I set on Sunday to do some birding and take advantage of the warm weather we've been blessed with. My main target bird for the day would be the Rusty Blackbird so headed to Bolton Flats where I thought I'd have the best chance of getting one. I'd get there early in hopes the various blackbirds would still be staged before they set off for the day.
Bird chatter would be quiet compared to the past two days which I found odd, but I could see quite a few sparrows when I first entered including my new pals the Swamp Sparrows and of course the many Song Sparrows that seem to be everywhere. I could see many sparrows on the path and one would catch my attention over the others so got my bins on it and it stumped me at first glance.
Out would come the camera for a lousy shot given the fact I was so far away from it in fear of scaring it off and after a few pictures and a few more looks with the binoculars I confirmed it as another immature White-crowned Sparrow. I tried to get a little closer to it for better pictures but some guy was leaving with his dog and baby in one of those baby slings which caused the bird to flee. I'd continue along the path and wonder what the heck that was all about as it was still early and the baby was wrapped in a blanket and conked out. I'm guessing walks around Bolton Flats calms the baby and induces relaxation and sleep and that's what the father wanted. Another potential Worcester County birder in the midst is my guess.
I'd make my way to where all the blackbirds were centered and attempt a quick scan with the binoculars which would be a challenge with many being hidden by leaf cover. I'd also use my ears which was also challenging because I had to distinguish between the many Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles in hopes for a Rusty and soon enough I thought I had it and was happy to see the bird was on a leafless snag.
Now this looks promising, I'd think as I took out my camera for a record shot. I'd switch back to the binoculars to get a better look at the iris and soon enough it would turn around and this is what I'd see.
A bird that I thought was a cross between a Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle. The tail had me all thrown off due to how large it was compared to the Red-winged as well as its overall shape.
Then came careful examination of the bill which appeared to be thicker at the base and longer than a Red-winged yet slightly de curved like a Common Grackle. The bird I had just identified as a Rusty was slowly turning into a Grackle so I searched around for other grackles for comparison and tried to remember how long the juvenile Grackles held onto their brown coloring as that's what it was starting to remind me of and would be kicking myself for not putting my Sibley's in my pocket for quick study.
I'd then get home and look at my pictures and started to re-ID the re-ID I did at Bolton and whip out all of my field guides to do some blackbird 101 and here is some of what I'd find:
I do have to say Bolton Flats is lovely when the sun first starts coming out. So much to see but I had other places to go so off I went.
Soon enough the Mergs would meet up with the Pied-billed Grebe who was actually moving around a little this time. The poor little grebe looked relieved to have some company and even followed them around for a bit. So sad to see him out there all by himself but happy to see he's moving as I was concerned about him this past Friday when I thought he could be a tree stump.
I'd finally make my way to the area above when suddenly "Whhooooosh", out would come the poor, startled Ruffed Grouse again!!! I would find my phone only 15 feet or so away from it. The little bird saved me with that one and I happily grabbed my phone and headed for the car. I was very happy with the grouse as they are usually a lucky "get" and I wasn't expecting it this year so I left Kristoff very happy with another FOY bird and my phone.