Saturday, October 22, 2011

Red-headed Woodpecker Westborough Success

I headed out to the Westborough Commuter Rail station this morning after seeing Nickilas's posting of finding a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker there on Rick's site. I was glad it was spotted here as it's a spot I've often wondered about when I take the train into Boston as the train passes by Sueasco and a whole host of other areas that always appeared "birdy" to me so figured this would be the perfect opportunity to do some discovery.

I parked in the commuter rail parking lot and looked around with no sign of the Red-headed Woodpecker so decided to do some exploring and it wouldn't take me long to run into Bruce who was there for the same reason. We'd join forces in search for the bird and decided to think like a woodpecker so off we went to search the many dead tree snags that are all over the general area.

And Bruce would also introduce me to the areas I'd often wondered about as I depressingly sat on the train headed to work only to wish I were outside instead, but this time I would be!

We stopped at a place to try and get pics of a Sharp-shinned Hawk sitting on a pole and of course the little bugger would fly away before the cameras could even be turned on but were rewarded with two Common Ravens nearby who were calling and flying around like the one above.

And we'd also check out a closed bridge that offered great views of the train station and the trains going by as you can see. I was so happy I wasn't on that thing!

Anyhow, it would be sporadic with not much happening although I do want to note we relocated the sharpie who was actually chasing after a Belted Kingfisher and both were in flight which was fascinating to see as I'd never seen a sharpie engage in that type of behaviour before so it was a treat to see. The kingfisher escaped unharmed and the sharpie went off to pursue easier targets I'm guessing.

After a little more exploring I started getting a little concerned about my car being parked at the train station as I didn't pay my $4.00 fee so decided to get it and bring it to the small gravel parking lot Bruce had his at. We exchanged cell phone numbers and made a deal that if he found the woodpecker he'd contact me and vice versa. I'd be on my way to the car lost in thoughts of my coffee sitting so lonely in my little cup holder in the car and I was wondering if it was still hot when suddenly I snap back to reality when I see a bird fairly close almost behaving in a creeper like fashion. No......It can't be, I think as this would be far too easy.....Out comes the bins for confirmation and then out comes the camera for a quick record shot.

SCORE!!!!! OMG, I think. Must get Bruce here before the bird flies away...I shut off my camera and start running toward his general location as I knew shouting for him would scare the bird away and desperate times called for desperate measures and yes my PT told me no more running but heck this was an emergency. I'd be running frantically while keeping my bins and camera close with my arms so all I'd be using were my legs and figured I looked like one of the Peanut characters and was using totally wrong form but hey, I'm not supposed to be running anyway so who cares!!! Bruce sees me running and he starts running toward me with his "honkin" camera, lens and tripod and neither of us are talking but now using hand signals and head nods to communicate where the woodpecker is.

The bird showed us some mercy and stayed on that pole long enough for Bruce to set his camera up and then it would fly across the street and onto another pole for a better look and better pictures. FYI: Bruce has a much better photo that can be found here.

So there you have it-SUCCESS! HA! What would be funny is after the thrill of the chase was over with I realized all I needed to do was call Bruce and tell him I got the bird as that's why we exchanged numbers in the first place, but I was so thrilled to get it, I lost my common sense and was happy I got gotten a little endorphin kick so it's all water under the bridge at this point. ;-)

After that we'd explore more and he would show me all kind of nifty places nearby that offers great views of the reservoir and other birdy places including an area where we would see over 25 Mute Swans ( OMG), quite a few Mallards and 16 American Coot like the ones below.

And speaking of American Coot, I finally got the ones Alan had spotted at St Philips last evening and was happy I did. The photo came out as lousy as the ones I got of them today, but thought it was kind of neat and almost reminds me of a painting so figured I'd share as I've never been one to shy away from using lousy shots if that's all I have.

Take care all


Larry said...

It's always interesting to check out new areas-and you found the Red-headed Woodpecker-congratulations!

Kim said...

Thanks Larry! Love that bird so happy I got it


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