Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend Birding-Making up for last spring!

I did a heavy weekend of birding with the nice weather we've been having so wanted to get out there and enjoy it all and see all the birds I didn't last spring when I was homeward bound and didn't chase.  This year it seems as if spring has released the birding beast in me as it's all I really want to do.  So many birds, so little time, especially when one works full time.  Saturday morning would be Bolton Flats just at dawn.  I chose that time for the American Bittern and I wouldn't be disappointed as I could hear him as soon as I got past the bend where the gnatcatchers like to hang out.  I'd spend some time looking for shorebirds and after a while I'd spot a couple of Greater Yellowlegs and couldn't make a Lesser out of either of them no matter how hard I tried.  I'd also see both the Spotted and Solitary Sandpiper as well as the Least and of course the very vocal Killdeer.  I'd drink my coffee and look around for hopes of the other two birds I went for which were the Sora and the Common Moorhen.  I'd strike out on both which was very frustrating but not surprising as I don't know where the Moorhen's usual hang out spot is but I was hoping I'd hear him but all was quiet.  After a very leisurely time at Bolton I'd head back and decide to scan the mud flats one more time and it would be there that I'd find one Semipalmated Plover to the way left of the flats.  I would have missed it completely if it weren't for a yellowlegs that decided to fly over there.  I'd spend about 5 minutes just watching it and making a mental playlist of behavior when suddenly another would fly near it and chase it off and both would be gone (I'd go home and read my Peter Dunne, Field Guide Companion and find out this we common behavior among these birds so it was a treat to witness.

Willow Flycatcher on the way out

It was still plenty early so I went to the other part of Bolton Flats (on the road that gets you to Oxbow) to see if I could get in that way as I wanted the Marsh Wrens and for the life of me I couldn't figure out where they'd be on the regular side (without waders), so was hoping for an entrance there, but I'd strike out on that too as the bridge was broken so it led to nowhere but what else is new. ;-).  I did run into this painted turtle making his way to water though.  Here he is giving me the hairy eyeball.

After a quick trip to Oxbow I decided to head to Pine Hill Road for the Vesper Sparrow.  The sun would be out in full force and I'd be reminded how toasty the place can get during mid day which is normally when I frequent the place!

The regulars would still be out and engaging in song, including the Field Sparrows, Prairie Warblers and of course the Eastern Towhees, including the very handsome male below who was getting out of the sun and just chilling in the shade.

 I'd get to the area the Vesper's are usually at and I'd hear its lovely song before even getting there.  Not only would the bird be singing but perched up.  I'd manage a couple of lousy shots and thought about getting closer but it was so hot out and the bird so happy, I didn't want to bother it and was happy with the binocular view as well as hearing it sing it's song.  I'd also get a FOY American Kestrel who was pretty high up in the sky.  The sun was so bright that it really showed off that lovely rufous coloring they have.

My last stop for the day would be Purgatory Chasm for the Red-breasted Nuthatch and realize it was a mistake as soon as I entered the parking lot which was jammed with people and mini grills and filled with spring fever.  I'd make my way to one of the places the nuthatch is known to hang out at, but all would be quiet.  I was figuring he and all the other birds couldn't take the zoo of people all around and headed further into the woods and I can't say that I blame them!  After that it would be the spot in Sutton for the Grasshopper Sparrow and they didn't disappoint and there wouldn't be a soul around which was nice after Purgatory!

Sunday would be Quabbin and I'd get there for 7.  The woods would be alive with song as soon as I got out of my car which is always a good sign.  It would be a chorus of warblers including the usuals and finally after a while my FOY Blackburnian which is one of the main reasons why I went there besides a good hike to burn off the ice cream and beer I've been consuming lately!

I'd be majing my way through a path and would see a bird that would catch my eye as it was on the ground and didn't fly when I was near and was thrilled to see that it would be my FOY Purple Finch.

Finally, a bird not high up in a tree and on the ground no less.  I'd take a series of pictures and then a wave of concern would wash over me as the bird was looking straight at me and not moving.  I'd inch up closer and finally off he would fly.  I'm thinking the poor guy is just depressed or something as he isn't as purple as the other males so is playing it single this spring.  None the less, I thought he was very handsome with such deep thought in those dark eyes!

I'd make my way here and there, being lost in thought and birds which is so me so decided to take pictures of some of the sign marks just in case I got lost which is also so me, but that's what makes it so fun sometimes.

I'd run into many birds along the way including a FOY Louisiana after about 6 miles of hiking seriously!  I'd also hear a couple of Wood Thrushes along the way which I thought was notable because I didn't remember which thrush Quabbin was known for (I'd also hear a Hermit on my way back to the car so I'm guessing both?).  No Swainson's which would have made it a complete set though. :0(

                                              Black-throated Blue Warbler along the way

After all of the hiking my legs would start aching so I'd look for a spot to eat an early lunch (my birding staple which is a cheese and yellow mustard sandwich on cheap bread, YUM!).  I'd find a small pond where all bird song would be quiet except for the blackbirds, so thought this would be the perfect spot.
    All of the other passerines would be around, but just chilling including this very mellow Great-crested Flycatcher.  It would take me a bit to realize what it was due to its fanned tail which I've never seen the bird do before.  This bird is known for being rather shy so appreciated the fact it didn't mind me gawking at it as it preened and enjoyed the day.

After a long hike back to where my car was parked I figured it was time to call it a day.  But first I wanted to make a couple stops along the way so I could save them as favorites in my GPS for future endeavors, including Winnamusett.

The place would be rather quiet except for some Bobolinks across the street and a flying killdeer over at the wetlands so I set off for my last destination of the day.

Which was Route 56 in Leicester overlooking Worcester Airport.  I'd get out of my car and my ears would be greeted with song from Bobolinks, FOY Eastern Meadowlarks and Savannah Sparrows.  The sun would be warm with a  slight breeze which made it even more intoxicating as the song was almost soothing after the loud chorus I had in the woods of Quabbin.  All in all a perfect weekend and sad it's ending.

Take care all

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails