Monday, August 27, 2012

Saturday Birding

I'd do little birding this weekend but did manage to get out on Saturday and decided to check out Bolton Flats as I still don't have a Sora, Northern Harrier or Wilson's Snipe so figured I'd head out there despite the low probability of getting the target birds.  The first birds I'd hear were the many Bobolinks in the tall grass where the shorebirds like to be during spring migration.  Sparrows would be out too in numerous numbers including many Song and Swamp Sparrows.  The picture above is of the "T" believe it or not!  Needless to say the place was pretty quiet otherwise so decided to get off at Exit 5 to see if there was anything of interest at Sterling Peat.

And the first bird to greet me would be a very graceful Great Egret.
Who would be not at all shy as I walked over to where it flew from to look at it some more and search for shorebirds.

There would be little fish everywhere all fighting for life in the small body of waters which made it a Heron Heaven and there would be one point where I'd see a juvenile Great Blue Heron, Green Heron and the Great Egret all in the same area so I could study them all in the same field of view which was nice.

The sun would be out too and a nearby Painted Turtle would be basking in the sunlight on a nice, warm rock so I decided to do the same and planted myself on a rock hoping the sandpipers would fly in close to me to get really good looks at them.  After some much patient waiting my theory would prove correct when I'd get about 9 small sandpipers nearby which allowed close study in hopes for a Semipalmated Sandpiper but all I could see where Least's.  I'd also see two small ducks nearby on the grass and something would spook them so I'd get a good look at their wings to confirm them as Green-winged Teal (there would be 4 in total).

Another highlight would be a Greater Yellowlegs who got used to me after a while so was brave enough to get closer to me for better study and pictures.

I'd spend a considerable amount of time observing it and make mental notes of its feeding habits which I've learned is a great way to ID shorebirds and this one wouldn't disappoint as it was very clumsy feeding style wise compared to the delicate and sometimes graceful Lesser Yellowlegs.

It's pictures like these that makes you realize why they are called yellowlegs!

I'd head home after that and do some light housework and then relax and watch a movie and then see a phone call from Kevin coming in and I knew that could only mean one thing.  A VERY  SOUGHT AFTER BIRD!  I'd call him back as I missed his original call and he'd casually tell me he got 7 Red-necked Phalaropes at Wachusett Reservoir!  I'd be in my jammies at this point as it was just that kind of day but got dressed really quick and called Alan as Kevin had called him too and Alan was heading out there too (he had the roof off to his shed as he was rebuilding it, but hell for a bird as awesome as this the roof could wait!) so off we went.  He'd be driving as I was looking at photos of the Phalarope on my Droid being an optimist but Alan had his doubts considering Kevin had them feeding with the gulls and then they all took off.

We'd make it to Gate 36 and be dismayed to see the entire area is now blocked off due to tree cutting (hoping its done before the Pipits come back!).  We'd take turns scanning with the scope as Alan told me some things I should know about the Phalarope in flight including the fact that the bird is roughly the size of a Robin and it would be then I'd realize why Alan was pessimistic as how the hell can you find birds the size of Robins flying over the Wachusett Reservoir when the viewing area is roped off seriously!  It's like finding a needle in a haystack when you think about it............

After realizing Gate 36 was not going to get us the bird, we headed to where Kevin had them with the gulls at Gate 8.  We'd see 4 Common Loon's nearby as well as a Spotted Sandpiper so held out hope as it was much birdier than gate 36.  After a while though we realized it was pointless as this point as the birds could be anywhere as we walked back to the car.  We'd be chitchatting and wonder if anyone else would get it and both of us would agree Bart would an needless to say he in fact did on Sunday which wouldn't surprise either of us (I should mention he also got a Common Merganser as well which is another bird I need).  Grrrrrrr....  ;-)

Oh well......This would be the first weekend in close to a month I wouldn't pick up any First of the Years but decided to lay low on Sunday as fall migration will be here soon enough and then I'll be birding like mad so took the time to just relax and chill.  Yes I'm looking forward to the ducks of course and would love to pick up a Tennessee Warbler and still need a Palm Warbler this year but the thing I'm looking forward to the most are sparrows.

With my favorite little friend the Lincoln's Sparrow being top of the list which remains one of my favorite birds of all time so am eagerly awaiting their arrival.

Take care all.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Toom bad you missed the phalaropes...such a great bird inland.


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