Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Day in Boston-Two Lifers

I took the train into Boston for work today and was kind of excited with all of the recent bird sightings right in the area where I work. My excitement didn't last long when I looked out the window early this morning and saw pouring rain hitting my window. I took the train in staring out the window at gray skies and ponds as that's what I do every time I go into Boston because birding via train can actually yield pretty good results sometimes.
Glass building at Post Office Square

By the time I arrived at South Station the rain was gone and the sun decided to shine and I was hopeful the Yellow-breasted Chat would decide to grace me with its presence.
The wind blew strong as I checked out every nook and cranny at Post Office Square. After spending about 5 minutes there I gave up and headed toward my office.
And resigned myself to the fact that the only birds I would see this morning was the Heron above.
And a very nice Bald Eagle that was just begging for a photo.
During our coffee break, my co-worker did a quick stop Fanuel Hall to see if we could spot the Barred Owl. We couldn't see the owl but spoke to some of the local vendors there who had the 411 on this bird as they are there all the time. They looked at me with pride as they explained what time the owl usually arrives and what time it leaves. One also took pride in the fact that she spotted it for the first time due to the fact that she saw pigeon guts falling from the tree in large chunks which caused her to look up to see where the spillage was coming from and there was the owl staring at her. How cool is that! Another vendor told me to head to Rowes Wharf as he had seen the Barred Owl there a couple of times so I decided to head off there during my lunch hour.
As soon as I arrived I could see a Ring-billed Gull, a Herring Gull and then another Gull that instantly stood out to me so I zoned in on him. For one split second I thought a rather dark Herring Gull, but my gut told me no so I then decided Greater Black-backed Gull but again something didn't feel right.
Look at it one more time and excitement starts as I realize it is a Lesser Black-backed Gull. I so wanted to be certain on this so poured over my guide on the train ride back home and then sent the picture to two other birders to have them confirm. Life bird for me so I'm very happy right now.
And a Mallard I saw there too that I thought came out half way decent so I just had to share!
After Rowes Wharf I ran to Post Office Square as I only had an hour. I really didn't think I would see the Yellow-breasted Chat due to the wind, but decided to head there anyway to see if the Barred Owl could be found. I did some looking around and met up with a fellow birder so we decided to look for the bird together. Suddenly my eye goes to an area with brush, trees and fencing and I can see a lot of yellow so I zone in on it. The yellow screams chat to me but I am taken aback at how large the bird is compared to a warbler and uncertainty sets it. I excitedly direct the birder to its location as I try and get a better look at it.
There are a couple of people on a bench watching the whole scenario wondering who the crazy broad is with the camera as I sheepishly explain to them that there is a very special bird right behind their shoulder. They don't look at all impressed but they were kind enough to move to another location for us! Yes, I do admit to getting carried away at times but seriously, wouldn't you?
I never was able to get the killer shots I wanted as the wind would prove to be too strong for this bird for long-term perching but was happy just the same to see it.
After looking at the bird for a bit, it was off to work again. I walked back with a little more spring in my step as I was very happy to get not only one, but two life birds on my lunch hour. Will be going into Boston weekly for the next 2 months and suddenly it doesn't seem half bad to me. ;-)
My co-worker and I headed out one last time to scout for the owl as I wanted to bring my team out to see if but wanted to make sure it was there first. We never did see that particular owl, but I did see this one at Crate & Barrel!
After all of that intense birding I needed energy so we headed to Godiva for a fuel stop.
I decided to get myself a dark chocolate truffle and one of those nifty strawberry-banana kabobs you see above. All in all it was a fabulous day. Who knew city birding could be so exciting! Special thanks to Matt for all of the info you shared with me. Take care all!


madcobug said...

You got some great shots. That yellow one was such a brilliant yellow. LOL on the owl you saw. Better than nothing I say. Thanks for sharing your day and pictures. Helen

Robert Mortensen said...

Congrats on the Yellow-breasted Chat! It was my nemesis bird for a couple of years, but where I live now about two dozen of them are breeding pairs and are here all summer. Your little bird there is definitely lost. I can't wait to get some east coast birding in. Jessica and I hope to make a tour of our nations historical sites in PA and Mass. in the next year or so.

NCmountainwoman said...

Lucky you! You got some great shots of the chat and a great day in town.

Hilke Breder said...

Lovely photos, every one of them. I am really impressed. Did you get a new camera? Also congratulations on the Chat. I have yet to see one.

Kim said...

Thanks Helen! Yes that chat is certainly colorful which is very much appreciated this time of the year.

Robert, there are a bunch of places you should check out here in Massachusetts dependent on what time of the year you decide to come up, same thing with PA too. I complain about the weather and other things here, but the birding is fantastic and diverse so that makes up for it.

Thanks NC, Boston is actually a lot of fun and I have forgotten how much until recently.

Thanks Hilke, it's the same camera but I am taking pictures of easy targets (no longer flying hawks!) and my camera does pretty well with those types of things. Will be getting another camera soon but still having some analysis paralysis here and can't make up my mind.

Rich said...

You are funny. Pictures of Chocolate?
Must say they do look good though.

Glad you got to see some great birds.

Like your commentary.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I have just found your blog and will be following it.I like what I'm seeing and am looking forward to seeing birds and nature through your eyes.


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