Monday, October 19, 2009

Brrrrrrr-ding on Sunday

Birded the Brookfields on Sunday morning and started out at Lake Quaboag in the early AM. Alan and I met up with Rodney there to see if the Forbush Bird Club trip would still be on, but the three of us were the only ones there so we figured we would be brave enough to at least attempt some birding. Nothing much on the lake except for some Mallards and Double-crested Cormorants so off we went in search for birds.

The first place we went was this small pond above that from what I understand, never freezes due to how many ducks, geese, gulls, etc that are in there in the winter. All of their congested moving makes the water fluid all the time so it doesn't have time to form ice! The picture above is how it looked when we arrived. There were dozens of Ring-billed Gulls in the area as well as Mallards and Canada Geese all waiting for the farmer to come and feed them english muffins.
The gulls would fly past us so I took some photos thinking these would probably be the only decent shots I would get all day with the rain we had which is killer on optics and cameras. 1st year Ring-billed Gull above I believe.

Flying overhead to see if we brought food with us I would guess!
And another photo for all of you bird nerds who want to try and pic out the 2nd year gulls! ;-)
And one more of course.
Finally the farmer showed up with breakfast and all of the Mallards went to the area trying to get first dibs on the english muffins.
Chaos broke out in the gull community as what seemed to be hundreds of gulls were flying all over the place with some even landing briefly in pine trees!
You can't go wrong on a Sunday morning with Thomas's English Muffins!
Finally we decided to venture onward as the gull scene was starting to get boring, so we went to an area with very good sparrow habitat to see who would be hiding in the bushes and weeds to escape the rain. One of the first birds we see overhead is this male Northern Harrier above. I wasn't able to get a really good look at the bird as he was overhead, flying past us and visibility was rather poor, but I was able to appreciate how different the male looks when soaring above vs. how I normally see Northern Harriers which is much lower to the ground hunting for prey. One of the most distinguishable field marks on this bird besides its overall shape are the black wing tips it has which you can see in the photo.
We also had another raptor in the same immediate area which was this Cooper's Hawk above. All of the photos came out lousy due to the rain but you should give me an A for at least trying!! Seriously, binoculars were useless much of the morning because of how fogged up they got. For some reason that doesn't happen as much w/ my camera. Anyhow, you know there are good birds around when you have an accipiter present as they are there for the same reasons you are but with different overall desires of course!

After much pishing we did see some birds including Song Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White Throated Sparrows and a quick look at a White-crowned Sparrow but these birds did not want to come out of hiding because of the raw weather. There were a couple of brave little Ruby-crowned Kinglets though like the one above. Check out this birds eye due to me using flash, does it look crazy or what. The poor thing looks wired as if he spent the night partying with Marion Berry or something! You can barely see a White-throated Sparrow to the left of it.

Despite the rain and cold weather, it was still nice to get out. No Ruddy Duck though!! Hoping to get it this week.

Take care all.


Chris said...

Hi Kim
This is quite funny to see ring-billed gulls by dozens and even thousands when you know that when we have one over here, everybody is going to see it because it is so rare! Wonderful post again!

Hilke Breder said...

Kim, I thought you were kidding about the English breakfast muffins, but then I zoomed in on it, it sure looks like it. Does he do it only on Sundays? :-))

Kim said...

Chris, so funny because a common bird you have that comes here is a big deal for us too!

Hilke, he actually does feed them english muffins from what I understand and he does it daily. That is why they stay in the little pond and that is why it never freezes because there are so many of them. I hear its a great place to go with your scope in winter and a good place to try and age gulls in the winter when you are desperate! He must get his english muffins free because I can't imagine the costs of all of those muffins.

NCmountainwoman said...

Lucky gulls. Wonder if he ever puts jelly on the English muffins.


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