Monday, April 9, 2012

Saturday at the Park

1. Soccer field-kab The Soccer Fields and Hills at Sacred Heart Park in Andover, MA 4-7-12

Signs of spring are everywhere at the park where I like to go birding. Red maple tree flowers are highlighted against the brown oak woods. The Soccer goals have been set out again, waiting for the spring games to begin. An eastern white pine towers above the parking lot, soccer field and train bridge, a green sentinel in every season. Though the sun is shining on this Saturday between Good Friday and Easter the clouds are rolling in rapidly and I am soon walking beneath a sky of dove gray cotton wool. Though the temperature reads 52F, a chill wind cuts through me and I pull on my gloves as I walk across the open field towards the river and the woods. It is 2 p.m. and a few robins dot the lawn as I pass by.

2. muskrat pond-kab Down in the woodland I stop by a small pond where I saw a Fox Sparrow a week ago. Today I hear the red-winged blackbirds call and a Northern Flicker screams in the woods, but there are no Fox Sparrows to be found today.

3. COGR-kab A common grackle seeks out a perch on a tall snag.

4. AMGO-kab An American goldfinch inspects a tree for food.

5. pond plants-kab New shoots from some aquatic plant are greening up and pointing up to the sky.

6. robins-kab Here in the woodland cove there are hints of green everywhere.

7. riverbend-kab I stop to reflect at the river’s bend just like the trees mirrored below me.

8. calm waters-kab These are calm waters for this dry spring we are having. Fire danger is very high. We need a good soaking rain.

9. lawn-kab How peaceful it is down here in this forest glen.

11. flow away-kab And the Shawsheen River just keeps on flowing by.

12. old tree laughs-kab While the old oak tree just laughs at me.

13. path-kab So I head up the path back towards the soccer fields and parking lot.

But then…

14. RBWO-kab In a flash of movement I find a red-bellied woodpecker high in a tree…


15. red bellied woodpecker-kab looking down on me with the flashiest red Mohawk and the sharpest black and white coat over his tawny body. What a handsome fellow he is!

I continued my path around the soccer field just to be sure I saw every bird I could see. As I headed back to the parking lot where Gus was waiting for me in my car I looked up to see a Cooper’s Hawk flying rapidly across the open grass to the woods on the far side where it disappeared into some trees. Another new species for this location and my eBird Site Survey bringing the total to 42 Species so far and migration is only beginning!

My Site Survey consists of an area of 6.8 acres in Sacred Heart Park in Andover Massachusetts. It includes the eastern soccer fields along Burnham Road and the wooded area along the Shawsheen River that connects this part of the park to the track and field at the northwest corner of the park. I do not include the track and field as part of my Site Survey because the total area would be too large and the track and field is often the busiest area with walkers, runners, and kids playing. I do this count as an Area Count which gives me the freedom to wander all over and suits this irregularly shaped area well. I was able to measure out the area for an accurate measurement by using Google Planimeter.

Birds Seen at Sacred Heart Park on Saturday, April 7, 2012:

  1. Mallard
  2. Cooper’s Hawk
  3. Ring-billed Gull
  4. Red-bellied woodpecker
  5. Downy woodpecker
  6. Hairy woodpecker
  7. Northern flicker (yellow-shafted)
  8. Eastern Phoebe
  9. American Crow
  10. Black-capped chickadee
  11. Tufted titmouse
  12. White-breasted Nuthatch
  13. American Robin
  14. Song Sparrow
  15. White-throated sparrow
  16. Northern Cardinal
  17. Common Grackle
  18. Red-winged Blackbird
  19. House finch
  20. American Goldfinch
  21. House Sparrow

Click on the link to read a poem about, An Early Spring Walk in the Evening  at Sacred Heart Park.


  1. Definitely starting to look green and spring like. But I know what you mean about needing rain. Today our humidity is 3%. Maybe this weekend we'll get some rain, and not the snow.

  2. A great series, I really like your "laughing tree".

  3. Hi Kathie

    A nice list of birds. Spring is slowly appearing here I saw crows with twigs and a flicker hammering on a streetlight.

    All the best.

  4. Nice close-ups of the Red-bellied Woodpecker! Interesting tree-it looks like something out of Wizard of Oz. I hope we get rain soon because I want to be able to have a campfire while camping.

  5. Laurence, I have been going here a lot lately and am looking forward to seeing what changes the spring brings!

    Gaelyn, we have wildfires burning all up and down the east coast!

    Gillian, I am glad you like the laughing tree!

    Guy, I had a flicker hammering on the guardrail recently at the bog. I posted the pictures and story on the Birding is Fun blog. I love flickers. I hope spring finds you soon!

    Larry, hasn't it been horrible,this lack of rain? I know everything is dry around here and I am starting to see the water levels drop in the bog, and river.


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.