Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday ends with a Bang-Sunday a Whimper

The early bird gets the worm, at least that's what they say and I've always believed it considering I'm more of a morning person than a night owl so would be dismayed Saturday night when I saw the Lion's Club buggy nailing up no parking signs across the street from where I live as that could only mean one thing, FIREWORKS.  What the hell, I'd think 4th of July is still a couple weeks away.  I'd ask my kids if they had any inside info on what was going on and my youngest would say something about setting up a stage for music and fireworks for someones birthday. I wasn't sure if he was putting me on as he's known to do that but that would change when I saw Tim next door gathering wood for his fire pit while his wife arranged the tiki lights around it in a circle.  Shit I'd think....People, and not just people but drunk, happy people.  I'd go over and ask Tim's wife what all the fuss was about and she'd say something about Millbury being 200 years old so the town was having a celebration.  Being a history buff, I'd be impressed with the anniversary but then she'd tell me it wouldn't be official until next year but this was the kickoff for the year long celebration.  Figures...If there's one thing people in my town love to do, it would be partying hands down (going out for ice cream being number two of course).  They say Clinton is the booze capital of the state as they have more bars per square mile than any other, but I beg to differ every summer when it seems half the residents are drunk.  Tim would walk by with the red,white and blue tablecloth and invite me to join them for the festivities as they were going to have a party and to be sure to bring beer.  But of course. HA

Anyhow, I was tempted to take them up on their offer but wound up geeking out on Xeno Canto and before I knew it the fireworks had started (can someone say anti social bird nerd).  I do have to say they were rather enjoyable as it was pretty low key so there wasn't nearly as much traffic or people as the 4th of July which is always welcome.  I do wonder about the birds during them though, especially the Chimney Swifts who roost nearby from where the town sets them off.  Do the fireworks wake them up and if so are they startled?  Do the adults remember them from last year so don't pay any attention to them and what about the fledglings who are just getting a glimpse of the world they were born into?  Inquiring minds want to know but will never get an answer.  Anyhow, come 11 or so I decided to hit the hay.  Tim would be pretty happy by then and could hear him repeatedly shout "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MILLBURY" much to the kids delight so I got up, shut the windows and put my fan on high and close to my head and before you knew it, I was out like a light which was nice as Tim's parties have been known to keep me up half the night due to the noise. (must have been due to all that beer and Barbecue!)

  I'd decide to sleep late this morning (late being 7 o'clock) and was on the South Main trails by 8 and be greeted by my friend the hare. I'm convinced its getting used to my presence as it isn't nearly as skittish then when I first ran into it and now flees when I'm only about twenty feet away from him.

The Yellow Warblers would be their usual selves and chipper as ever including the one above.

Until next time my friend!

And the highlight of my time here would be this recently fledged Common Yellowthroat who looked at me with the same level of curiosity as I gave it.  I'm guessing I may be the first person its laid its eyes on so I'm hoping I made a good impression. So sweet!

Next it would be a quick Dunkin's run for some much needed coffee and a brief stop at St Philips thinking maybe I'd luck out and get a FOY Black-crowned Night Heron but no such luck, the Mute Swans are still there though!

After a couple of other quick stops I'd head to Bicentennial Park in Sutton which is a place I discovered recently.  Not really birdy per say but wanted a place to sit and drink my coffee and this seemed like the perfect place..

And have plenty of entertainment as I sat on the picnic table taking in the day.  This my friends is a male House Sparrow taking a dust bath.  They would do this fairly close to me so was able to see how much these birds really enjoy it. Very interesting to see and amusing to say the least.

Another highlight would be spotting this Eastern Phoebe with a bill full of something (what I don't know).

But the main reason why I went there was to try and get some halfway decent shots of a Northern Rough-winged Swallow and last time I was there there were plenty.

Just as they would be today.  Such sweet little birds when sitting still.
This will now be my place for my FOY Northern Rough-winged as not only are they everywhere but used to people so easy to see as you can see. ;-)

I'd decide to hit one more place and that would be a spot I found a couple years ago that has displaying American Woodcock right off Route 122A
And who would be there to greet me but this very handsome Red-tailed Hawk. I was stoked to get such a good shot of that gorgeous tail its known for.

And away it goes!

All of the regulars would be out including this male Common Yellowthroat looking as handsome as ever.

I'd make my way toward the river and see a lone Eastern Kingbird on a line but he wouldn't be for long as a brazen Northern Mockingbird decided to let him know whose the boss in this part of town.  Knowing the behavior of both species of bird I had a feeling this could get interesting.

The mockingbird would size up its opponent who seemed oblivious to the threat as it was busy preening and basically ignoring the menace.  The European Starlings and Brown-headed Cowbirds decided to flee but not too far away as they too wanted to see the Western showdown.  I don't know who they had their bets placed on but I put it on the Mockingbird as I've seen one in action in my own yard and every bird around keeps a respectable distance.  The mockingbird would make the first move as it flew above in an attempt to divebomb the kingbird.  The kingbird didn't miss a beat as it too took to flight and chase the mockingbird.  The mockingbird then flew again above the kingbird but in one swoop the kingbird would gain the upper hand and land on the mockingbird which forced the mocker to dive down (picture one of those kamakazee airplanes).  The humiliated mockingbird took off across the river as the kingbird regained its spot  and acting as if nothing ever happened.

And there he is, the tyrant and king of cool. Will place all my bets on the Eastern Kingbird going forward and now understand why the Red-tailed yesterday was so traumatized.

Now it's rest time and getting ready for the work week.  Having a cup of tea and a bit of toast before calling it a night which is more my speed than fireworks and beer, I'll save that for Tim.

Take care all.

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