Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Perfect Day for Birding

I took the day off today which meant I could spend the morning birding, so Alan and I took off in search for the Ruddy Duck I wanted to finally see. Our first stop was in Charlton on Route 20 that is very birdy and a good place to get birds on the Christmas Bird Count for Sturbridge. As soon as we got there we could hear the familiar call of American Robins with a couple even singing their daytime song which I haven't heard for weeks now. There were also scores of European Starlings who were starting to show that heavy speckling they get when in non-breeding plumage. The sparrows and warblers were out, but not as many as we would have liked, but did get Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and Yellow-rumped warblers.
Next it was onto Orlando's upper pond in Charlton which is the same area we were at this past Sunday where the gulls were eating english muffins. Sure enough there were three Ruddy Ducks there that could be seen really nicely with a scope. The picture above is of a drake in non-breeding plumage. Check out its tail!
These small ducks are absolutely adorable and are a little larger than a Bufflehead just to give you an overall idea on size.
Definitely the highlight of my morning and my new favorite bird for the month of October!
Next it was onto Lake Quaboag to see if we could find anything of interest there. Not much at all except for a couple of Double-crested Cormorants of which one was playing with its fish before consuming.
We travelled a little further north to the Quag hoping to see some different waterfowl there but once again a "no go" with just more Double Crested Cormorants and Mallards.
Song birds were out in full force though including this Hairy Woodpecker above. I really like this shot as it shows off the size of its bill in relation to the size of its head.
We also saw this Wooly Bear Caterpillar.
The picture above is of Coachlace Pond in Clinton which was where we went to get good looks at the many Greater Scaup Alan had seen there himself earlier in the week.

There were quite a few scaup clustered together along the pond including this drake Greater Scaup above.
Profile from the back so you can see how much the head shape can change based upon their position.
Alan was able to pick out a couple of Lesser Scaups in the group including the one above. Notice how the head is peaked vs the Greater Scaup which is round. Would I have been able to figure this out on my own??? No way, but once Alan pointed it out to me I could see the difference.
Huddled together as a group.
Love this shot of the Drake Greater Scaup. Those yellow eyes contrast perfectly with his black face.
Last it was onto Scar Hill Bluffs in Boylston to see if we could find any grebes. The place was very quiet with the only birds we could see were a couple of Ring-billed Gulls and a couple of Common Loons. All in all it was a great day with plenty of good birds and pretty foliage that is really starting to come out.

Take care everyone.


matthew houskeeper said...

Lake Quaboag looks like a beautiful spot.

NCmountainwoman said...

Those special days off are so satisfying. Glad you had such a good birding day.

Chris Petrak said...

There's something about the Ruddy Duck that always delights me - don't know why, because they aren't colorful except when the beak is blue. They sort of stumpy, clipped tail, but I always look at them twice or thrice when they're around. Thanks!

Hilke Breder said...

Nice line-up of photos. I have never seen a greater scaup, just know it from a carved old decoy that I have at home. Looks like you had a wonderful day.

Amy said...

Hey, I just read on John's blog that legend says large orange bands on Woolly Bears means a hard winter is coming. If that's true, you better look out. That's a lot of orange!


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