Thursday, October 20, 2011

Birding Week of October 16th

Figured I'd give an update of sorts considering I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks and after my last extended vacation, I've vowed to at least blog every other week even if birding slows down due to life and other unavoidable things that leaves less time for blogging.

Anyhow, I decided to hit Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester this past Sunday, for no goal birds in particular, but rather a nice long hike to clear the mind and revisit some of the trails I used to call home late last year when I was doing a lot of trail running. My goal was to do the entire 8 mile loop but hike it this time vs. running it to see how I'd do.

Bird activity would be surprisingly quiet compared to the last time I was here when there were a lot of warblers, but the sparrows made up for it including the Song, White-throated and many Swamp Sparrows I saw in various places along the hike.

It's funny because I wasn't sure if I'd remember this loop since it's been close to a year since I've been there, but instinctively knew which way to go and then came to the trail above and stopped for some reflection. I looked at those rocks and remembered running them (even through snow) and the first thing that came to mind was my sanity as I was just asking for injury, but I think the potential danger was part of the fun and maybe some sort of mid life crisis I was going through as what woman in her 40's would be crazy enough to run that....Me of course! HA

And then came the ultimate test which where the power lines. I'd sit down and eat an apple and drink some water and stare at them remembering the runs and the endorphins and while I missed it somewhat, the thought of hiking them was just as appealing so off I went.

The wind was HORRIBLE so bird chatter was hard to get but was determined just the same. I'd get to the uphill of the powerlines and be searching aimlessly for my favorite friend and be dismayed he wasn't there to greet me like he always was.

And then I'd see him. My favorite trail running buddy, the Red-tailed Hawk. You see he and I had a little game going and I honestly believe he enjoyed it just as much as I did. I'd be huffing and puffing along the trail when suddenly I'd spot him. Off he would fly and I would follow until he was no where in sight so it was up to me to relocate which I always did. It was a game of sorts and made it all the more enjoyable and the same would be true of Sunday when I hiked up the hills. He would be waiting patiently a few hundred feet away and fly once I got close enough for a photo. Some things never change.

And then I'd get to an area I was hoping I'd remember and that is where I got my last life bird of the year last year which would be the very handsome Fox Sparrow. It wouldn't take me long to find the spot and do some pishing knowing he wouldn't appear but did it just for practice. Suddenly something did indeed appear long enough for me to ID it and take out the camera for a quick shot. It wouldn't be the Fox Sparrow of course, but this very curious Field Sparrow. Photo came out lousy and the poor thing looks like Igor but figured I'd share.

Another lousy shot and one I wish came out nicer as it would have been a pretty nifty photo.

And finally a shot of the oh so cute Wooly bear caterpillar. He was in the middle of the trail but figured it would be okay where it was as no one was there but me and with the winds I figured it would stay that way.

So in the end I did my 8 mile loop solely hiking it and enjoyed every minute of it. Can't wait to get back there in November for the Fox Sparrow!

After hearing about the Gadwall's Nickilas had found earlier this week and Alan's spotting of the American Coot, I figured I'd hit St Philips in Grafton after work today in hopes of both. The first and most welcome thing I'd notice is how many leaves are off the trees which makes views of the wetlands so much easier.

The next thing I'd notice were the 10 MUTE SWAN's and my heart would sink. Hmmmm..Last time I was there I saw only 6 and now 4 more. My experience with these birds is that they are bullies and harass our native waterfowl so wasn't happy to see them. The funny thing would be that they seemed to be in harmony with the many Mallards and Green-winged Teal who had no problems being close by. Funny getting a view of a teal and M Swan at the same time through the bins as the size comparison is dramatic. There would be at least 25 Green-winged Teal and they were feistier than I'm used to seeing as they fought amongst one another. Nancy had come for the Coot too and she and I watched them as they held their own amongst the larger ducks and swans and we were both very happy to hear their call as this would be a first for me when they were not in flight. So cute!

She and I would be there for a while with no Gadwall or Coot but both of us decided to stick it out as surely one or both were there but in hiding. It wouldn't take too long for me to spot the Gadwall only to have it go back into hiding much to my frustration. We decided to go to another area for the coot and when we came back all of the ducks were getting in roosting mode and it would be then when we would see both drake Gadwall's. Such handsome little creatures.

No coot of course, but will be back searching for them as I need them for my Worcester County list. And last but not least a shroom picture. You all know my love of shrooms and this one was too cool not to get a picture of. It reminds me of the shrooms from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Very neat.

Take care all

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