Waltham 2008

Here’s a list of birds and bugs seen in Waltham in 2008 with date of first sighting and place. Italics is on the yard list and Bold is new to Waltham.


  1. Canada Goose (1/4, Main St.)
  2. Mute Swan (1/4, Charles)
  3. Wood Duck (1/19, Charles)
  4. Gadwall (10/22?, Hardy Pond)
  5. American Wigeon (3/7, Hardy Pond)
  6. American Black Duck (1/4, Charles)
  7. Mallard (1/1, yard)
  8. Blue-winged Teal (11/7, Purgatory Cove)
  9. Green-winged Teal (4/11, Lyman Pond)
  10. Ring-necked Duck (1/4, Charles)
  11. Black Scoter (11/1, Cambridge Res)
  12. Bufflehead (3/30, yard/Hardy Pond)
  13. Common Goldeneye (1/4, Charles)
  14. Hooded Merganser (1/4, Charles)
  15. Common Merganser (1/4, Charles)
  16. Ruddy Duck (10/22, Hardy Pond)
  17. Pied-billed Grebe (10/26, Hardy Pond)
  18. Horned Grebe (11/8, Cambridge Res)
  19. Ring-necked Pheasant (3/23, Lot 1)
  20. Wild Turkey (4/24, Met State)
  21. Double-crested Cormorant (4/26, Leitha)
  22. Great Blue Heron (1/4, Charles)
  23. Green Heron (7/14, Lyman Pond)
  24. Turkey Vulture (2/25, Beaver St)
  25. Sharp-shinned Hawk (1/19, Charles)
  26. Cooper’s Hawk (1/18, Miriam)
  27. Red-tailed Hawk (1/9, Leitha)
  28. American Kestrel (3/21, yard)
  29. Killdeer (3/12, UMass Field Station)
  30. Solitary Sandpiper (5/5, Met State)
  31. Spotted Sandpiper (5/13, Hardy Pond)
  32. American Woodcock (3/21, Lot 1)
  33. Ring-billed Gull (1/1, yard)
  34. Herring Gull (1/2, Lexington St.)
  35. Great Black-backed Gull (1/11, Hardy Pond)
  36. Rock Pigeon (1/1, Trapelo)
  37. Mourning Dove (1/1, yard)
  38. Common Nighthawk (8/17, Leitha)
  39. Chimney Swift (5/5, Hannaford)
  40. Ruby-throated Hummingbird (5/28, Paine)
  41. Belted Kingfisher (6/3, Leitha)
  42. Red-bellied Woodpecker (1/5, Met State)
  43. Downy Woodpecker (1/1, yard)
  44. Hairy Woodpecker (1/5, Met State)
  45. Northern Flicker (1/2, WHS)
  46. Eastern Wood-Pewee (5/29, Prospect Hill)
  47. Eastern Phoebe (4/3, Prospect Hill)
  48. Great Crested Flycatcher (5/14, Prospect Hill)
  49. Eastern Kingbird (5/11, Met State)
  50. Blue-headed Vireo (5/5, Met State)
  51. Warbling Vireo (5/5, Met State)
  52. Red-eyed Vireo (5/12, Paine)
  53. Blue Jay (1/2, Lexington St.)
  54. American Crow (1/1, yard)
  55. Fish Crow (1/19, Charles)
  56. Common Raven (4/7, Prospect Hill)
  57. Tree Swallow (5/2, Hardy Pond)
  58. Northern Rough-winged Swallow (4/11, Lyman Pond)
  59. Barn Swallow (4/25, Hardy Pond)
  60. Black-capped Chickadee (1/1, yard)
  61. Tufted Titmouse (1/1, yard)
  62. Red-breasted Nuthatch (5/8, Beaver Brook)
  63. White-breasted Nuthatch (1/1, yard)
  64. Brown Creeper (3/13, Prospect Hill)
  65. Carolina Wren (1/4, Charles)
  66. House Wren (5/12, Paine)
  67. Winter Wren (1/5, Met State)
  68. Golden-crowned Kinglet (1/4, Charles)
  69. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2/24, Charles)
  70. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (5/8, Beaver Brook)
  71. Eastern Bluebird (1/5, Met State)
  72. Veery (5/9, Beaver Brook)
  73. Swainson’s Thrush (5/27, Met State)
  74. Hermit Thrush (2/3, Lot 1)
  75. Wood Thrush (5/5, Met State)
  76. American Robin (1/1, yard)
  77. Gray Catbird (5/5, Met State)
  78. Northern Mockingbird (1/1, yard)
  79. Brown Thrasher (4/24, Met State)
  80. European Starling (1/1, yard)
  81. American Pipit (10/24, UMass Field Station)
  82. Cedar Waxwing (3/23, Lot 1)
  83. Blue-winged Warbler (5/11, Met State)
  84. Nashville Warbler (5/5, Prospect Hill)
  85. Northern Parula (5/5, Met State)
  86. Yellow Warbler (5/6, Kennedy)
  87. Chestnut-sided Warbler (5/9, Beaver Brook)
  88. Magnolia Warbler (5/9, Beaver Brook)
  89. Black-throated Blue Warbler (5/11, Met State)
  90. Yellow-rumped Warbler (4/19, Lot 1)
  91. Black-throated Green Warbler (5/5, Prospect Hill)
  92. Pine Warbler (4/10, Paine)
  93. Prairie Warbler (5/11, Met State)
  94. Palm Warbler (4/19, Lot 1)
  95. Blackpoll Warbler (6/2, Met State)
  96. Cerulean Warbler (5/8, Beaver Brook)
  97. Black-and-white Warbler (5/5, Met State)
  98. American Redstart (5/9, Beaver Brook)
  99. Ovenbird (5/5, Met State)
  100. Connecticut Warbler (9/23, Met State)
  101. Common Yellowthroat (5/7, Leitha)
  102. Wilson’s Warbler (8/19, Paine)
  103. Canada Warbler (5/21, Prospect Hill)
  104. Scarlet Tanager (5/11, Met State)
  105. Eastern Towhee (4/24, Met State)
  106. American Tree Sparrow (1/1, yard)
  107. Chipping Sparrow (4/21, Prospect Hill)
  108. Field Sparrow (4/16, Met State)
  109. Savannah Sparrow (4/19, Lot 1)
  110. Song Sparrow (1/4, yard)
  111. Lincoln’s Sparrow (5/9, Beaver Brook)
  112. Swamp Sparrow (4/24, Met State)
  113. White-throated Sparrow (1/1, yard)
  114. White-crowned Sparrow (5/10, yard)
  115. Dark-eyed Junco (1/2, WHS)
  116. Northern Cardinal (1/1, yard)
  117. Rose-breasted Grosbeak (5/2, yard)
  118. Indigo Bunting (5/8, Beaver Brook)
  119. Dickcissel (11/3, UMass Field Station)
  120. Bobolink (8/19, Met State)
  121. Red-winged Blackbird (2/15, Charles)
  122. Eastern Meadowlark (4/6, Met State)
  123. Common Grackle (2/24, Charles)
  124. Brown-headed Cowbird (4/6, Met State)
  125. Baltimore Oriole (5/4, Miriam)
  126. Purple Finch (5/11, Met State)
  127. House Finch (1/1, yard)
  128. American Goldfinch (1/1, yard)
  129. Pine Siskin (11/12, Paine)
  130. House Sparrow (1/1, yard)

55 yard


  1. Whitetail Deer (4/16, Met State)
  2. Gray Squirrel (1/1, yard)
  3. Eastern Cottontail (1/5, Met State)
  4. Muskrat (1/17, Lyman Pond)
  5. Wood Chuck (5/9, Kennedy)
  6. Raccoon (March, yard)
  7. Deer(?) Mouse (March/April, yard)


  1. Silver-spotted Skipper (Epagyreus clarus) (6/7, Lot 1)
  2. Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades) (6/25, Prospect Hill)
  3. Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus) (5/21, Prospect Hill)
  4. Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) (5/11, Met State)
  5. Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae) (5/29, Prospect Hill)
  6. Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor) (8/1, UMass Field Station)
  7. European Skipper (Thmelicus lineola) (6/13, Met State)
  8. Pepper-and-salt Skipper (Amblyscirtes hegon) (6/2, Met State)
  9. Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) (9/17, UMass Field Station)
  10. Indian Skipper (Hesperia sassacus) (5/28, Paine)
  11. Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius) (6/2, yard)
  12. Long Dash (Polites mystic) (6/2, Met State)
  13. Northern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia egeremet) (6/29, yard)
  14. Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna) (7/11, Prospect Hill)
  15. Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok) (6/2, Met State)
  16. Dusted Skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna) (6/2, Met State)
  17. Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) (5/21, Prospect Hill)
  18. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) (5/18, Trapelo Rd)
  19. Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) (6/7, Lot 1)
  20. Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) (5/11, Met State)
  21. Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) (6/7, Lot 1)
  22. Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) (4/21, Prospect Hill)
  23. Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius) (6/3, Lyman Pond)
  24. American Copper (Lycaena phlaes) (5/28, Paine)
  25. Henry’s Elfin (Callophrys henrici) (5/27, Met State)
  26. Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon) (4/21, Prospect Hill)
  27. Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) (5/21, Prospect Hill)
  28. Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) (5/1, Met State)
  29. Cherry Gall Azure (Celastrina serotina) (5/11, Met State)
  30. Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta) (7/19, Met State)
  31. Monarch (Danaus plexippus) (8/1, UMass Field Station)
  32. Red-spotted Purple (LImenitis arthemis) (8/27, Paine)
  33. American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) (5/11, Met State)
  34. Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) (5/29, Prospect Hill)
  35. Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) (6/12, Hardy Pond)
  36. Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) (4/2, Paine)
  37. Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) (4/2, Paine)
  38. Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) (8/1, UMass Field Station)
  39. Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) (6/7, Lot 1)
  40. Appalachian Brown (Lethe appalachia) (7/19, Met State)
  41. Common Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia) (6/7, Lot 1)
  42. Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela) (5/27, Met State)
  43. Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala) (7/10, Met State)


  1. Grape Leaffolder (Desmia funeralis) (6/7, Lot 1)
  2. Crambus sp (5/21, Prospect Hill)
  3. The Infant (Archiearis infans) (4/3, Prospect Hill)
  4. Common Spring Moth (Heliomata cycladata) (5/27, Met State)
  5. Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) (5/29, Prospect Hill)
  6. Caenurgina sp (5/21, Prospect Hill)
  7. Grapevine Epimenis (Psychomorpha epimenis) (6/7, Lot 1)


  1. Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) (6/18, Paine)
  2. Spotted Spreadwing (Lestes congener) (9/19, Prospect Hill)
  3. Blue-fronted Dancer (Argia apicalis) (7/9, Charles)
  4. Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea (8/8, Charles)
  5. Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile) (6/1, yard)
  6. Stream Bluet (Enallagma exsulans) (6/22, Charles)
  7. Skimming Bluet (Enallagma geminatum) (6/2, yard)
  8. Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) (7/8, yard)
  9. Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) (5/25, Charles)
  10. Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis) (5/1, yard)
  11. Lance-tipped Darner (Aeshna constricta) (8/14, Paine)
  12. Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa) (8/15, Met State)
  13. Common Green Darner (Anax junius) (6/3, Lyman Pond)
  14. Illinois River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis) (7/17, Prospect Hill)
  15. Common Baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) (5/28, Paine)
  16. Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps) (6/8, Leitha)
  17. Clamp-tipped Emerald (Somatochlora tenebrosa) (7/25, Met State)
  18. Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) (6/18, Paine)
  19. Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina) (7/8, Paine)
  20. Eastern Pondhaawk (Erythemis simplicicollis (6/11, Paine)
  21. Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta (5/28, Paine)
  22. Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) (6/3, Lyman Pond)
  23. Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta) (6/22, Charles)
  24. Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) (6/25, Prospect Hill)
  25. Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella) (6/2, yard)
  26. Four-spotted Skimmer (Libellula quadrimaculata) (5/28, Paine)
  27. Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) (6/22, Charles)
  28. Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) (8/1, UMass Field Station)
  29. Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea) (6/19, Leitha)
  30. Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) (6/19, Prospect Hill)
  31. Ruby Meadowhawk (Sympetrum rubicundulum) (6/13, Met State)
  32. Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum) (8/1, UMass Field Station)
  33. Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) (8/15, Met State)
  34. Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) (6/12, Hardy Pond)

I deleted the misc section in the June update as I haven’t been keeping track of most things

2007 Results

5 Answer Finally

Yeah, I’ve been neglecting this.

Clearly a black bird. It has a thin, pointed bill, a dark eye, and is a smooth black without any glossy color. Of the blackbirds, Rusty (and the very unlikely Brewer’s) has a pale eye, Common Grackle is much bulkier, glossier, and with a bigger bill, and Brown-headed Cowbird would have a brown head and thicker bill. That leaves Red-winged Blackbird, which this is.

At the time, it was one of the first ones to arrive for the spring. Now they’re everywhere.

Pine Grosbeaks finally

So it’s an irruption year for Pine Grosbeaks and they’ve done all they can to avoid me. A calling bird that we never found at the top of Mt. Watatic last year did get it onto my year list. This year, we tried in Royalston on a freezing cold day that had all the birds hiding for the short time we were able to stand being out. While out at Ethan’s for a weekend, I did get a very brief fly-by view at the Athol McDonald’s, but that’s not very satisfying.

I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to get any photo ops and wasn’t going to be able to get them on my Middlesex County list (kicking myself for not going out to Groton early in the winter when they appeared to be pretty regular). Fortunately, on Thursday, Paul Peterson reported several at the train station in Lincoln and Marj Rines found them again Friday. Although it was supposed to be nasty all day Saturday, it wasn’t raining when I got up, so we took a quick ride out. The train station trees were just about stripped bare (although a few of the waxwings that had been around showed up along with a bluebird). We wandered down through the community gardens looking for other fruit trees and found some in front of the police station. Unfortunately, there were no birds in them. Continuing on to the Codman Estate, we were rewarded with a fairly good view of a Pileated Woodpecker. The rain picked up, so we headed out.

Today, I started by not doing much of anything ad finally decided to try again around 9:30. The train station looked empty, so I drove past the police station (also empty) and headed to Nine Acre Corner. I attempted to enjoy my first Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintails of the year, but the freezing wind made it difficult. There had been a White-fronted Goose around, but the majority of the geese were behind vegetation or in horrible light. Barbara Volkle and Steve Moore drove up, agreed on the difficulty with the geese and we all headed back to the other side to try from there. No luck with the geese and the Killdeer that Barbara and Steve had seen had also gone into hiding, so I headed back to the train station.

On the way back, I cut down 126 to Codman Rd. to check for the Pileated again (Marj had mentioned that it appeared to have been working on a hole for quite awhile last year). At the stop sign, the car in front of me was being slow, so I looked to the police station and noticed a brighter spot in the trees. The car was still sitting there and there was no one behind me, so I grabbed my binocs and had a Pine Grosbeak. I went back to the train station to park and ran over and found at least 4 birds feeding in the trees right in front of the station, including one gorgeous adult male.

And since I’m sure no one read all that, here’s the pictures:

Pine Grosbeak

Male Pine Grosbeak

Male Pine Grosbeak

Male Pine Grosbeak

Note how many berries he started eating and didn’t finish.

(Update: in the comments, Norm Levey points out that they eat the pips and not the fruit itself)

Male Pine Grosbeak

Male Pine Grosbeak

A couple waxwings joined them as well.

Cedar Waxwing

I headed off to other things but caught Barbara and Steve as they drove up and was able to point them to the police station.

After my parents got home in the afternoon, they decided to take a run over and see them themselves. We got to the police station with empty trees. There was an odd call from across the street and we looked up and all saw a grosbeak. After a few seconds, we realized we were all looking at different birds. They flew back into the fruit trees, giving much better views. Unfortunately no adult male this time, but still good for everyone to get them.

Pine Grosbeaks

Second bird almost visible there.

Pine Grosbeak

Duck Walked

So the Waltham Land Trust duck walk was today. Luckily it was fairly warm (although the wind made it feel a bit cool) and the path was mostly clear.

I don’t want to say unfortunately, but 50 people showing up was rather scary. Once we got to the first wooden overlook, it turned out ok. Until then it was a big clustered and crazy (the fact the the hoodie disappeared before most people got on it didn’t help much). At the overlook, we were able to get nice looks at the Hooded Mergansers and Ring-necked Ducks and spent a good bit of time getting everyone to the front to see. The ring-necked show at the second overlook was even better and the female Common Goldeneye was around for a while as well.

We lingered there for quite some time. I debated ending the walk there as there wasn’t likely to be much up further, but someone who had walked over to the start mentioned seeing a few things he didn’t know across Newton St. so we headed over. A few more mergansers and mallards were about it, although a few of us spotted 2 black ducks as we returned.

Although not the birdiest walk, people seemed very excited. Many commented on how they weren’t aware of how much could be found along the Charles (or any small bit of habitat in general). Between seeing this and corresponding with others about various places in Waltham, I’ve realized that there’s a need to document as many places publicly as possible. I’m going to start adding to the 3 site pages I already have up (both more sites and more details about the individual sites) and need to start looking at the eBird import tool to get all my old data up there.

And we saw:

  • Canada Goose – 30
  • American Black Duck – 2
  • Mallard – 100
  • Ring-necked Duck – 12
  • Hooded Merganser – 11
  • Ring-billed Gull – 40
  • Rock Pigeon – 2
  • Downy Woodpecker – 1
  • American Crow – 4
  • American Robin – 4
  • Northern Mockingbird – 2
  • European Starling – 25
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 2
  • Common Grackle – 1
  • House Sparrow – 20

Winter List 2007

Stealing an idea from the Canadians, here’s a December-February list for Waltham. Dates and locations are the first sighting. Birds in bold are my first Dec-Feb sighting in Waltham.

The List:

  1. Canada Goose (12/1, Met State)
  2. Mute Swan (12/2, Hardy Pond)
  3. Wood Duck (1/19, Charles)
  4. American Black Duck (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  5. Mallard (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  6. Green-winged Teal (12/2, Hardy Pond)
  7. Ring-necked Duck (12/2, Charles)
  8. Common Goldeneye (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  9. Hooded Merganser (12/1, Lot 1)
  10. Common Merganser (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  11. Ruddy Duck (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  12. Great Blue Heron (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  13. Turkey Vulture (2/25, Beaver St)
  14. Sharp-shinned Hawk (12/23, Lot 1)
  15. Cooper’s Hawk (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  16. Red-tailed Hawk (12/1, Lot 1)
  17. American Kestrel (12/23, UMass Field Station)
  18. American Woodcock (12/1, Lot 1)
  19. Ring-billed Gull (12/1, yard)
  20. Herring Gull (12/1, Star Market)
  21. Great Black-backed Gull (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  22. Rock Pigeon (12/2, Hardy Pond)
  23. Mourning Dove (12/1, Lot 1)
  24. Great Horned Owl (12/1, Met State)
  25. Belted Kingfisher (12/2, Hardy Pond)
  26. Red-bellied Woodpecker (1/5, Met State)
  27. Downy Woodpecker (12/1, yard)
  28. Hairy Woodpecker (12/1, Lot 1)
  29. Northern Flicker (12/2, Charles)
  30. Blue Jay (12/1, Lot 1)
  31. American Crow (12/1, Trapelo)
  32. Fish Crow (12/22, Charles)
  33. Black-capped Chickadee (12/1, yard)
  34. Tufted Titmouse (12/1, yard)
  35. White-breasted Nuthatch (12/1, yard)
  36. Carolina Wren (12/2, yard)
  37. Winter Wren (1/5, Met State)
  38. Golden-crowned Kinglet (12/6, Paine)
  39. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (12/2, Charles)
  40. Eastern Bluebird (1/5, Met State)
  41. Hermit Thrush (2/3, Lot 1)
  42. American Robin (12/1, Lot 1)
  43. Northern Mockingbird (12/1, Lot 1)
  44. European Starling (12/2, Cambridge Res)
  45. Cedar Waxwing (12/1, Lot 1)
  46. American Tree Sparrow (12/1, Lot 1)
  47. Savannah Sparrow (12/7, UMass Field Station)
  48. Song Sparrow (12/1, Lot 1)
  49. White-throated Sparrow (12/1, Lot 1)
  50. Dark-eyed Junco (12/1, yard)
  51. Snow Bunting (12/23, UMass Field Station)
  52. Northern Cardinal (12/1, Lot 1)
  53. Red-winged Blackbird (2/15, Charles)
  54. Common Grackle (2/24, Charles)
  55. House Finch (12/1, yard)
  56. American Goldfinch (12/1, yard)
  57. House Sparrow (12/1, yard)

Based on Massbird (and other lists) postings and eBird reports, there were at least 215 species in state this season.

So 57 again, same as last year. Not too bad. Did miss ravens repeatedly and probably some other stuff.

Cumulative total: 78

Last Year

Quiz 5

Not quite “of the Week” but whatever right now.

This one’s easy and you can probably figure it out from other pages on the site.


Taken Feb. 24 along the Charles.

Week 4 Answer

Quiz 4

We have a perching bird that appears to be brown above, whitish below with some spots. The head is blocked by a branch, as is most of the tail. There’s still plenty to see.

Among the brown birds, we have sparrows, wrens, thrushes, Brown Creeper, a flycatcher or two, Horned Lark, some swallows, Brown Thrasher, and Ovenbird. Clearly it’s not a lark, creeper, swallow or flycatcher. No wren has spotting like this bird, so we’re down to sparrows, thrushes, and Brown Thrasher.

The bird looks a bit big and long for most sparrows. Fox Sparrow is a possibility, but that should be redder and is more streaked than spotted. Song Sparrows would show a more patterned face.

Brown Thrasher is bigger and redder. The tail is huge, which would be noticeable, even mostly hidden here. So we’re down to thrushes. Wood Thrush would be more heavily spotted. Although the Catharus species are very difficult, we have a shortcut here. This is a winter photo, and Hermit Thrush is the only thrush that wouldn’t be extraordinary in midwinter.

Here’s another view, which shows the face much better.

Week 4 alternate view

I actually did have a guess this week. It wasn’t Hermit Thrush, but it’s a start. One of these weeks (although I’m skipping another week now as I was away over the weekend and didn’t get anything together).