Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boiling at Bolton Flats

Bolton Flats felt more like the Everglades this past Monday afternoon with the third day in a row of hot and humid weather that I dislike just as much as the extreme cold. To make things worse, Bolton is not known for its shade trees so you are basically out in the hot sun looking for shorebirds as you bake in ankle deep mud. This is the price one must pay though in August if you want to bird so you just learn to adapt after a while and make the best of it which means plenty of water, plenty of patience and plenty of other things to do while outside as the birds are hiding in shade trees trying to get through another brutally hot day just as much as we are.

Anyhow, the regulars were all present when we arrived including this Lesser Yellowlegs shown above, prancing along a mudbank and showing us why it is called a yellowlegs. These birds have the grace of a ballerina I tell you and the legs too!

Another shot that I took and I didn't even notice the dragonfly in the picture until I got home and blew up the pictures on my computer screen.

And yet another picture of some yellowlegs which we assumed were Greater Yellowlegs due to the difference in the in the base of the bill (the Greater will always have a thicker base). No I can't take credit for that as I would have never figured that out on my own so thanks for the ID Alan.

And my favorite shot of a Lesser Yellowlegs getting ready for take off. I just love action shots as they don't happen to me often and I just happened to luck out with this one.

Alan was able to spot a White-rumped Sandpiper over at another mud flat and this is a lifer for me. It appeared to be all by itself and hanging out with the various Killdeer. The only pics I could get were over exposed digiscope pictures, but I'm not complaining because it was such a cool bird to see.

Here it is scratching itself. So cute! I noticed many of the birds doing this today and am wondering if it has to do with the heat and the increase in parasites due to the humidity?

I want to point out that I would NEVER in a million years been able to distinguish this bird as a White-rumped as I am still new to birding, but Alan explained that some of the things to look for in this shorebird is the completely white rump as well as wingtips that extend past the tail. I have no idea how some of the more experienced birders distinguish some of the various shorebirds as many look the same to me and I don't have the eye yet to see the subtle differences in each particular breed. This is why I love birding so much as you can never stop learning. The shorebirds seem to be the most confusing of them all which says a lot because there are a lot of species of bird out there to be confused by!

Another takeoff shot for the day of a Least Sandpiper getting ready to join the Killdeer at another mudbank.
There were also some herons at Bolton when we arrived including a Great-blue Heron and two juvenile Green Herons. I think juvie Green Herons are strikingly beautiful birds. I also noticed that they are not as shy as the adults. This is an observation I have made with many juvenile birds no matter what the breed. I guess it takes time for birds to develop a cautious fear of humankind. This Heron was close enough to us that I didn't even have to go to full zoom to get halfway decent photos of it despite the direction of the sun.

Doing me the honors of standing upright for a photo. I love it when they do that because more often than not they are crouched down ready to hunt so I was happy to get a photo like this one.
Despite the heat, it was worth the trip. Bolton Flats continues to be one of my favorite places to bird in Worcester County as it never dissapoints.

Take care everyone.


Tina said...

You've got some great shots here...and I hear you about the weather and trying to stay cool enough to get some shots.!! ug..day 5 of heat heat heat!!
Lover the lesser legs..esp him about to take off.
Maybe next week will be cooler, I really need to stop the traveling for a while and get out with my camera!!
Glad you prevailed..neat post!!

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