Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Birding Bolton Flats & Dexter Drumlin

Alan and I did a little birding this afternoon, north of Worcester with one of our first destinations being Bolton Flats as I had yet to experience the flooding there and I was just a tad curious on what the conditions would be like and whether or not my boots would hold up to the challenge, plus we wanted to see what was there for water fowl and as you can see in the picture above, the place was rather flooded, but not to worry I got over to the other side just fine, just don't ask how. :-p
But before we went to Bolton, we made another stop in a flooded out area to search for ducks and while there were dozens of Canada Geese and Green-winged Teal, the bird of the hour would be the largest flock of Common Grackles I have ever seen.
As you can see in the photo above. Most of them were grackles but there were a couple of Red-winged Blackbirds mixed into the flock. They made such a noise that it was deafening on the ears but still nice after the winter silence we have had.
And then it was onto Bolton Flats to check out what was there and the main bird would be the many Green-winged Teal we were able to see (210 in total).
As well some Bufflehead here and there like the female above and some Ring-necked Ducks.
But the highlight the American Wigeon's I would finally add to my 2010 list like the drake above.
And just an example of what the conditions were like, I present you this picture. Here is Alan hoping to get a Blue-winged Teal out of the bunch, but alas, it just wasn't in the cards today, but I did think this made a nice picture!
Despite the flooding, it was nice to get back to Bolton Flats which remains one of my favorite places to bird in the state as its natural beauty is always nice to see, high waters and all.
On our way to Dexter Drumlin, we came to a muddy area that would be perfect for snipe so made a brief stop where we saw two Red-tailed Hawks
As well as quite a few Eastern Bluebirds who appeared to be feeding on something on top of corn stalks. I could see something flying in the sky until it proceeded to land on a tree directly near the sun and one of the things that caused my radar to go on was the shape of the bird as well as the tinges of orange I could barely make out. It proceeded to take off and fly in a falcon like manner which allowed Alan and I to get a look at it to confirm it as an American Kestrel! Another bird to add to the list this year and a sweet one at that!
While we would see no snipe, we left happy and glad we made the stop and will be certain to get back there at some point to check things out a little more because it was a productive stop indeed. As we made out way up the hill at Drumlin, I was totally taken aback at how different it looked since the last time I was there as it appears the entire place has been plowed, but it did make for a nice picture with the hints of green grass we saw. Such a pretty place that will full of Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows in the summer.
There would be no Bobolinks or Savannah Sparrows today, but there were quite a few gulls which we would soon find out. As we made out way down the hill we would see a familiar site which was none other than Bart himself. We were happy to see him and very hopeful he would have done the dirty work for us and gotten on a good bird and he didn't disappoint as..................
Bart had spotted a Bonaparte's Gull!!!! Even better it appeared to be in breeding plumage which meant it would be the first time I would see this bird in its glory. I am not going to ruin it for you and tell you where the gull is, you will just have to figure that out on your own, but lets just say, he is resting as he must be exhausted from all of that travel up north.
As we were leaving, the gulls suddenly took to the air and we would soon find out why as one lone Sharp-shinned Hawk was battling the wind above. Now I have seen Sharpies fighting against the wind, but nothing like what I saw today. Very interesting to watch and just proves that even the tiniest of creatures can be fierce under extreme conditions as this hawk was holding its own.
Our last stop would be Coachlace where we saw a few Greater Scaup. The picture is lousy, but the sun was horrible which was a bummer as Bart had seen a Pied-billed Grebe here earlier and we were hoping to spot it ourselves but never did. Perhaps it flew off or maybe we just never saw it due to the glaring sun and fierce winds which caused the waters to be very rough today.

Take care all.


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Sounds and looks like a productive day.All those Green-winged Teal and I have yet to get a decent picture of one.That is my goal for this summer,get that Teal.Oh well,I know that what I want and what I get are often very far apart.

Renee said...

I love the picture of the Grackle flock - it's like poetry in motion! Sounds like a great day to me!

Susan W. said...

You see SO MANY SPECIES every time you go birding!I don't even see what you see, never mind getting photos. Would you two please join my team for birdathon this year? I know Tom and I will have nothing but chickadees and mallards if we are on our own. I'm scared to death already!

Larry said...

Cool looking area.I like seeing huge flocks of birds like blackbirds and grackles-nice photos
and the type of place i'd like to visit.

Kim said...

Hey there Susan. Which Audubon do you do the Birdathon for? We are doing ours for Broad Meadow Brook in our immediate area I believe. Where are you going to be doing yours?


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