Sunday, May 31, 2009

Birding North of Worcester-May 31st

Alan and I decided to head up north today and further away from Worcester in hopes of getting some birds that are tougher to get in Southern Worcester County. We started off at Bolton Flats where most of the water beds are dry and as a result there were not that may shore birds. There were a lot of warblers, flycatchers and even a huge brawl between Blue Jays, American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds, but that was about it. Our next stop was Dexter Drumlin to search for grassland birds like Bobolinks and sparrows. I had never been here before and let me tell you, it was so worth the trip to get a look at the very tame Savannah Sparrows we came across.

It seemed as if every corner we turned, we saw another Savannah teed up on a branch and singing its heart out.

We decided to set up Alan's spotting scope to see what digiscoped photos would look like and we were far from disappointed as these birds like to perch for long periods of a time which allows for some fabulous shots.

Noticed the yellow around its eyes and bill. This is a very good field mark when looking at this bird.

Many people think sparrows are drab looking birds but have they ever seen the beauty in a Savannah before? If so, than I think they would quickly change their minds.

So cute and now my new favorite sparrow for the month of May.

Lousy-over exposed shot of two of them together but I thought it was so cute!

We spent about an hour there and then headed over to Sterling Peats to see if I could finally get a decent shot of a Double-crested Cormorant. The DC wasn't there but all of the other birds more than made up for it. The minute we arrived at SP, we knew we were in for some good birding as various bird songs filled the air with melody and busy birds fluttered throughout the air and into brambles. The photo above and below are of a female Red-winged Blackbird eating what I believe are a couple of wasps!

Seeing this made me more appreciative of the Luna Bar in my backpack! The raw food diet just wouldn't work for me!

Next it was onto an American Goldfinch. A regular in my backyard that I wanted to photograph in a different environment through the digiscope and the two photos are the end result. Such gorgeous, common birds!

I had never noticed how orange the male Goldfinches bill was until now.

While walking toward the water, I spotted a nest up in the upper third fork of a tree that required further inspection. We did not want to disturb whoever was in it so out came the spotting scope for a better view. Suddenly a tiny head appeared to investigate what all of the noise was.

This Female Baltimore Oriole was busy nesting and was hoping we wouldn't get any closer which of course we didn't. Such a sweet little bird on her nest.

The nest itself was a course of confusion for us though as it wasn't hanging from the uppermost tip of a branch like most Baltimore Orioles do so we were contemplating for quite some time whether or not we had an Orchard Oriole's nest here due to the fact that we saw a male Orchard Oriole around that location.

We decided to continue birding to see if I could get a shot of the male Orchard Oriole and then we would go back to the nest for a better digiscoped photo of the nest itself to allow for a better analysis. The funny thing was that we had forgotten where the nest was and spent about 1/2 an hour looking for it. After all of that hard work, we were scanning the trees and it was in plain view all of that time!! HA! It's like that joke how many birders does it take to find a nest or something like that. ;o). While the nest is a little odd for a Baltimore Oriole, the field marks on this female appear to be classic Baltimore. It did make for some interesting birding though. Talk about a learning experience!

In between all of this looking around, we came across an Eastern Kingbird who was teed up on a branch and just begging to be digiscoped which we were happy to comply with.

This bird is supposed to be a tyrant of sorts but it didn't look like a tyrant to me as it sat there peacefully and contemplating the morning.

Such deep thought in those eyes.

Alan was also able to see a Bald Eagle soaring high in the sky which resulted in my first Bald Eagle photo in flight. We were hoping it would come closer but this eagle had better things to do like find brunch.

We were not disappointed for long though as Alan heard the distinctive call of an Alder Flycatcher (LIFER!). Many of the flycatchers look very much alike so the only way you can tell them apart is from their song. Very confusing and something that is difficult for me to get being so new to birding. Next year though, watch out as I am going to embed these calls into my overwhelmed brain!

Ironically, we did see a shore bird at SP as shown in the photo above. There were a couple of Spotted Sandpipers around the shore which allowed for my fist decent photo of one.

Well that's it for May birding for me. Now I know why so many birders get so excited for the month of May. There is so much to see that there are not enough hours in the day to drink it all in. I tried to do the best I could with many early mornings (getting up at 4AM people!) but was so worth it. June will slow things down of course as many of the migrants are already far north of us and other birds are nesting, but that won't stop me from getting out there again next weekend. Just more of a challenge that's all and I do love a challenge!!!

Take care everyone and have a great week!


Steve said...

A great haul for the day and some excellent photos. Wll done.

Deborah Godin said...

Quite the list for one day!! And Savannahs are one of my fave SBBs (small brown birds)

Carol said...

The digiscope is amazing. I am researching..need one. Great picture of the little bird peeking out over the nest.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Through your digiscope photos I am able to see details I normally would not be aware of. These are all so pretty.

SweetAnnee said...

Awesome pics..aren't birds just the best!!??
I need a digiscope..I love the mama looking out for her babes..

Smiles, Deena

Ratty said...

I like the goldfinch, and I like that haircut on the eastern kingbird.

Shellmo said...

I love how you captured that oriole peeking out of the nest! And I agree that the savannahs are cute birds! Great photos of the goldfinch too!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, just looking at that oriole,
I believe it might be an Orchard.
All the breeding Baltimores I
have seen around here in MN have
a dark head. I realize that this
is the only field mark I can see,
but it still looks like a female
Orchard Oriole to me; also, the
nest looks more typical Orchard.
I hope I have been of some help.

Hap in New Hope

Rich said...

The digiscope makes great, clear pictures - impressive.

Kelly said...

Wow! What a fantastic series of photos.... I love the Savannah Sparrows....and the mama oriole on the nest is so sweet.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Congrats, Kim, for a wonderful May Birding month...You did GREAT... I haven't even heard of half the birds you have seen. Amazing!!

Love the pictures of the Goldfinch. We have them--but I have a hard time getting their picture. Of course, I don't have a digiscope..


Kallen305 said...

Thanks Everyone! HAP, this is what my birding buddy and I were contemplating too. The nest looks funny for a Baltimore too, PLUS we sas a male Orchard Oriole in that area. I am glad there is someone else out there who thinks the same and we may have to check it out further. Thank you

Jayne said...

Great photos through the scope Kim!

T and S said...

So you are onto digiscoping ! WOW. I tried my hand once at it and found it very difficult to manage, especially if the subject isn't cooperative. Given that experience, I must say this is so beautiful.

Richard said...

June - lots of pictures of fledglings. Had to laugh now that you don't have just another new favorite bird but now listing them by species.

NCmountainwoman said...

Another great birding day. Gool luck for June!

dAwN said...

You sure have been having some great birdie outins Kim!
I love your photo of the Alder! and the eastern kingbird shots!

I hope to see your smiling face June 13th for our birdie outing @ Plum Island!

If you know other birdie/ nature bloggers in the area that may want to come...please invite..
Husbands/ significant others are invited!

Smalltown RN said...

The American Gold Finch have returned to my feeder for another year....lovely vibrant birds...I love the Savannah Sparrow....maybe that is the one that I have been havomg difficulties identifying....

Would love it if you would stop by and help me identify some of the mystery birds....cheers...

Tina said...

What a great day you many birds and so many wonderful shots of them..loved the digiscoping shots of those orioles!!
and that savannah..sweet! 8>)

MaineBirder said...

It's great that you had a wonderful May full of birding and new species to add to your lifelist. The final day of the month looks like it treated you well. Well shot digi pics!!

Let's hope Plum Island will be nice to us all on June 13th for the birder/blogger/twitter get together!

Anonymous said...

You really got some beautiful shots, Kallen. I like all of them. I am not sure if I could do any better on most of the same shots.

Voices from the past >


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