Thursday, March 18, 2010

Birding Here and There-Thursday

I decided to head out to do some birding at lunch today and went to the New Swedish Cemetery in Worcester in hopes of getting an American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal and believe it or not, a Belted Kingfisher as I have yet to see one this year.
As soon as I got out of my car I could see a few of the teal as you can see in the lousy picture above. No sooner had I taken 4 steps in their direction they decided to take off in a panic just like always.
I continued to walk around the pond for other water fowl and managed to scare some Wood Ducks down below who flew off in a hurry just as the teal did a few minutes before that. I had forgotten how challenging birding for ducks could be. ;-). While I never did see neither the Wigeons nor the Kingfisher, I did see some pretty decent birds including both the Common and Hooded Mergansers, scores of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles and a Red-tailed Hawk who soared the skies from above.
Before I left, I had to check out the brushy area of the cemetery to search for sparrows. Now these birds are more to my liking as they are easy to pish and very entertaining to watch. I sat there for about 15 minutes and watched a pair of Song Sparrows chase after each other chirping about in outrage trying to defend their turf. One would finally manage to land on a branch, make its territorial call, and then the other would go after it to knock it off the branch as he thought of it as his own.
The winds were strong today, but this Song Sparrow perched there defiantly against the wind and all of the other sparrows who are thinking of making this pad their own. I am putting my bets on the sparrow above. Just look at the determination it its eyes. Seriously, Song Sparrows are under rated as I can watch them all day because you can learn a lot about bird behavior from these little guys.
As I left the Swedish Cemetery, I made my way past Notre Dame and could see there was a funeral car line starting and I didn't want to get in the middle of it so decided to take advantage of the inconvenience and park there for more sparrows. There would be no sparrows or any water birds that I could see, but I didn't stay there long as I only get an hour for lunch and had a meeting so off I went.
I got out of work and immediately put on some birding attire and grabbed my binoculars and camera as like I said, the Belted Kingfisher was still on my list of must haves this week. I go to the Millbury Cemetery and take a quick glance toward the river and this is what I see. Hmmmmmmm.....I think, as it drive by slowly. That almost looks like a Great Egret I think.......The odds of this are quite low considering the time of year, but decide to pull over anyhow........I take a quick picture as confusion starts to arise as it really isn't shaped like a Great Egret but more like a Snowy.... I take one more picture and then get out the binoculars as sometimes I like to still try and figure out what a bird is with my naked eye or camera before the bins as it keeps me sharp...... Not sharp enough obviously as what you see is some kind of sack that got stuck on a twig in the river. HA!!! I had to laugh at myself as this cemetery is the same place I thought I had a Great Egret last year. Sometimes one never learns. ;-)
After that I decided to try the Millbury Bike Path for some Double-crested Cormorants (again, a bird I don't have this year. The place was mobbed and I can't relax and get into birding when its like that so just did a quick glance over near the river on Route 146 and then ran back to my car trying to escape all of the happy folks with spring fever. While on my way to St Philips Cemetery in Grafton I saw a familiar site from last year which were a half dozen or so Turkey Vultures on the Turkey Vulture tree as I now call it.
I got out of my car and watched and was so happy at that moment to see them back. I know people think TV's are ugly creatures, but I am not one of them. Such beautiful flyers they are. I went to St Philips and couldn't believe I would not see the seasonal Belted Kingfisher there either!!! Grrrrrrrrrr............ Have to be strategic this weekend and the one place I know there is one is the bike path so logically I should go there, but don't do well with the crowds........ Also hoping I can get the Bufflehead this weekend too as I saw my first one in Millbury around the 20th of March last year, so hoping that's another bird I can get. I had forgotten how much fun birding can be up until the past few days and am starting to get the fever again, so the birds better cooperate!
After that, it was a quick stop to Gorettis Market for some weekend staples. There was a family there feeding the Mallards so I stopped to get a couple of photos. Love the photo above as it shows the hint of bluish-purple on this drakes plumage that can sometimes not be seen.
Also liked this picture of the female Mallard because of the gray on her bill which was not like the other females I would see on the river.
Like this one for example. Anyhow, it's nice to get out birding again and just what the doctor ordered.

Take care all!


Richard said...

Why do I always get a picture of you sneeking around and hiding behind headstones to get your pictures..:-)

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I enjoyed this birding adventure.You had me guessing with that bag,sure does look like a bird.Hope you have many more great birding adventures.

Mary said...

That's a great pic of a Song Sparrow, Kim. I agree with your TV sentiments.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great birding adventure.

matthew houskeeper said...

Glad to see you are taking advantage of this great weather.


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