I decided to attend the Forbush Wachusett Reservoir Field trip Sunday which was led by Kevin but decided to hit a couple of places earlier in the morning as it was a noon time trip. The first stop would be Sterling Peat where there wouldn't be much, but did manage to flush 4 Green-winged Teal and three Hooded Mergs which was nice and of course the Pied-billed Grebe is still around and I also found a Gray Catbird which has been rare recently so thought it was note worthy. After that I'd hit Kristoff where there would be sparrows and butter butts everywhere but not much else.
I'd finally meet up with club members where we would once again see tons of Yellow-rumped Warblers and this lone Common Loon above.
It would then be off to Sterling Peat in hopes for the Teal and Mergs but alas, there would be a few kayaks around which appeared to have scared the birds away.
Next it would be off to West Waushacum Pond in search for the Ruddy Duck's which were birds I was really looking forward to seeing so was hoping they'd still be around.
And to every one's relief they would be as there would be no one on boats here, just ducks.
We would also see 2 American Wigeon at the Quag which is always a treat. The foliage is really starting to peek and with the crisp weather we had, it would be a reminder of what's to come soon enough much to my sorrow.
After that it would be the Sterling Rail Trail in hopes for some Rusty Blackbirds. We would again be inundated with the many Yellow-rumped Warblers everywhere which was starting to get annoying but they did lead us to pockets of other birds including one with both Kinglets and lone Hermit Thrush which is a welcome addition to the list.
The Sterling Rail Trail is a really cool place with water on both sides of it that dabbling ducks really seem to enjoy so throughout the walk Forbush members would discover many Mallards, a lone American Black Duck and a striking drake Wood Duck decked out in its glorious plumage.
But alas, no Rusty's were to be found much to our disappointment.
But we did manage to get quite a few Red-winged Blackbirds like the silhouette photo of the one above. So funny to see this common bird now because I realize I will start eagerly awaiting its return next March when the winter blues will be in full swing and any hints of what's to come will be most welcoming.
Next it would be Wachusett Reservoir-Gate 36 in hopes for some Sea Ducks! We'd notice quite a few Common Loon's here as well as some Horned Grebe which was a nice addition as it would be a FOY for me. While others scanned the waters, I'd have my bins nearby in search for an American Pipit which I haven't seen this year so was hoping I'd have some luck. Kevin would have his scope on a lone bird that would be too far to get a positive ID on from this gate so we moved onto gate 37 to see if we could see it better there.
The view would be just as lousy here, but we would get more grebes, loons, etc so it would be off to Gate 39 as this was officially driving our trip leader nuts so off we went.
It was starting to get a little late at this point so we'd see the many Ring-billed Gulls pass by on way to their roosting site but this area would be flush with birds including a dozen Surf Scoters which would be a welcome surprise. This spot would also allow a better view of the lone sea duck which would turn out to be a single female White-winged Scoter so in the end, she did us a big favor as we may not have stopped at Gate 39 if she hadn't been so far away so thank you miss wherever you are tonight. ;0).
Our last stop would be Coachlace for the Scaup which are always a given here and I was thrilled because it's another bird I don't have for the year. The problem would be there would be nothing around and the pond would be bare. We desperately scanned the empty waters hoping for a miracle but it would never happen much to my dismay as it means another trip to Coachlace for me in the near future, but I was very happy with the 5 FOY birds I got on the trip so I was hardly complaining.
After a long afternoon of birding Kevin would drop me off at my car and I have to drive by Gate 28 to get home and I'd see a jeep I thought looked like his. Nah, I thought....Maybe I should stop just in case........I looked at the water while driving and the thought of the hot chili awaiting for me in the crock pot took hold and figured it was someone else's jeep so headed home. I'd check my Facebook and yes it was Kevin and he was looking for those dang scaup and never did find them but did manage to spot an impressive number of Black Scoters and some Red-necked Grebes. @$&&@@!!!!!!! Lesson learned, always follow your gut. No scaup there either as they were probably on their way back to Coachlace, little buggers.
So in the end I managed to bird an entire 8 hours which is the longest I've gone all year and thought it would wipe me out, but didn't. In fact, I went home in a fabulous mood and didn't even yell at the kids for leaving dishes in the sink. They told me I should do it more often and I believe they may be onto something so it's a win/win for everyone. ;-)
Take care all