Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Walk Along Wachusett Reservoir

After the lousy week I've had the only thing that was keeping me sane was knowing the weekend would come soon enough so fantasized about how I was going to enjoy it and the first thought was the last leg of the Wapack trail which would be about 18 miles total (there and back) and with the rain and thunder in the afternoon, I knew that would be a "no go" as I had budgeted 8 to 9 hours and the rain was forecasted to start after noon so I had to think of a plan B real quick.  I'd go onto Rick's Site and do one of my favorite hobbies which is go through the archives over the years to see who got what bird wise at the end of July.  Suddenly thoughts of Great Egrets, Bonaparte's Gulls, Red-necked Phaloropes and Common Terns would dance before my eyes and knew Plan B would be Wachusett Reservoir just in case!

I'd start off at Gate 36 and knew I wanted to do it by foot as it's my favorite way to bird so off I went under still cloudy skies with a fog that made looking at anything in or over the water next to impossible.

Soon enough the skies would clear and the sun would be in a position to make both views and pictures half way decent including the Double-crested Cormorant above.

Getting read for take off to join the rest of the crew in Clinton.

There'd be quite a few other birds along the way including the Belted Kingfisher above.  It would be on a fence pole and really close which left me frozen once I realized what it is because I've NEVER been this close to a kingfisher before considering how shy they are.  Wouldn't you know by the time I turned my camera on the little bugger would flee the scene and all I could manage was a lousy photo in flight.  This has been a nemesis photo bird of mine since early 2009 so I take this personally!  ;-)

There'd also be a couple shorebirds around including some vocal Killdeer and two Spotted Sandpipers including the one above.

I'd be happy to see the nest boxes along the walk were being utilized and one being vacated by a very vocal House Wren.

And the other some Eastern Bluebirds who appeared to be feeding young.

Very funny looking bird plumage wise at this angle.

I'd again be reminded just how tame the wild life is along the Wachusett Reservoir as I was treated to one of the best looks I've ever gotten of Wild Turkey's (besides Quabbin in Belchertown) as you can see above.

Another photo.  Yes they have a face only a mother could love, but their plumage more than makes up for it.

And speaking of tame birds, the Canada Geese would also be out in full force taking a walk and enjoying the morning themselves.

I'd see a runner approaching so kept my camera on just in case I could get a decent flight shot.  The geese of course wouldn't budge until she started yelling "I"M APPROACHING....MOVE", the geese didn't move so she'd scream louder and finally they'd slowly veer to the side.

I'd give them a nicer reception and would even smile at them while taking their picture which they seemed to appreciate!

There'd be various passerines along the fence post including some Tree Swallows, Chipping Sparrows and the always handsome and photogenic Cedar Waxwings.

Even in flight these birds are stunners!

I'd finally make it to the Clinton Dam, look for Kevin's Mallards and head back toward gate 36.

Where I'd be treated to one of the highlights of the day which would be this doe above.

Along with her fawn not far behind.

Love this picture because it looks like its smiling.  So cute!

Another action shot and want to point out its still smiling!

And away they go!  The tamest deer I've ever encountered.  They'd be running near the rail trail and be passing runners and walkers who didn't seem at all phased by this so I'm guessing they're regulars as well as the people who use the rail trail for exercise and recreation.

On my walk I could hear two Common Loon's but was disappointed I didn't see any so was thrilled to see a close up juvenile nearby.

Let me tell you the size of the juve threw me off some considering how small they were during the Forbush trip just two short weeks ago.

I'd stop here for a bit to take advantage of the close view as I really wanted to get a feel for its overall behavior and really wanted to see it dive.  What would be funny is the bird at first seemed hesitant to do a complete dive.  In fact, it would dunk its head under water similar to how a young child first learns how to swim which was funny to see.

 It would also take some time to do some preening  and just loafing around.  Soon enough a flock of Canada Geese would land by and the loon would head toward them, why I don't know.  Finally the bird decided to get brave enough for a dive so I watched to see where it would end up.

Which would be the same area it dove from!  This would be the other highlight of the day for me besides the deer of course.

I'd finally make me way toward gate 36 and hear a chip note I'd never head before so decided to investigate and this is what I'd see.

A drab, brownish bird so the 1st thing that comes to mind is American Pipit but I doubted it due to the time of year.  The second thought was a juvenile Eastern Meadowlark, but wouldn't find any adults nearby to confirm this as I don't know the juves of this type of bird.  It would finally take to flight and the first thing I'd notice was the white sides of the tail which I found interesting and made sure to note it as it was something I'd never really paid much attention to in an Eastern Meadowlark.  I'd get home and get my picture up on my screen along side my Sibley's and sure enough this is a juve meadowlark.  I'm really loving seeing the juveniles this year as it's really helping me learn as they often look nothing like their parents which I learned today.  I also had no idea what their chip note sounded like and found it interesting considering how beautiful and complex their song is.

Example of the call I heard

So all in all I'd get in about a 5 mile leisurely walk and see many birds and other signs of wild life which was the perfect way to end the week.  Seriously if your'e looking for a nice walk to do that's not too difficult I suggest giving it a try.  This would be the first time I'd walk this entire section and will be something I'll be doing again because it was very relaxing and enjoyable which is just what I needed today.

Take care all

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails