Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wachusett Reservoir Gate 28 & Other Misc

I decided to head back to Gate 28 of Wachusett Reservoir this morning in another attempt at the Orchard Oriole.  I'd get there bright and early and while there was plenty of passerine activity, it would be obvious I'd bomb again so headed toward the water in hopes for a Bald Eagle.

Sure enough I'd get toward the water and spot a Belted Kingfisher and a few seconds afterwards I'd see that Bald Eagle.  It was cruising though so didn't do me the honors of sticking around for a decent shot so I had to settle for this.

I'd decide to hit the smaller ponds of water hoping for an American Black Duck but all that would be seen were a few Mallards.  The woods were so cool and shady though I decided to just walk with no goal in particular.

There'd be quite a few birds in the woods but would do most of it by ear.  I did stop for this Red-eyed Vireo though because I could tell it was close by and knew a quick pish would get it close enough for a picture and good look at it.

Whenever I'm exploring new trails I look for ones with snow shoe potential (if it ever snows again) and thought this one looked perfect as it's flat with deciduous trees which means plenty of sunshine in the winter when you really want that warmth. 

My new best friends are the sign markers with my history of getting lost.  I take pictures of them to remember where I've been in case I should lose my way.   This one came out cooler than the others with the sun that hit it just right.

After about 5 miles or so I'd head back and check out if any new birds were near the powerline area.  The Northern Flickers were all over the place and very vocal.  I'd be happy to see them all in a tree for a family photo.

And now for probably one of the most bizarre looking fledged American Robin's I've ever seen.  I'm so used to the fledglings looking plump due to being well fed.  Even it's proportions seemed out of whack to me.  I knew it was a Robin, but couldn't stop looking at it due to how out of ordinary it seemed to my eye.

And another considering I took so many pictures. :-p.  I think it's head looks to round and too small than what I'm used to seeing.

Seriously, if I saw this bird in my first year of birding I would have ID'd it as a Fieldfare.  Who says I haven't made progress!

While I never did get the Orchard Oriole, I had a nice long walk and saw some nice birds.  I like all of Wachusett but  think this is now my new favorite gate because you can walk so many different trails and hike for miles if you want which reminds me of Quabbin.

I'd head home with my eyes on the road but that of course also means occasionally looking up at the sky and nearby trees in case you spot something and windows rolled down should you hear something of interest.  I'd be in Boylston at this point and see a fairly good sized bird glide by and knew immediately it was neither a Turkey Vulture nor Red-tailed Hawk.  The sun was in my eyes so I couldn't get any color on it, but the one thing I noticed were the white wing tips as that's what first jumped out at me.  So of course I know I have to stop right then and there and see what it is as it could be my long awaited Black Vulture!  I'd look in my rearview mirror thankful no one was behind me and pull over to the side of the road with my hazzards on as I furiously looked for it with my binnoculars while in my car.  I would then do a You Turn and find a safe place to get out to see if I could see it better.  I'd see it glide by again but still couldn't see what it was but knew it wasn't a Black Vulture as it was flying far to quick.

I'd be hot on its tail and glad to see if flew into some nearby wetlands and there'd be a parking lot so I turn into it, get out of my car and then I'd hear it.  Tee Teeeeeeee...Hmmmmmm.....Another Broad-winged Hawk I see.  But is it???  I could hear the bird perched in some trees in an area I couldn't access so tried doing some squeeking to see if I could get it closer.  Suddenly one would fly to the sky and another would follow.

While I'd be happy to see more Broad-winged Hawks, I was somewhat disappointed I couldn't turn either of them in a Red-shouldered as I need that bird for the year. ;-)

Lousy shot but I liked it none the less as it reminds me of how I first saw the bird wile driving.  It's also similar to the Sibley diagram (page 103) of a BW in flight.

And last lousy shot but loved it as it looks like a Cooper's if you were to take a quick glance at it (white band in the middle is the biggest indication that it isn't).  Yup, flying raptors are challenging and that's why I love it so much!

After some lunch I'd head back out in the late afternoon and go to Martha Deering to check for a Red-shouldered which I know is pointless but still do this once a month.  I'd hike another two miles and get a couple of Veery's and Black-capped Chickadees with fledged young and that would be about it so I decided to check St Philips in Grafton for the Black-crowned Night Heron.

No BC, but the Great-blue Herons are still around and still haven't left the nest as you can see!

After a few minutes another parent would fly to the nest with food and then all hell broke lose as the juveniles all tried to get at it.

My favorite picture of them all.  So funny!

I'd also be happy to see the Green Heron nearby but not close enough for pictures like I used to get of them here.

After walking 7 miles in this heat today all I could think of were two things for dinner and that would be a cheesburger and beer so made a quick stop at Gorretti's and figured I'd give this a go considering I've tried just about everything else.  Love the name and the Rockabilly dame!

Its in the process of getting chilled as I type this but will give a full report on what I think with two being my limit of course! ;-)

Take care all.

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