Compiled by Eamon Corbett
This update covers the second half of October. Hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful autumn foliage! We have a lot of avian, botanical, and mycological sightings from the past two weeks. Some highlights:
The female Wild Turkey(s) that frequents the area around Mass Ave has become a campus celebrity, and you can follow her exploits on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/harvardturkey/?fref=ts. Just a sampling of recent sightings: in front of Lehman Hall on the 19th and 29th, Mass Ave. on the 28th, and in front of the Holyoke Center, also on the 28th.
A Naturalist Club trip around campus on the 18th turned up a wide variety of trees—dawn redwoods, black walnuts, apples, tuliptrees, and many more– as well as both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets in Leverett Courtyard. Check out the full trip report at our blog: https://harvardnaturalists.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/kinglets-redwoods-and-no-owls-in-harvard-yard/.
For those in river houses, a Great Blue Heron was visible from JFK Ave on the Boston side of the Charles at night on the 25th and a migrant Yellow-rumped Warbler was near the river during Head of the Charles on the 18th. Mute Swans have also been seen with the usual Canada Geese and Mallards.
Other migrants in the area include numerous Blackpoll Warblers in the MAC quad and the yard, and a Palm Warbler was behind Robinson Hall on the 26th. Jeff Ott reports a Black-and-white Warbler on the 28th near the Divinity School.
A number of the more common resident birds have been out in force in recent days. Red-tailed Hawks were on Sever on the 18th, Memorial Hall on the 29th, and over the Old Yard on the 28th. Blue Jays were near Robinson on the 18th, and near the Holyoke Center on the 31st. Downy Woodpeckers were on Oxford Street on the 27th and in the dawn redwoods next to Sever on the 29th, the latter of which was also joined by Black-capped Chickadees. A female Northern Cardinal was in front of the Barker Center on the 18th, and a White-breasted Nuthatch has frequented the trees in from of Kirkland the past couple weeks.
Insect sightings have trailed off, but Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies continue in the MAC quad, as late as the 31st.
Professor Pfister reports a Laetiporus sulphureus fungus, commonly known as sulphur shelf or chicken-of-the-woods, growing on a swamp white oak between Sever and Emerson. This is an edible wood-rot polypore fungus. Tristan Wang reports a similarly-named but quite different Grifola frondosa fungus, commonly called hen-of-the-woods, growing under an oak in front of the MCZ.
As always, send any nature sightings to me or firstname.lastname@example.org, and stay tuned for our next November update!