Sunday, July 11, 2010

Birding in Sterling....Well.....Kind of

I did some birding this morning with Alan today in Sterling.......All though once may question whether it was birding or not per say now that July is in full swing and the birds have gotten very quiet, but we figured it wouldn't do any harm to check out Sterling Peat to check on water levels in hope for mud which would mean shore birds in the next weeks to come.

All would be quiet except for the regulars who call Sterling Peat their summer residence. The only shorebirds we would see would be one Least Sandpiper, a Spotted Sandpiper and a few Killdeer doing their call as they flew away from us in indignation.
After that it would be Kristoff Pig Farm in Sterling which we discovered a month or so ago, when we were doing the bird census for DCR. This pig farm is abandoned with a ton of over grown brush which makes things very "birdy" and looks like the perfect place for sparrows in the fall so you know we will be sure to get back there this fall. Anyhow, we were hoping for some cuckoo's in here but all we would hear would be the familiar birds that one hears this time of the year. The best thing about it is the diverse habitat if you feel like walking for a while which is always nice because you get a better variety of birds.

DCR doesn't have the funding to tear down the existing barns and above is a picture of one. Very cool and we were hoping to see some bats in there but that was a 'no go".

So there you have it all. Birding in Central Massachusetts in the middle of summer......... At least I knew about it before hand, not like last year when I was so new and the fact that birds took summer siestas was foreign to me.

Now I know it just goes with the time of the year and I find other things to do like my running, hiking as well as a new sport I tried yesterday for the first time which was mountain biking. I went to a bike trail called Vietnam in Milford with a friend who was nice enough to find me a loaner to see if I would like it or not. I used to own a bike and bike the bike trail and local roads, but something about a mountain bike has intrigued me for the past couple of years so I wanted to try it out for myself and my friend was nice enough to grab his sisters for me to give it a test drive if you will. Needless to say it was a lot of fun, but killer on the legs which are still tight today, but all in all I really enjoyed it and hope to do it again soon. Who knows, maybe I will even get one for next year and then watch out all of you birders because I will be coming right at you on a bike. Hows that for a scary thought. ;-). Take care all

Monday, July 5, 2010

Birding Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs

I did some birding with Alan today and headed off to Quabbin Reservoir hoping to see the reported Caspian Tern's that have been spotted there recently. I would have my old camera with me as I am having problems loading photos from my regular camera onto my computer. I took a bunch of photos with my backup camera which is horrible to begin with, and I come home to upload them and those won't upload either so now I think there is something wrong with my computer vs my cameras which means trouble shooting which I hate. Anyhow, enough woe is me. I had to get creative and use photos from my visit this November here as well as some of Alan's. The photo above is of the reservoir this past November.
Photo by Alan Marple ;-)

Alan and I headed off toward the water and would see and hear quite a few birds which was nice as I have been doing some birding on my own, but not blogging due to no camera, but I haven't done any woodland birding lately so it was really nice to hear the various warblers including Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Ovenbirds and of course the Veery's and Hermit Thrush. We would also see a few butterflies and other insects like this Atlantic Bluet Damselfly.
As well as this nifty photo Alan took of a Bull Frog and I never tire of seeing frogs so it was nice to see him on display. We would finally get to the water and scan around the area with the phragmites for about 20 minutes or so. We wouldn't see any sign of the terns which was a bummer because if we got it we wanted to see it cross on the Worcester County line vs the Franklin County line but we were not having any luck so ventured further into Franklin County hoping for better luck there. We would spend an additional 20 minutes there and be unsuccessful.
Photo from this past November

I would be desperate at this point because I haven't gotten a new bird in well over a month now and saw a bird in the water that I wanted to bad to be a Red-breasted Merganser even though I know they are not back yet, so I would tell Alan to take a look at it and of course it isn't a merg, but I was desperate and wanted it to be one and while it looked like a male loon, it very well could have been a male merganser with the funny hair do it looked like it had from afar. Needless to say, it was the Common Loon of course, and I would have to accept the fact that the Ring-necked Pheasant will be on my eBird list as last bird seen for at least another week. :-p. I am now convinced the pheasant is an omen of some sort and am thinking of either getting the pheasant out of the way first thing next year around local hunting sites hoping some survived ;-) or not counting them at all, because the curse is getting old!

Despite not seeing the terns it was nice to get out and do some birding around Quabbin and see the other signs of nature including this very pretty Water Lilly Alan got a photo of.

We would decide to head toward Clinton and one of the gates of Wachusett Reservoir hoping to see the Yellow-billed Cuckoo Donna and Bart saw last week and while we would hear plenty of birds along the way, we never did get the cuckoo, so once again I was cursed by the Pheasant!

To add insult to injury, I would come back from swimming at a friends house this afternoon and Alan would send me an email letting me know that both Caspian Terns were spotted today along the Quabbin Reservoir and in the morning no less, which is when we were there! I am telling you its a curse all, and it has to be broken so look out this weekend. I just don't know where we will find any new birds because they are getting a little harder to find, but it's fun to try it none the less!

Take care all.


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