Sunday, August 8, 2010

Birding Sterling Peat

I decided to head up to Sterling Peat this morning to meet up with Alan who was already there and Dave arrived at roughly the same time so off we went to find Alan to see what he had spotted. The path has become rather over grown since the last time I was there which wasn't that long ago.
The one thing that did change was the colors as the glorious Goldenrod that is all over Sterling Peat greeted us in its amazing beauty. I love goldenrod because when I see it, the first thing I think of are Sparrows which is something I am so looking forward to this fall besides raptors of course!!
Speaking of raptors, we would see one adult Red-tailed Hawk teed up on the heron tree and surveying the day. When we met up with Alan, we would all see a juvenile flying by. We would also see not one but TWO Great Egrets which was fantastic as it is a first of the year for me. The curse of the Ring-necked Pheasant appears to be broken as I got a Yellow-billed Cuckoo on Tuesday morning during an early morning trail run.

I had woken up extra early that morning after hearing the news about Chris and couldn't get back to sleep so figured I would run the local powerlines to clear my mind. I was totally focused on the sound of my feet hitting the path and while I was aware of the birds around me greeting the day, they didn't register until I heard a noise I had heard many times on Alan's Ipod which was none other than the cuckoo! I stopped dead in my tracks and just listened. It was a beautiful sound and uplifted my spirits some as in a way it reminded me of Chris. You see, I had taken audio of a sound in the woods that sounded like a YB cuckoo to me, but I knew that it wasn't but found it odd enough to record it and put it up on my YouTube page. Chris was a loyal viewer of my blog, Facebook and YouTube and he replied back to me that the sound I heard was that of a rodent (aka menacing chipmunk!), which I knew even though I longed for it to be the cuckoo. I found it fitting that I would hear the real deal that Tuesday morning as my heavy feet marched in step with my heavy heart. Rest in peace Chris, you will be very missed.
While at Sterling Peat this morning, we would also see a couple of Lesser Yellowlegs including the one above who was caught in the midst of a blink, so cute! This was digiscoped with Alan's scope and I had forgotten what good photos you can get with it, especially shore birds. How I miss taking pictures!
Another photo that was not digiscoped.
There would be plenty of other birds around including a few Killdeer, quite a few Least Sandpipers, some Great-blue Herons (1 a juve), a Green Heron and a Double-crested Cormorant. All of these birds were like a feast for the eyes after the long days of July where birds have been devoid it seems.
And with bird activity continuing to be slow, I am still getting out to do some mountain biking and trail running of course. A friend and I did a nice 4 mile run in Upton yesterday and I did it with my Vibrams which was so much fun.
Except when you get to trails like this! You see those rocks?? Well lets just say they can be hell when running with the five fingers because the soles to the shoes are so thin, you feel every rock against your feet as you pound the ground in the midst of a run (think death by a thousand cuts here). Anyhow, I ran as much of it as I could and then hiked the rest as an elderly couple walked past with their dog. The dog decided to greet us in a way every dog greets people on a trail which is full of gusto so the couple comes to get the dog, and their eyes are not on the dog, but on my feet. :-o. Anyhow, much to my friend horror, they asked what I had on my feet, and I explained to them the benefits of barefoot running and how people in Kenya and the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico all run barefoot and they are the fastest runners in the world and blah, blah blah. They looked interested, but not sure if it was genuine or if they were thinking of a way to get away from the crazy lady as fast as they could. ;-). On another note, I did see someone walking with them in Boston on Wednesday so perhaps they are catching on???!!! ;-)

Take care all.


Larry said...

It was fitting to come across a Yellow billed Cuckoo. I know he enjoyed checking out everyones blog and would many times mention my blog when we would meet up face to face.

J. Andrew Boyle said...

Instead of 'overgrown' I would think, 'beautiful'!

Interesting to read posts of different areas of the country. Great Egrets are all over here all of the time and I enjoy seeing folks enjoying the sightings of 'common' birds for us being exciting to others.

We wait for your local birds to grace us for a few months a year!


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