Friday, April 30, 2010

A great way to end the month! More FOY Birds

I had the day off today so took off to do some birding w/ Alan as the weather was so nice and the winds had died down some so we were hoping we would get some first of the year birds, with warblers being on the top of our list. We would decide to head to Oxbow and of course we rubber necked some of the spots at Bolton Flats that could be seen on the way from route 117 and we would see this one lone Greater Yellowlegs in the middle of a very small body of water. I am really trying to focus some of my learning this year on shorebirds and have been reading up on the this bird in particular and have read they are often in deeper water than many of the other shorebirds which you can clearly see here as it is so submerged in water, you can't even see its yellow legs.
After that we would go to Oxbow and the first bird we would hear when we got out of the car would be a Warbling Vireo. I was very happy I knew the song once I heard it as last year I would always confuse this song with the House Finch but that would not be the case this morning, so I am hoping the mental cramp from last year is a thing of the past. FOY bird for me and a lot easier to see than the Blue-headed Vireos so I was able to get a lousy photo of one before it flew off across the path
We make our way around the paths and to an area the Northern Water Snakes are known to be at so took our time in the area hoping to see some, but there wouldn't be any today, but we did see this Great-blue Heron above. Not the best photo by any means but thought it was interesting due to that spot of blue you can see near its scapulars. Have never noticed that before today and not sure if its normal or not.
We would continue along the way and come across a few pockets of birds including the many Blue-gray Gnatcathers like the one above. A little further down the path we would come across our first pocket of warblers with all of them being the Yellow-rumps but then suddenly we would hear a different warbler song coming from the other side of the river which was indeed music to our ears as it hadn't been heard since last year and it would be that of the Northern Parula!!

At first we would hear a rather faint zeeeeeeeeeeee-yup and we would stop dead in our tracks and look at each other as recognition started to take hold but we weren't sure yet as we were not expecting it today. Alan would play the Ipod song of the bird to confirm it was in fact the parula song and that would draw the bird a little closer to us where not only would it sing its typical song, but its other song that sounds like Porky Pig singing his classic ah-bee ah-bee, ah-bee that's all folks!! He would do that song a couple of times and then switch back to his normal song with a few call note in between. The warbler would never make it close across our side of the river to get a visual on it, but there would be no mistake that it was a Northern Parula so it will be interesting to see how long it decides to stick around.
On our way back we would get another reminder that it is indeed spring as we saw this pair of Canada Geese crossing the path and entering the water with goslings in tow!
We would head back to Bolton because I really wanted to get a look at the Pectoral Sandpiper as I have been striking out on it and as soon as we got out of the car we would hear many Yellow Warblers like the one above. Such a fantastic bird to see and another FOY bird for me (should also note there was a Warbling Vireo here too)
When were first scanned the mudflats we would see no shorebirds, but soon enough some Greater Yellowlegs flew in and shortly after that we would see two Pectoral Sandpipers so I decided to try and digiscope one despite how far away it was. Another FOY for me and one I have wanted for over a week now so it was nice to finally get.
We would head to Barre Falls next hoping to finally get that Louisiana Waterthrush I couldn't get last weekend and while we never did get that bird, we did get our FOY Black-throated Green Warbler that I managed to get a lousy photo of. Seriously, I have forgotten how challenging getting decent photos of warblers can be because they are so darn small and too darn quick. Not to mention they like to be up high and now there are leaves on the trees so it makes it quite the challenge. Still nice to see because it's such a beautiful bird and another one of my favorite songs to hear when in the coniferous woods. We would also hear the unmistakable call of a Broad-winged Hawk in the locality and get a quick look at it as it flew somewhat low in the forest under story which was nice to see.
After that I would go home but take off on my own later in the evening. Not much to see but I did finally flush a Ruffed Grouse from Brierly after trying now for only the past couple of months so it was nice to finally get it there and then I would see this Eastern Towhee above in the midst of a tune at one of the local powerlines. There would also be some Yellow Warblers there too so I am guessing this weekend there will be more of them and other warblers which can't come soon enough for me.

Take care all


grosbeak21117 said...

The primary access trail along the east slope of Rattlesnake Hill on 5/1/10 in New Salem within Quabbin Reservation provided entertaining viewing of these hyperactive, wheezy-voiced little sprites! They're so much like miniature Mockingbirds!

Chris Ellison

Marc said...

Hey Kim,

I saw my first of year Eastern Kingbird today in a treetop along the rightside of the Shoppes "driveway".
Also, a few minutes later i observed what i believe were a pair of northern rough-winged swallows contemplating nesting in a drainpipe in the left side of the T-Mobile building. I would say odds are they'll find somewhere else. They are an adorable little bird though :). Finally, on thursday my wife and i spent some quality time with a brown creeper at eagle lake audubon sanctuary in Holden Ma. Have a good weekend!


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