Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wachusett Reservior Evening Birding-Gull Roost

Another gorgeous day here in New England and it's hard to believe December is right around the corner with the weather we've been having. Of course I'm not complaining because there's plenty of time for winter so I'm taking advantage of the days as much as I can by being outdoors including this morning when I decided to head to Mount Wachusett which I will post about later this week. Came home and caught up on some much neglected housework and then got an email from Alan asking if I wanted to head out to Gate 22 at Wachusett Reservoir to check on the gull roost. I was in the midst of washing floor number two but that got quickly brushed aside as who was I to say refuse such an offer!!
While walking toward the island we could see small flocks of Black-capped Chickadees fluttering about to get their last meal in for the day before they settled in for shut eye.
Alan had forgotten his tape recorder to play owl calls so I continued to pish a little while he went back to his car to get it. Suddenly a little Black-capped Chickadee flew into the pine tree and got itself all settled in for the night. I sat there and watched it for a good minute as it sat there and not moving much so you could tell he was ready to call it a day. So cute as you very rarely see a chickadee sit still for a moment.
We finally get to the island and there are scores of birds everywhere and all inter mingled amongst each other. The small flock of waterfowl were to the left and the gulls to the right but all in the same row so you used your scope to scan the birds to figure out what was what.
The waterfowl was rather diverse with Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Canada Geese and even two loan Mallards thrown in. There were also a couple of Common Loons as well as a raft of American Black Ducks whose flock was so tight they could be easily mistaken for Scoters at first glance.
It didn't take long for the sun to set and the air to chill which caused the reservoir to explode in various colors to reflect the end of a beautiful day.
The air was crisp as Canada Geese honked and various Ring-billed Gulls cried outrage in the background fighting for a spot in the ever growing tight roost.
Other Ring-billed Gulls continued to fly in in small groups usually ranging between 3 and as large as 20 as the sky grew darker and the bright moon started to reflect in the water.
The setting sun made the gulls white plumage take on a blushing pink as they flew by overhead and I was reminded again at how deceptive the sun can be when looking at birds in the sky or even in a tree for that matter.

I took my eyes away from the ever growing crowd of birds for a second and there right in front of us was one lone Horned Grebe passing by and paying no attention to us as it dove in the water and coming up every once in a while for some air. I watched it pass by and wondered where it was headed for the night as it was getting rather dark outside at this point.
And the gulls continued to fly into the roost and pass the moon.
Toward the end it would be 1 or 2 of them who were the procrastinators who were most likely taking advantage of a free meal at some nearby parking lot and forgot the time. The air was quiet as all of the birds got settled in for the evening but occasionally you could hear a scuffle form as the gulls fought for a spot in the roost.

Every once in a while something would cause them to take to the sky and do a lazy circle only to fly right back to their original spot. I lightened this photo some so you can see it but the photo came out very out of focus as I didn't use flash for this because it made the picture even worse.

An awesome end to an awesome day as I had forgotten how much I enjoyed evening birding. Take care all.

eBird List:

Location: Boylston, Wach Res Gate 22
Observation date: 11/29/09
Number of species: 11

Canada Goose 2
American Black Duck 22
Mallard 2
Bufflehead 3
Common Goldeneye 4
Hooded Merganser 7
Common Merganser 4
Common Loon 3
Horned Grebe 1
Ring-billed Gull 650
Herring Gull 50


Kelly said...

...loved that last shot of the gull and the moon! Sounds like a good day to me...

Rich said...

Another great day!!!!! Glad you put some pictures up. Actually, good long weekend.

Enjoy your work week too.

NCmountainwoman said...

I especially love the photographs with the moon in the background. Aren't these mild November days such a treat?


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