Sunday, November 7, 2010

Broad Meadow Brook Sunday

I decided to trail run Broad Meadow Brook this morning and would arrive just as day light started to break. The air would be downright chilly as I got out of the car and would be greeted by bird chatter that seemed to be everywhere. I'd try and focus on one call I was hoping for and that would be the Pine Siskin as I listened to it this morning over and over while getting ready considering I'm rather rusty on it so knew I needed some practice. Alas, I wouldn't get one but did see the regulars including a Northern Mockingbird chasing a male Northern Cardinal, and quite a few White-breasted Nuthatches like the one above.Since the air was so cold, the camera went into my bag and off I went on my trail run to warm up. It would be a little under a mile that I'd start getting hot and off would come a layer and I would hear many American Goldfinches so I'd stop the Garmin and do some pishing hoping a Pine Siskin would be part of the flock but it would once again be a no go.
The Mallards would be around including the handsome drake above back in his usual handsome plumage and there would be a Cooper's Hawk nearby perched in a tree but it would flee before I had the opportunity to get my camera on it.
Talk about a hike! I had to go back that way too!

I'd finally make my way to the powerline trail in a sort of running trance as there was no one around so was in my own little world. The wind would start to pick up as there were no longer trees to shelter me from it and my eyes would water and nose numb as I looked straight ahead and picked up the pace so I could get back into the woods and away from the wind assault. I could hear some bird chatter to the right of me as I mentally told myself what it was and it would be the usual White-throated Sparrows and a little further up would be the Dark-eyed Juncos, but then I'd hear something that would cause me to do an abrupt stop (while running downhill mind you!) as this note call warranted some further investigation!

The Garmin would stop and the camera start as I'd do some pishing to try and get the bird out of hiding. The pishing would be all wrong due to me still being a tad out of breath so I sounded more like I as having an asthma attack vs. being a threatening creature, but the wheezing seemed to do the trick as the little bird in question would fly out of the brush along with the Juncos and make its way to a nearby tree. I was at a serious disadvantage here because my bins were in my car but could pick up on the bird being a good one due to the rust it had which could be seen even in flight. Hmmmmmmm....A Wood Thrush I would think as my eyes scanned for it on the nearby tree. It can't be as surely they have all moved on by now.

I'd get my camera on it, take a picture and look at it with my naked eye and my heart would skip a beat as the first thing I thought of was Fox Sparrow. Performance anxiety would start to rear it's ugly head as the first picture was lousy and I needed a good picture for positive ID as I continued to click and hope the bird decided to stick around some.
And the bird would indeed be kind enough to do me the honors. Sigh, such a great bird and one I've been trying to get for the past two years now but have never been at the right place at the right time until today. Funny in that I had thought about not even doing the powerline trail today but then told myself I had to as I wanted to get over 6 miles and this would help so I guess it paid off in the end. And this is a life bird for me too to boot so it was a great way to start the week. November has been pretty darn good to me considering I'm not twitching for birds and it's only November 7th and I have already gotten 2 lifers! Hoping the streak continues.

Take care all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fish Crows-Price Chopper-Worcester

I did my weekly grocery shopping at Price Chopper today and always park near the back as that's where the gulls are so it gives me something to look forward to as grocery shopping is just down right painful so the birds make it less severe. Anyhow, I would get out of my car and see a crow that was acting funny by which I mean goofy and unlike an American Crow who carry themselves in a more dignified manner. It would be on top of the Wendy's sign trying to shake off its wet plumage from the morning rain and I was struck by how small it was. Hmmmmm, I thought as I entered the grocery store, what a weird looking crow. I would head back to the car with groceries in tow and sure enough there would be a couple of other crows in the area and I glanced at them and started loading up the car. I'd be lost in thought and putting away the groceries when suddenly I could hear one of the crows make a noise that made me stop dead in my tracks and try and find the bird through the call. It wouldn't take me long to find it and then it all started to make sense to me on why the crow I saw a half hour before caught my attention.

I'd immediately whip out my driod and send an email to Alan telling him I had some small crows making funny noises and hoped he was home so he could get over there to confirm as I have no experience with Fish Crows so wouldn't be comfortable enough to make that call on my own.

By the time I got home, put the groceries away and washed the floors, Alan would email be back and tell me he heard them as well, saw the size difference and was able to confirm they were in fact Fish Crows.
I would decide to head back there with my camera for some photos as well as video (and audio) and hope they were still around. Before leaving the house I would pack up a bag with bread and crackers just in case it would be needed of course as I know it's never good to feed the gulls, but desperate times call for desperate measures and this would be one of them!

Anyhow, I got there and threw out some white bread and flocks of Ring-billed Gulls swarmed me hoping for a piece for themselves. My cheeks would start to turn crimson as shoppers couldn't help but notice the spectacle or the noise, but I have gotten used to this by now and besides, I wanted to get a better look at those Fish Crows!
Soon enough, one would come over to investigate and two more would follow.
The first time our eyes meet. Sigh, such a cute little bird and not at all like the American Crows in that they are not at all shy. This one was only a few feet away from me at times.
No those are not bread crumbs you see near its bill, it's dandruff. Tee Hee

Anyhow, to not disappoint, I did get some video as you will see below.

The first one is good in that it shows you the size difference between the Fish Crows and the Ring-billed Gulls. Please disregard the baby talk you hear as I just can't help myself when it comes to birds. In fact, I believe this is why some come as close as they do, seriously!

The second one is where you can vaguely hear one at the end. OMG, I was so losing patience at this point as I had been there well over 1/2 an hour and was running out of goodies and it would be lunch hour which would mean Wendy's next door would be packed so I was the center of attention for everyone going through the drive through for lunch and I was getting rather tired of the stares and dirty looks! HA.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share as it's not that often we get Fish Crows here in Worcester County! If you are interested in seeing them for yourself they are at the Price Chopper in Worcester right off of Route 20. If you google "Price Chopper, Worcester, Fair", you should get exact directions to make it a little easier to find. They seem to like it most over at Wendy's and the Trailer Park so just keep you eyes AND most importantly you ears open!

Take care all.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

York Maine, October

I decided to head to York, Maine this weekend to visit with my mom as this would be the 1st time I would head to York this late in the year and was curious on what would be there. The gulls would be at their usual spots and as tame as ever so I took some pictures of them during my run on Friday. This Ring-billed Gull was in the midst of preening itself as the strong wind blew its feathers back. There were actually a couple of gulls that looked as if they went through a clothes dryer as their feathers were all over the place from the strong winds and they were funny to look at.
There would also be quite a few Herring Gulls as always and a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls too. Should note that on Saturday, I saw a gull when I was on the deck to the house that looked like a Lesser Black-backed Gull. I would put my bins on it and it had the dark gray back it is known for (to me it's back colors are in between a Herring and a Great Black-backed) which always makes me do a double take as its very noticeable. It would be deep in the water and all by itself so I never was able to see it's legs so not sure but the bird stood out to me none the less.
Also saw the guy in the picture above surfing with his kite. He would use the kite to carry him around the waters and he would go really fast at times as if was very windy. I had never seen that before and thought it was really cool!
The beach roses seem to be dying off everyday, but still pretty none the less.
Other signs of fall.
Some of the beach roses still remain though as you can see.
I think this is hands down my favorite bee picture I have ever taken. Check out the honey bee giving me the "hairy eyeball" as I take its picture. So cute!! Seriously, I have never thought of a bee as cute until I saw this. HA!
The cormorants would be migrating the entire time I as there in flocks as small as a dozen and as large as a flock of 40 or so.
My mother and I spent a lot of time walking and I decided to finally go into the quaint little church they have for some pictures of the stained glass windows which are so pretty when the sun hits them just right.
Folks who live there year round and already in Halloween mode with decorations, so had to get a picture of the vulture above. What do you think TV?? ;-)
Cloe is still around as you can see as she is a year round dog.
The owners store will close soon so we decided to go in one last time for the season to see what he had. Loved the Wood Duck above.
As well as the cute little owls of course!
This morning would be my last day in York so I went for a nice bike ride along the nubble and the beach. Common Eiders could be seen as well as all of the gulls and the flocks of cormorants all headed south. I stopped to get the picture above just a little after sunrise.
Another area I stopped at because it was so pretty.
The Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere and I had forgotten how easy they are to pish until I called one in after only 3 seconds of half assed pishing because I was on a busy street with people walking past so didn't want to do a loud pish as they would have all thought I was a freak or something. ;-)
All in all a great way to spend Columbus Day weekend and can't wait to get back up there again next April.

Take care all.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekend Birds and Other Nature Finds

I did some trail running this weekend and finally figured out a way to carry my camera as well as only a few other essential items in my pack which will still allow me to run fast, but have instant access to my necessities and I realize that my camera is in fact a necessity so sacrifice a water for the camera instead and so far so good.
Anyhow, yesterday was just gorgeous weather wise and I would do almost 12 miles of running in total which allowed for plenty of areas to explore and some of them new to me which is always nice when you have your camera near by.
Leaves are now all over the trail and I stopped for some water and decided to get a macro photo of some of the leaves.
I would stop at an area as I had a gut feeling birds would like the spot due to the sunshine and sure enough there would be about 12 American Robins mixed in with a couple of Dark-eyed Junco and this lone Palm Warbler. I tried pishing it more so it would stick around for a better photo but it wanted to part of that.
Cool fungi shot taken from a log that was in the middle of the path that I almost tripped over.
Another cool shroom picture.
I would finally come to an open field hoping the Common Ravens I kept hearing while running in the woods would be around but I wouldn't see them. I did see the last of the clover still attempting to hang one for one last day or two.
There would be Eastern Phoebes everywhere on Saturday. I stopped for each and everyone of them because soon enough, I will miss them terribly.
I finally made my way to another part of the trail that I had never been to before and it would connect to a nearby powerline and it would be here that I could hear those Common Ravens again. I looked up to the sky and there would be four of them. Hoping they are the young from the nest of the other nearby powerlines because if they are then they all survived.
Another shroom picture as I just can't help myself.
Sunday would be another powerline trail run and this time only 3 miles as I was feeling it from yesterdays longer run. The weather would be a depressing 45 degrees and it would be pretty quiet.
The fall colors here though were gorgeous.

There would be pockets of birds here and there and it was nice to see this White-throated Sparrow. Also note worthy is that the first year Song Sparrows were out in this area all trying to sing their song and messing it up mid verse which always makes me laugh. Such funny little birds!
Bumble bee shot.
This bee would be part of a group of about 6 or so who were all clustered amongst the Goldenrod. Not sure what they were doing but they almost seemed to be still in an effort to conserve body heat with the temps as low as they were. I felt bad for them as I know its only going to get worse, but it did make for some nice photos though.
While I wouldn't feel overly motivated to run, this Cooper's Hawk helped to put a little spring in my step for a while. Almost looks as if it has a full crop here but not sure.
A couple of Blue Jays were giving chase to the Coops as I gave chase to them both which is always fun to do.
Flowers going to seed after a nice, long summer.
Take care all.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Boston Bound

I had to get up bright and early to work in Boston today and was hoping Post Office Square would have a stray migrant or two hanging around and making a fuel stop. I'd be disappointed when all I would see were a couple of common House Sparrows and that would be it. No European Starlings, no Rock Pigeons, heck, not even a lousy Ring-billed Gull!
Who were all over at South Station as that's the place to be in the morning because breakfast time means bagel time and muffin time and quite often that means crumbs or even massive droppage by morning commuters and the gulls are there to serve as the clean up crew. It's a tough job but someone has to do it!
The only highlight would be lunch which is always a highlight of any trip I take to Boston. Let's face it, downtown Worcester has a total of 12 takeout joints near by and all serve the same thing, so 99% of the time I brown bag it. Brown bagging it in Boston would almost seem criminal as it has a takeout joint every two buildings with food choices as diverse as the people who work there. Today would be Indian and I had a really yummy meal with Naan Bread of course because what would Indian take out be without this nifty stuff. If you've never had it before you have to try it. Even if you think Indian food is too spicy for you, this stuff is great and I could have easily eaten three pieces of it so was glad we decided to eat it in the office vs the restaurant itself because I would have done some massive damage!

Take care all.


Related Posts with Thumbnails