Monday, August 20, 2012

Other Weekend Birding

I'd do more birding this weekend and set off to Notre Dame Cemetery in Worcester for another attempt for a Black-crowned Night-Heron.  I'd get there about an hour or so before dusk so had time to kill so did some birding as well as keeping my eyes on the sky for a hopeful Common Nighthawk.  The regulars would be around including the Mallards, two American Black Ducks, the Great Blue Heron and the always vocal Green Herons.

I'd also spend some time looking at some of the tomb stones which I often do when at a cemetery which really helps to put things into perspective whenever I find myself on the "pity pot".  It also serves as a reminder that life is short and precious so be sure to get out there and do things you enjoy and live life as much as you can.

The sun would start to set so so I went to the area the BCNH has been seen most and I'd have the two Mute Swans keeping me company.  Let me tell you, the Mute Swans are as big of a hit here as they are at Institute Park as I'd have two walkers asking me if I'd seen them as both were searching.  I'd point to them and they would smile with the same glint in the eye I get when I see I bird I love.  While I know the damage these invasive birds do to our native waterfowl, it's still nice to see non-birders search for birds as a way to connect to nature and one can hope it opens their minds to want to learn and see others.

I'd be at that spot for a full 40 minutes before I could hear one and be happy to get my bins on it for confirmation as it was getting pretty dark by then so didn't even bother taking a picture.  Seriously the hardest BCNH I've ever gotten considering I tried a few times this past week and the view I got of it wasn't nearly as good as what I'm used to so hoping they still show up at Institute Park for some much wanted photos.

On Sunday Alan and I would decide to bird some local spots with Brierly Pond being stop number one.

And all the birds would be out in the parking lot waiting for breakfast from the woman who lives across the street who loves these birds as if they were family.

Including Cottontail the Graylag Goose and its offspring the Graylag x Canada Goose (three in total).

There would also be Mallards nearby where one looked as if they had some American Black Duck in it as well so it looks as if Brierly continues to be a swinging place for waterfowl with an anything goes attitude and some very interesting looking birds. ;-)

We'd head out to Auburn after that to do some exploring at the spot Forbush goes to on the January 1st trip for ducks.  This is also the place a Least Bittern was reported a couple years back so we decided to walk along the path of the waters edge to see if we could find some prime bittern habitat.  While we never did see a Least, we did see a Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, the usual Mallards and quite a few Wood Duck's like the one above.

After that it would be a quick stop along Wachusett Reservoir hoping for a Black Tern or Bonaparte's Gull (I'm searching for a FOY Worcester County Herring Gull too believe it or not).  Sadly all would be quiet and the only gulls we'd get yet again were the Ring-billed Gulls right along side the Double-crested Cormorants.

After that it would be off to Sterling Peat to check on water levels and hopeful shorebirds and the first bird we'd see would be an Osprey soaring overhead.

And we'd also see water levels MUCH HIGHER than the last time.  In fact, the little stream has now turned into a little river as you can see in the photo above!

Sigh, well it was nice while it lasted.  We still have time for shorebird migration so lets hope some of it dries up again as all doesn't appear lost with plenty of mud banks still around but nowhere like before!

Shorebird activity would again be light with a few Least Sandpipers, Killdeer and a couple of Spotted Sandpipers.  Also check out the Least Sandpiper to the left.  I don't know what it is about Sunday's but this would be the 4th one in row where I get a bird that caused me to say hmmmmmmmm.....Alan and I would be studying this one for a while as we knew it was a Least, but it looked "off" to us.  From what we could gather it's probably a juvenile considering it's larger than the one on the right and also has a whiter throat, more gray than brown as well as the larger bill.  It made for a nice comparison between the two considering they were so close by we could see them well with just the bins.

Our last stop would be St Philips in hopes for a few of those Green Herons reported at Ricks site the day before.  We'd run into Dawn (be sure to check out her blog!) and explore various spots along the water and be very happy to count at least five Green Heron's which is a record number for me as the most I've ever gotten here were two I believe.  There would also be the regulars including the family of Mute Swan's, the Great Blue Herons and the Mallards and Wood Ducks of course.

Take care all.

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