Saturday, April 3, 2010

Birding Saturday-SNOW GOOSE and other FOY Birds

Alan and I headed out bright and early today to take advantage of the warm weather as well as the various migration reports coming out that are showing a lot of bird activity headed our way so off we went go take advantage of both conditions.
Our first stop would be to Scar Hill Road to search for ducks and on our way through the cemetery, we could hear a very vocal Chipping Sparrow above giving his territorial call from high above the tree tops. FOY bird for me and one I have been looking for all week, hence going to as many cemeteries as I did so it was a great find.
After that it was onto Mile Hill Road where we bumped into Fran and we all searched Wachusett Reservoir in hopes for some birds with the Common Loon being on my top list as it was pretty clear the Red-throated decided not to stick around. Red-breasted Merganser would also be on the wish list but all three would be a "no go". We were lucky enough to spot a small flock of Greater Scaup and a Double-crested Cormorant (FOY Bird) though but I never did get pictures as it was too far away. We also saw our FOY Eastern Comma Butterfly while there.
After that it was onto Coachlace hoping the Lesser Scaup would still stick around but we weren't overly hopeful due to the fact that Fran reported seeing them all fly off due to the fact there was a boat in the water when he arrived. We would only see a very small flock of scaup in the water when we got there and were lucky in that two of them were Lesser like the one above. Another FOY bird for me so I was well on a roll here!
I really wanted to see the Pine Warbler Alan had seen on Friday so off we went to gate 37 at Wachusett Reservoir to see if we could see it. We decided to go to the water first as I had yet to get a Common Loon and that's just not right if you are at the reservoir so we were on a mission. I would finally get one, but it was a very distant scope shot and not worthy of a picture but I was happy just the same as it would be another first of the year bird.
After that it would be back to search for the warbler and the place was wonderfully peaceful and warm as we made our way around. We could hear the sound of what resembled a Pine Warbler so we decided to pick a spot and see if we could pish it out for a look. Alan came up with a genius idea on how to prevent warblers neck which is to literally lay down o the ground and look up!! A real fun way to look at them and easier on the neck which is a win/win situation in my book! ;-). We waited patiently as the call of the Pine Warbler came closer and closer and then suddenly.
It appeared and in a normal warbler fashion which is to only reveal your butt. Sigh, how much I have missed the butts of warblers!!! So cute! The binoculars came out as well, but the darn bird didn't want to stick around for long.
So off it flew to venture elsewhere. First of the year bird and first warbler of the year and a sweet one at that.
But that's not it folks. Nope, the fun had just begun as we decided to head to Bolton Flats to see what was there. The water levels were not nearly as high as they were before as you can see in the photo above where I am maneuvering my way toward the Flats from the parking lot. Whoever invented these boots deserves a medal of recognition in my opinion as they are rather nifty if I do say so myself!!
Not only can you go places for birds you can't go otherwise because of high waters, but they are a blast to use and a lot of fun to play in the water just as many of us did as kids with puddles but this time you can be even more adventurous as evidenced above!
While walking along the path to get to the T, we would see this Painted Turtle going by.
Next, it was onto a place right across from Bolton Flat which was the South side of Bolton Flats at the dirt pull off that is .4 miles west of the main parking lot on route 117 in case you want to go yourself. Alan and I were scoping some Ring-necked Ducks when suddenly I could see a rather large, white bird who somehow appeared suddenly and was inter mingled in with some Canada Geese. I automatically think leusistic Canada Goose and direct Alan to it as we sit there in agony because the darn goose didn't want to turn around so we could get a better look at it.
After much waiting it finally gives us a better look at its black wing tips to help alleviate some doubt that it was indeed a Snow Goose. Finally it flashed us it's grin ;-) and low and behold we had found a Snow Goose mixed in with the Canada Geese.
We watched it for a while as it would maneuver its way in and out of the corn stalks. After a while we decided to hit a local place nearby where Vesper Sparrows are known to be (no luck though) and then decided to head back to see if we could spot it again. There would be no geese at the water though because there were two people on kayaks and scared them all away. Talk about being at the right place at the right time. We dilly dallied at Bolton because it was so much fun walking in the water and because of that, we hit this spot about 20 minutes later than we originally would have which totally worked in our favor as you can see. A perfect day indeed.

Take care all!


Laurel said...

I like the waders!!!

Steve Borichevsky said...

I was pretty excited to see a Pine Warbler last Saturday, myself. Usually I see the butter butts first.

Abraham said...

Nice walkabout. LOL You looked so cool in the waders. And the snow goose looks good too. Was it in a cornfield?


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