Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rainy Day Birding

Another day of rainy weather that just makes you want to stay indoors but you don't because you only have two days of birding before the work week starts again and birding becomes limited and you can only fit it in here and there. Alan and I had headed out to Wachusett Meadows for the breeding bird survey but the rain was coming down too hard to get an accurate count so it had to be called off.

By the time we left the rain had let up some so we decided to go to Sterling Peat to check up on the nesting Baltimore Orioles who have since fledged. We were surprised to hear so much bird song as we entered the area and Yellow Warblers were everywhere and didn't see to be too bothered by the rain.

The vivid yellow of this bird was a welcome sight in contrast to the gray skies that seem to be taking us hostage lately. Where is summer?

Next it was onto the Brown Thrasher we had seen there last time we went to Sterling Peat. It wasn't singing but was easy to find as it flew from tree to tree.

Same bird, same time, different tree, different angle with the camera. Notice the difference in the colors of the plumage?? Lighting is a photographers favorite friend. The first photo is a better portrayal of the birds true color.

As always, there were a lot of Catbirds at SP. These are one of the most easier birds to spot because they NEVER shut up!

Next it was onto the Westborough Wildlife Refuge to see if the American Kestrels were successful in breeding (didn't see them), but we did see flocks of Black-capped Chickadees who were most likely the parents and their new young. I was able to confirm that this is indeed why the chickadees have sounded so different to me the past week or so. They sound like a chickadee with a cold so their call is softer and almost more horse if you will.

We also saw two Common Ravens there who flew above us as they made their call.

As we walked down the trail we could hear the sound of nestlings begging for food and it sounded very much like the Hairy Woodpecker nestlings we had heard yesterday. We were able to locate the tree the nest cavity was in an knew it was too small for a HWP and this male Downy Woodpecker confirmed it for us. Here he is going in to feed his young.

Speaking of young check out this what I assume to be juvenile White-breasted Nuthatch. Alan and I heard its call and it sounded different than what we are accustomed to for this bird. It was also kind of clumsy as it was hunting for bugs and almost fell a couple of times. When I blew this picture up on my computer screen the first thing I noticed was some of the yellow around its bill. I have noticed that many of the recently juvie birds still have the yellow on their bills from when they were nestlings so this makes for a good field mark at times when trying to distinguish a juvie from an adult, but rememeber many recently fledged birds will not have that yellow and some birds will always have the yellow (example, American Robin).

A House Wren on an Eastern Bluebird nest box. There were no indications of Bluebirds there though so I am guessing the wrens moved in.

Next it was onto Flint Pond which I had not been to since February. We decided to make a quick stop there to see if we could find any ducks and the place was alive with life including a good sized flock of Cedar Waxwings.

A male Downy Woodpecker searching for lunch for himself and perhaps his young.

And I saved the best for last. Right the minute we arrived at Flint we had heard a bird call that was unfamiliar to both of us. We searched the branches for signs of bird life but couldn't see anything but wherever we went, the call would follow which was driving me crazy! Alan finally spotted these recently fledged Baltimore Orioles. They still had a little downy feathers on the tops of their heads but I couldn't get a decent shot of it of course. Grrrrr........I have no idea how many there were but let's just say their calls were the predominate sound throughout Flint Pond. Talk about a baby boom!!!!!!!

Anyway, despite the lousy weather we were able to get in a good amount of birds. Here they in the order in which I put them down on our list.

.Barn Swallow
. Eastern Phoebe
.Yellow Warbler
. Gray Catbird
. Brown Thrasher
. Tree Swallow
. Northern Cardinal
. Belted Kingfisher
. Eastern Kingbird
. Green Heron
. Great-blue Heron
. Willow Flycatcher
. Downy Woodpecker
. Prairie Warbler
. Common Yellowthroat
. Song Sparrow
. Baltimore Oriole
. Killdeer
. Common Grackle
. Red-winged Blackbird
. Warbling Vireo
. Wood Thrush
. Rock Pigeon
. Mourning Dove
. European Starling
. Goldfinch
. Red-tailed Hawk
. Mallard
. American Robin
. House Sparrow
. Pine Warbler
. House Wren
. Chimney Swift
.Chestnut-sided Warbler
.Common Raven
.American Crow
.Blue Jay
.Rose-breasted Grosbeak
.Pileated Woodpecker
.Great-crested Flycatcher
.Red-eyed Vireo
.Field Sparrow
.Cedar Waxwing
.Inigo Bunting
.Eastern Towhee
.Ring-billed Gull (overhead near a grocery store HA)
.Chipping Sparrow
.White-breasted Nuthatch
.Tufted Titmouse
50 in total for approx 3 hours of birding. Not too shabby for a rainy day!


Carol said...

Now arn't you glad you went. I love walking in the rain.

Kallen305 said...

Carol, I am so with you regarding walking in the rain. I have always loved it so getting a little rain on me is fun (can't stand umbrellas!). One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was jumping in puddles after a thunderstorm. Me and all of the neighborhood kids would go out there and have a blast! I am sick of the rain now though and want sunshine!

Ginnymo said...

What a beautiful array of photos you have here Kim!! I've seen a few young Sparrows and of course those noisy Starlings and today the young Grackles came out with their mom. I saw a young woodchuck with it's mom today though!! My very first one!! Yippeee!! Ha! Ha!

Chris said...

Wow 50 species.... I would like to be able to do that! Now we are seeing again around 25 per day max, if we drive around Reykjavík!!! If you want 50 we have to run across the country...
I love the nuthatch shot, but you saw so many things there and got so many pictures, it is hard to choose... Indeed, I even prefer the cedar waxing I think ;-)

The Early Birder said...

Hi Kim. Good total in spite of the drab weather. There is no doubt that the 'knowledge' gained is now paying dividends plus lots of great photos.
Hope you have a stress free working week. FAB

Shellmo said...

Those photos of the yellow warbler would brighten any cloudy day! Fantastic!!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kim, I cannot believe that you saw so many birds on a RAINY day... Amazing!!!

I don't know if I told you but we have two Brown Thrashers who come to my suet feeder several times EVERY day... Isn't that amazing since they usually are ground feeders??


Ratty said...

I wish I could get such nice clear pictures of birds on a rainy day. Mine come out as only shadows if the sky is dark.

dAwN said...

Pretty darn good for a rainy day of birding, Kim..
You saw nice photos..and baby Orioles to boot!


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