Monday, September 12, 2011

A.V.I.S. Skug River (OWT)

1. Skug river-kab Skug River Reservation 3-20-11

In the town of Andover, Massachusetts are numerous nature trails created and maintained by the Andover Village Improvement Society. A friend told me about them when I first moved here last year but life was such that it wasn’t until March 20th, which was the first day of spring, that Gus and I were able to investigate even one of these reservations.

2. signage-kabThe Skug River Reservation parking lot is located on Salem Street in Andover between Route 125 and Jenkins Road. The Skug River Reservation is adjacent to Harold Parker State Forest. The name “Skug” is thought to be either a mis-spelling of the word “skunk” or the native American word for “snake.” You can read more about it on the A.V.I.S. web site: Skug River Reservation.

3. winter chickadee Black-capped chickadee 3-20-11

On this bright first day of spring when Gus and I went, there were still patches of snow on the ground. Downy woodpeckers and black-capped chickadees moved through the trees, easily seen sitting on the bare branches of winter.

4. trail-kab The trail meanders through pine and oak forest, over a board walk and bridge, then back to the soft carpet of forest duff again.

5. winter squirrel An eastern chipmunk popped up to say hello!

6. winter titmouse Tufted Titmouse 3-20-11

Titmice watched us with curiosity. All the birds seemed to want to sit in the sun and soak up the warmth while they could. I remember thinking that I would have to come back here and count birds by myself. Well…

7. summer boardwalk-kab …it wasn’t until September 2nd that I finally made it! Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene has passed and I am wondering if I might find any warblers passing though the forest. Now the boardwalk is flanked by greenery. However, I am not hearing or seeing many birds as I start down the trail.

8. Skug River As I cross the bridge the Skug river flows lazily by.

9. woodland flower-kab Wildflowers bloom along the river bank.

10. eastern wood pewee-kab Eastern Wood Pewee 9-2-11

However, I am hearing this persistent song, “pe-WEE, PE-yur…” over and over again. What is IT??? I search the tree tops for some sign of color or movement but see nothing. I think the sound belongs to some type of flycatcher, so I pull out my Smartphone and pull up a birding app I have and play the songs of various flycatchers. When I come to the Eastern Wood Pewee, not only do I recognize the song, but the bird flies over and lands on a branch right over the bridge! Now it is in plain sight and I am able to get a few shots of it. However, when I try to creep closer for a better view, it flies away.

11. in deep shade-kab So I continue on down the path where I see this dark blob in the deep shadow of the forest.

12. summer chipmunk-kab An Eastern chipmunk is giving itself its morning bath.

13. who am I-kab When I see some motion down in the trees beyond the chipper, I look to see this little sparrow. Is it a juvenile song sparrow or the rarely seen Lincoln’s sparrow? I’m still deciding. The beak looks too thin and pale for a song sparrow and the streaking on the breast too fine. Also, from this angle, it does look like it has the buffy malar stripe of a Lincoln’s but it is hard to tell if it has the buff wash down the breast. More research is needed.

14. fungi-kab I continue on the trail uphill and into the deep shade of the forest.

15. fungi Brightly colored mushrooms dot the edge of the trail, but I am seeing no birds.

I am, however, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes in spite of the fact that I slathered myself with insect repellent before leaving my vehicle. They are so numerous and annoying that I decide to turn back. In some parts of the state there have been people who have contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis after being bitten by mosquitoes. I do not want to be the first Andover case!

As I head back down the trail to the bridge I am greeted by the rattle of a Belted Kingfisher. I watch as it flies swiftly away from me before I can get a picture. I did not see any warblers here this day. I only saw 10 species of birds, but I have a feeling there will be more and I do plan to come back, though next time I will be armed with industrial strength insect repellent! Sing on sweet wood pewee! Soon you will be gone but hopefully I will see you next summer when you and I both return!

16. E. wood pewee-kab Eastern Wood Pewee 9-2-11

Our World Tuesday!


  1. I don't think mosquito diseases like it up north.I like the photos-especially the titmouse,chipmnks and mushrooms.Seems like a real nice nature spot!

  2. Kathie, what a nice place. Lots of birds and the mushrooms are cool. I love the little chipper, they are so cute. Great photos!

  3. Love the Tufted Titmouse photo! Looks like a couple of the photos aren't working, but it could be on my side. Who knows.

  4. A beautiful place filled with beauty.

  5. Stopped in from Our World Tuesday. Glad I did ... great photos and a wonderful place.

  6. How could I resist? It said "Kathiesbirds" and showed a picture of a chipmunk on Our World Tuesday. I'm so glad I stopped by. I just love little fat chickadees, but I've never seen a Tufted Titmouse (gotta love the word "titmice") or a Peewee.
    HOWever, the photo of the chipmunk giving itself a bath is just about the cutest thing I've seen.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  7. Hi Kathie

    I really liked the mushrooms and the chipmunk bathing was incredibly cute.


  8. Thank's for letting us join you on this wonderful nature walk. I find the belted kingfisher to be the most elusive of birds. I've seen them plenty of times but the take off well before I can get a shot.

  9. Nice photos Kathie! They serve as a good reminder to me to take photos of things other than birds. I get a little bird crazy sometimes.

  10. The signs of fall with mushrooms sprouting up and a nicely fattened up chipmunk. A lovely place to catch the last of the wildflowers and some birds soaking up the sun. Lovely.

  11. That March chickadee looks as cold as I feel. Nice green forest to walk through. Ours will be turning golden soon. Today snow fell on the highest elevation. I'm SO not ready for winter.

  12. Hi there - the chipmunk popping up to say hello is a great shot - even if you did have to pay for it in blood!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

  13. Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  14. A wonderful series of photo's, the birds are lovely and the little chipmunk is so cute.

    Man-eating mosquitos though are not pleasant, I hope you can find something to deter them on your next photo safari.

  15. Lovely spot - like the chipmunk shot best. I grew up in Worcester MA.

    Carolina Mts

  16. What a gorgeous place! I love the titmouse photo, and the chipmunks, and the bokeh on that last shot. Also, I love mushrooms ... heck, I love all these images.

  17. Such diversity of flora and creatures. I loved all the greenery. Those mushrooms were psychedelic!


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.