Saturday, May 23, 2009

Forbush Bird Club-Oxbow-May 23rd

I joined 17 other members of the Forbush Bird Club today at Oxbow Wildlife Sanctuary in Harvard, MA. The trip was co-led by local birding experts Fran and Alan and we were able to record 61 species of birds and various other critters such as toads, frogs, snakes, chipmunks, a butterfly and even a dead raccoon.
The air was chilled and the sun was hidden by clouds but signs of summer were all around us as eager eyes searched the leaf filled trees for signs of warblers and other birds. It's amazing how much the world can change in just a few days. I went birding this past Tuesday and getting pictures and glimpses of birds was much easier than today when leaves are now in full bloom.

There was one bird who decided to give me a break though and that was the Common Yellowthroat who sat perched on a branch for a few minutes while I and another birder watched it.

There were signs of life all over the refuge including the one above of an American Robin feeding her nestlings! We were also treated to glimpses of other nests including that of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

The skies were overcast for most of the morning so picture taking was difficult for me. Here is a picture of a Yellow-throated Vireo (LIFER!).

Warblers were still plenty and I saw my first female Common Yellowthroat.

As well as one of my favorite warblers which is the Blue-winged Warbler shown above.

I decided to do some practice on butterfly shots and was happy to see that one of them actually stayed still for me. The butterfly expert on our trip told me what kind of butterfly this is but of course, I forgot. I tried doing a google search for "orange butterfly" and got a lot of info that didn't help me to identify it. Help?? I think I will continue to stick w/ birds as they are much easier for my overwhelmed brain to comprehend.

A Tree Swallow on a wire taken during the end of the trip. It is so nice to see these birds sitting still on occasion because it seems so rare to me.
In the afternoon, Alan and I decided to check out what has been going on at Saint Philips Cemetery in Grafton. I had not been there for at least a month and wanted to check on the Great Blue Heron and Pileated Woodpecker to see if they were nesting still. I was able to get a pretty good look at a female Red-winged Blackbird. While the picture came out blurry, I really liked the fact that I could see that orange on her wings.

The Bluebirds were still there and one was perched up on a branch and just begging to get her photo taken. I practiced pishing (which I feel very uncomfortable doing) and guess what!! It worked! HA. It's not half as hard as I thought. ;o) Here she is responding by looking at me in a cautious manner.

Such a sweet little bird.

The Pileated Woodpeckers were nowhere to be seen and we looked at the nest cavity they had been working on over the spring but saw no evidence of them coming or going. We did see around 4 Great-blue Herons though including the female above who continues to be on her nest.

I will be doing more birding tomorrow and guess what!!! I will be doing it solo. There are no more trips planned for this weekend with it being Memorial Day and other birders have plans so it is time to see if all of this intense birding with more experienced birders has helped me in my own birding. I have not done solo birding in close to two months now and have been spoiled by others knowledge and expertise. Tomorrow and Monday will be the true test in how much I have learned. Wish me luck and cross your fingers that I don't get a bunch of Black-capped Chickadees and the occasional Tufted Titmouse which the usual case with my single birding ventures. Enjoy the long weekend everyone!


Chris Petrak said...

Great day of birding - isn't it great to blow off all other responsibilities and spend a day birding with other bird nerds, and get a Lifer!

Mildred said...

Looks like you had a successful day today. I'm sure you will enjoy a little quiet time to see just what you can find tomorrow - hope you have a wonderful time.

Amy said...

I bet you won't be so shy about pishing now that you got that great curious Bluebird shot! Very cute! The groups here really slow down with birding excursions until the fall, so I think we'll be on our own until then. Birding with the groups makes us all better though and I'm sure you'll have a blast tomorrow. I'm still amazed at your warbler photos. I mostly just get shots of leaves. Very bad shots of leaves. I think your butterfly is a Monarch but I'm no expert.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

You'll do fine SOLO, Kim... You have learned so much the past couple of months. And by going solo, you can go at your own pace and do what YOU want to do... I'm sure you'll do great.

Love your photos today..Loved the baby Robins with their beaks open!!!! Love the Warblers and the Tree Swallow.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

Ginnymo said...

Lots of great photos again Kim!! Love the Robin in the nest feeding her young.. Have a nice Memorial day!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, your butterfly is a Monarch
look-alike called a Viceroy.

Hap in New Hope

Richard said...

Sounds like you had a fun filled day. Love the Common Yellowthroat...never seen one. As for the butterfly...goes with what Hap says.

Kelly said...

...I'm jealous of all your fabulous birding trips!! 61 species is wonderful... awesome photos recording your trip. Have a great holiday weekend!

Jayne said...

What a great outing. You are inspiring me to try and get involved with the local ornithological society here. I always SAY I am going to, but never seem to actually DO it. Your experiences have piqued my curiosity Kim! Thanks for sharing them with us. :c)

Tina said...

You certainly had a great day birding and it shows with all those wonderful pix including Mama feeding her little ones!! How Nice.
I just love those early morning walks that start out on the cool side..with the sun just touching the tops of the trees..sure makes one's day start off on the right foot!
Good luck going solo today..sure sounds like you are racking up those lifers!!

Elaine Dale said...

Great stuff! I went in search of Great Blues yesterday but appears to be a bit too early around here. Tons of Red-winged Blackbirds though. Have a great day.

Chris said...

Well done a nice birding day you got! I love the tree swallow. It is so cute.

Dale Forbes said...

those wood-warblers look so stunning (but I think they sound a bit dull). The old-world warblers are just the opposite. When I get back over to the Americas, I must make sure that I am there when the wood warblers are about!

Happy birding

NCmountainwoman said...

Good luck! Hope you have a successful time.

The Early Birder said...

Another great day of birding Kim. I'm sure you will surpass yourself by going SOLO. Lol FAB

Kallen305 said...

Thanks Hap in New Hope. My birding buddy send me an email saying it was the butterfly too. Sheesh and I thought birds were confusing. ;o)


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