saying.

A buff brown mystery wren shyly flitted about the undergrowth it was either a Winter or a House Wren. We were deep in the woodlands by now. A Red-Tailed Hawk soared casually overhead getting up to date on the local news. A Song Sparrow hopped about on forest floor with his more secretive cousins the Eastern Towhees.

We came upon a small pond, there was a family (two banded parents from Maryland and four gentle goslings) of Canada Geese hanging about on the shore but when we approached they quickly launched themselves into the safe waters of the pond. Three Common Grackles flew overhead mechanically screeching. Two harsh looking Eastern Phoebes stood about by the pond occasionally dashing after a fly and the returning to its former perch. A Green Heron stood on a mudflat on the opposite end of the pond gulping down a fish at least the size of its head.

Further along the path a Downy Woodpecker skipped hurriedly up a tree while an Eastern Gray Squirrel stared at us shocked that any measly little human would enter his woodland kingdom. Every once in a while would come across a Eastern Cottontail feeding of the grass in the path.

At last we came to one of the two cliffs, they both overlooked the Atlantic Ocean and a salt marsh. Two Cedar Waxwings zipped over and countless Herring Gulls soared by at our eye level. There were ten restless Red-Winged Blackbirds who screamed and clucked from the marsh. From our vantage point we could seem a Double-Crested Cormorant standing on the banks of a large pond and two Mute Swans floating quietly in the waters of the pond.

As always we found a Blue Jay and a Red-Eyed Vireo quarreling angrily. I rarely see a Red-Eyed Vireo not quarreling with a Blue Jay.

Other things to note included a: grass green Praying Mantis, another Green Heron, a highly camouflaged Moth, a Turtle and two Chickens. All in all we had 32 birds, 2 Mammals, 6 insects, 1 Amphibian and 1 Reptile.

On the way home we stopped for a bite to eat at Subway while we were there eating our sandwiches outside we saw 5 Glossy Ibis 1 flying North and 4 flying South.

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