Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bolton Flats-Sandhill Crane & Others

In keeping with my solemn vow to blog whenever a bird of interest comes my way, I'm happy to announce my second blog post for the year!  It all started this morning when I was at Butler Farms hoping for a Cape May Warbler (Hey you never know afters yesterday's Bay-breasted!).  All would be quiet as I watched the sky for raptors and listened to the Bobolinks when suddenly my cell phone would ring and it would be Alan telling me Bart found a Sandhill Crane at Bolton Flats.  Suddenly the visions of the Cape May dissapeared as I headed to Bolton Flats in hopes for it as it's a bird that's been on my must see list for the past three years (that and a Worcester County Cattle Egret, just so you'll know ;-) 

I'd get there and the place would be swinging as birds from all direction would be busy in song with the Yellow Warbler winning the showdown just as it always does at Bolton Flats this time of the year.  It wouldn't take me long to hear the others including a Blue-gray gnatcatcher (FOY), and a FOY Willow Flycather as well.  I'd scan the mud flats and corn field in hopes for the crane with no success but did find a couple Greater Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper which somewhat compensated for my disspointment as they too would be FOY.  Another highlight would be two drake Green-winged Teal landing into the nearby water as well as two Northern Shovelers (both FOY).

Pardon the crappy shoveler record shot, but let me tell you the binocular view I got was fabulous!  I don't think I ever really appreciated the beauty of that duck until today as I had so much time to kill waiting for the crane that it gave me time to just drink the bird in and appreciate it.  Another highlight would be the Acadian Flycatcher Bart had posted about yesterday.  I hadn't really given it much thought thinking it was probably migrating and long gone, but the little bugger was there and decided to have some fun at my expense.  I'd hear it's piercing keet call and forget about the crane as I tried pishing it out with camera ready.  After about 3 minutes with no bird or no call back I'd give up and go back to the crane and that's when it would make it's call again, just to screw with my head (this went on for about 5 minutes).  I didn't have it in the parking lot but about 1/3rd into the corn fields if any of you are searching for it.  Just be patient as it's not that vocal and can go minutes at a time without calling again which is why I didn't bother with an audio record. 

After about a 1/2 hour or so I was thinking of calling it a day when I could hear what I thought was the Viginia Rail so I tried to pish it out.  Suddenly I'd hear it's familiar Three Stooges call and watch it dart by quickly and indignant of my greeting.  I'd try pishing it again and do my own three stooges call which is pretty bad, but the gullible rail bought it hook, line and sinker and replied back to me but wouldn't do me the honors of showing it's face again.  I'd turn my head back to the corn fields and who would be naked eye view and fairly close but the Sandhill Crane of course!!
I'd stare at  frozen for a minute as I contemplated whether or not I should first get my record shot, or savor it  with my bins.  I'd also wonder how long it was there and whether or not it was watching me make an idiot of myself with my three stooges call as I'm sure that would be a first for him when it comes to encounters with the human species!
The camera would win due to the fact it's a pretty quick walker and it was headed toward the tall corn, so figured I'd get some half way decent photos while I still had the chance. 

 But the bird was in no hurry which gave me the chance to not only get some good pics, but savor it with the bins as well.  Sigh, such a fabulous bird.  I watched it for a while as it foraged for food and was struck by how graceful it is given it's size.  Such a treat and was glad Bart found it but what else is new as he seems to have luck that I get once a year if I'm lucky.

Take care all

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