Friday, June 29, 2012

Crazy Monkey Bird... Revisited!

Wow!  Time Flies!  It has been almost a whole year since we first wrote about our Crazy Monkey Bird... and Others!  If you don't remember (or don't feel like reading) the earlier post (from July 2011), here's a recap.  We were writing about some of the birds we hear in the yard, but since we don't typically see them, we had not identified them by their common names.  Rather, we had developed our own alternate naming system based on the sounds they make, such as "Crazy Monkey Bird",  "Birdee", "Asteroids", and more.  We had been using the Cornell Lab of Ornithology - All About Birds to listen to recorded bird sounds and try to make a match, and it worked for a few of the birds, but we were stumped on others.

Fast forward to this spring, getting outside, and hearing the sounds of nature... especially "Asteroids".  Morning, noon, and night, we'd hear him (or her)... in a good way!  And he seems to have moved even closer!  His sound is very intriguing, but it had been driving us crazy since he was one of the birds we had not been able to identify.  I asked a neighbor, and she suggested it might be a Phoebe.  And while I now know to listen for the sound of the Pheobe (which I do hear quite a bit), alas, it was not "Asteroids".  So we continued on... not knowing.  But then last week it occurred to Rob to ask one of our local friends, David, who is a birder.  Based on just a statement like "he sounds like the old Asteroids arcade game", our friend got it!  He actually gave us two options... and the first one was right!  So the answer is... a Veery!  (The other option he gave us was a Wood Thrush, which has a pretty sound that I hear quite a bit too, but Veery was the answer!)

So here is the whole list from last year, with the "correct" names added:

Crazy Monkey Bird - aka Pileated Woodpecker
Birdie - Northern Cardinal
The Guilty Bird - Black-capped Chickadee
Wheezy - maybe Cedar Waxwing  (Though we aren't certain on this one!)
Asteroids - Veery

There's one more out there... I call him Elmo.   Maybe that will be our next challenge for our friend.  As for Asteroids, I haven't quite gotten used to calling him Veery.  I guess it will take a while.  :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Favorite Picnic Spots

Today's weather was not-so-good (rainy), but yesterday was a beautiful blue sky day!  One of our favorite things to do when we just want to enjoy a beautiful day is to grab some sandwiches and have an impromptu picnic.  Yesterday's outing included yummy sandwiches from Dublin General Store (check their Facebook page for daily specials) and a picnic table at the Dam Overlook Shelter at Edward MacDowell Lake.  It was perfect... just enough sun, just enough breeze, and close enough that we didn't feel too guilty about sneaking out in the middle of the day!

Some of our other favorite picnic combinations include the cafe at Nature's Green Grocer and Edward MacDowell Lake, Aesop's Table or Twelve Pine Cafe in Depot Square and the auto road to the top of Miller State Park, Fiddleheads Cafe in Hancock and the walking trail at Hancock Depot, and Kimball Farm and a picnic table at Howard Memorial Park (on Route 202) in Jaffrey. 

We've even been known to "picnic" when the weather isn't so great.  You can get nice views of MacDowell Lake and Cheshire Pond (at Howard Memorial Park) without even leaving your car!