Sunday, May 9, 2010

Forbush Bird Club-Mount Auburn Cemetery

I joined Alan and his wife Kathy today for a Forbush Field Trip to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. The trip would again be led by Dan and he would have his work cut out for him as the trip leader due to the fierce winds that would blow throughout the cemetery which would keep the birds low and not singing much and when they did sing, the wind would distort things so you never could get a clear direction really to where their exact location was. Dan's super sharp ears and eyes worked overtime so we were able to pick up quite a few birds along the way until we spotted a congregation of birders all in one location (above) where the wind was subdued, the sun shone bright and the birds were drawn to it as much as we were as they don't like the wind anymore than we do!

There would be scores of birds all centered in one location including this female Black-and white Warbler above.
As well as an Eastern Kingbird perched up in a tree and surveying the scene. The highlight at that point would be some one finding a Orange-crowned Warber and the place beamed with excitement because they are not that common of a migrator in spring and most folks who are lucky enough to see them usually do so in the fall. The warbler appeared to take an intense liking to a bayberry tree and would tease us all with an occasional glimpse, but the glimpse I got was the best look yet I have ever gotten of this bird and despite it being somewhat drab compared to the other warblers out there, it is still quite the looker and even more so with my binoculars! There would also be a few other warblers clustered around this area including a Wilson's and at least two Blackpoll Warblers in a tree nearby that could be heard doing its high pitched seet notes. I would be lucky enough to see one fly by quickly and the thing I noticed the most in that very brief look would be how much one could mistaken the male for a chickadee at first blush.
Someone would point out a warbler low in a tree nearby so a few of us went to investigate and there before us was I think the cutest warbler I have ever laid my eyes upon because it was so close which allowed some incredible views with just the eyes and no other optics.
The warbler would be the Northern Parula and it would feast on caterpillar's and would pay no attention to its ever growing audience but would peek at us on occasion.
The bird would sing its song but do so almost in a whisper which made it even more adorable. The first thing I noticed overall about the warbler was how tiny it was so I looked in my guide and see that they are in fact smaller than most of the other warblers as they are 4.25 inches vs most of the 4.5 inches and up of the others so was happy to see I picked up on it because I am really trying to not only learn color field marks and songs, but overall shape, size, etc of the birds encounter this year.
This area would still be hopping as more folks came to try and get a glimpse of the Orange-crowned and some of the others and the funniest thing about it all was this dopey Mourning Dove who was on a tomb stone directly below where all of the warbler activity was. The dove would remain there the entire time and just take in the scene as it watched dozens of people with binoculars oohing and aahing as others took pictures and smiled. I am convinced the goofy dove thought he was the cause of all of the excitement and he would even change positions at times so we could get a look at his better profile. HA!
There would also be other warblers here including one I wanted to see today and while I got some incredible looks at it w/ my bins, I wouldn't be as fortunate w/ my camera. Anyone want to guess what it is just by its but shot??

Why it's a Magnolia Warbler of course! ;-). Such a stunning bird and one I hope to get in Worcester County if not this work week than during the Birdathon this weekend as you know I will be doing that!
After I left Alan and Kathy, I took off on my own in search for the Worcester County elusive Magnolia and I knew I had my work cut out for me with the wind, but I was still optimistic, especially considering I have to work this week so decided to make the best of things with the weather that was thrown at me today. I went to SuAsCo in Westborough and would only spend 1/2 an hour there as there was no escape from the wind as you can see if you look at the Yellow Warbler above who seems to have the wind blown look going on.
The warbler was a strong bloke for being so small which is something I totally admire ;-) and he battled the wind as he sang away to claim its territory to keep the other Yellow Warblers at bay.
I would head off to Brierly and find a great place that was sheltered from the wind where I would see/hear Chestnut-sided, American Redstarts, Common Yellowthroats, Blue-winged Warbles and even a singing Ovenbird, but not Magnolia which is now my official nemesis for the week.

Take care all.

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