Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Birding Here and There But it Works!

I have been doing some birding here and there with it being May and so have to get creative with work so try and sneak in some sessions here and there until I get some much needed vacation time this month that I am using just for birding of course! Anyhow, I decided to hit a local powerline yesterday after work and would be trying to locate a singing Rose-breasted Grosbeak who enjoyed playing a good game of hide and go seek with me as every time I would get close to the darn bird that I would attempt to locate by ear, off it would fly to another location just to have me chase it again. I would be scanning the tree tops, with my binoculars, when suddenly I could hear a very hearty Crreeeeep!, right behind my shoulder and low and behold was a FOY Great crested Flycathcher.
The bird would stick around long enough for me to attempt one half way decent shot, before it flew off as I took a pathetic flight shot, but liked it in that it really shows off that rich yellow it has on its belly as well as the cinnamon tail. Great looking bird and one I was happy to get while the grosbeak taunted me.
I would finally get a quick look at the grosbeak as it flew off to another branch and was headed off to the area where the Prairie Warblers are known to be, when suddenly I would see the Osprey above overhead. This is the 2nd sighting I have had of an Osprey in Millbury in the past six weeks or so and I know Marc, one of my readers of this blog has seen them in town too, so it's nice to see they have become regular visitors lately.
I would finally make my way to the Prairie Warblers who threw me off at 1st as both them and the Field Sparrows were in the same exact location, and singing at the same time, so my ears and mind were trying to absorb it all. I would finally spot the warbler with my eyes and then my binnoculars where I watched it for a while and then attempted a lousy shot. I have noticed the past week or so, I am favoring my bins more than my camera so my pictures seem to be suffering the consequences, but the warblers just look so much better with the bins that I can't seem to help myself.
I would suffer the same fate with one of many Blue-winged Warblers I would see last evening as well. One interesting note was that I was trail running on Monday morning and would hear a Blue-winged singing one of its alternate songs with was its typical bee buzz (or as I call it beer buzz), but only with an extra buzz thrown in (picture beer buzz buzz ;-) )..
I would head out bright and early again this morning with the sole intention of running of course and figured I would just bring the bins and camera just in case of course. The problem was that the birds were all singing and I wound up walking a lot more than running (another thing that has been happening more frequently lately). Anyhow, I would get another Great crested Flycatcher, another Prarie Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, etc. I would be in an area looking at all of the Yellow Warblers chasing each other when suddenly a bird I had never seen before flew in right near the warbler. I would take out my bins and stare at it and immediately take out the camera for a record shot as I still had no idea what it was.
The picture quality would be poor due to the sun just starting to shine and the fact that I was rushed in getting a pic before it flew off so this is the best I would get. I would later find out it was a 1st summer Orchard Oriole when I looked at my field guide while eating breakfast. I never would have guessed this as I didn't even know orioles had first summer plumage. Seriously folks, as if birding isn't confusing enough as it is, now this! :-p. Very happy to get this bird and within walking distance from my house which is my favorite place to find birds as it's more special because it's closer to home!
I would dilly dally for a while as it was obvious running would be out of the question, but would see this Yellow Warbler perched on a power tower which I thought was funny as it was singing away.
Alan would shoot me a daily email to tell me what birds he got while I was busy slaving away on yet another spreadsheet and of course, he has some doozy's, like a Dunlin, Bank Swallow and Least Sandpiper (all birds I don't have yet of course), so I decided to take off at lunch because I just couldn't stare at Excel and Rock Pigeons anymore, so off I went to Institute Park to see if I could spot any Least Sandpipers there as they are rather common when the mud is right. As I was making my way I would see a Common Grackle and decided to take its picture solely because I knew it would be good, especially compared to some of the doozys I have been putting on my blog lately.
Anyhow, I would get to the mud flats and the 1st thing I would notice was the dead Mute Swan. Now I don't llike Mute Swans that much as many of you know, but seeing this swan really bothered me, so I had to position myself in such a way that I didn't have to see it while doing my birding. I would see some Killdeer as well as another bird that appeared to be a relatively smaller (but not too much) than the Killdeer and my gut would tell me Solitary Sandpiper, but I would immediately discount it due to the dark legs I thought I saw. I didn't have my scope with me, to get a good look at it, and I am not not good enough to be able to ID distant shore birds with my bins, so I think perhaps Semipalmated even though the size was completely off. I emailed Rick and he would confirm that it was a Solitary. Alan would later tell me not to go by leg color on shorebirds as it can be misleading due to mud on legs which makes them look darker than they are which makes sense so lesson learned and its obvious I can't bird for shorebirds without a scope for the time being as they are still all so confusing to me.

With that said, it looks as if I am going to have to start brining my scope to work now that there is mud at Institute as I find shore birding to be the perfect thing to do at lunch because it relaxes me and clears my mind. Just wish someone would move the darn swan that's all! :-p
I still wouldn't get my shorebird fix so off I went with Alan to Bolton for the Dunlin. We would be scanning the waters and there would be a TON of waterfowl including many Green-winged Teal, Mallards, and a couple of Wood Ducks thrown in for good measure. Alan would spot an American Wigeon and then I would spot this drake Blue-winged Teal. It was funny for a couple of reasons. One being the waters are quite dry now, so they would all be cramped together which made for some really good birding, but just odd to see them like that. Two, I vividly remember the wild goose chase Alan and I had in getting the Blue-winged Teal and that everyone else seemed to get the darn bird besides us, so wouldn't you know, we would spot one as easy as we did after we froze our a**es off this early spring trying to get it! HA

We would finally get the one lone Dunlin as well as some Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and a Solitary Sandpiper. I would also see a Bank Swallow flying overhead with its dark necklace and its notched tail (which I was psyched I could see). All in all a great way to end an evening.

Take care all

1 comment:

Hilke Breder said...

Kim, your birding days sound like mine: lots of birds glimpsed and heard but impossible to catch with a camera. They are just too fast. Anyway I enjoy reading about your adventures.


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