Alan and I did some birding today with our 1st stop being the Barre Landfill in hopes for the Black Vultures again.
And once again, I'd strike out on the bird which now makes the Black Vulture nemesis number one on my birding list because I'm never lucky enough to see one. It would still be nice to get out there though and train the eyes to search for one but now I'm even more curious to see one alongside the TV's to see how easy it will be for me to distinguish between the two.
After that it would be Sterling Peat where we'd see the Great Egret that's been reported which was nice as it was a Worcester County FOY for both Alan and I.
After a while it flew off and toward the area where the Merlin's like to be most to shoot the sh*t with a Great Blue Heron who wasn't in a talkative mood from what we could gather. That didn't stop the Egret though in attempting to initiate idle chit chat! ;-)
There'd be some shorebirds around as well including this very handsome Solitary Sandpiper above as well as a fair amount of Least Sandpipers, the Spotted Sandpiper pair and MANY Killdeer (the highest number I believe we've ever gotten there which was 16 in total!). Alan would have his bins on a bird which looked of interest so he'd get his scope on it and we'd soon find out it was a Pectoral Sandpiper which made me very happy as it was an unexpected FOY!
Not the best digiscoped photo but liked it as you can see its yellowish legs, corduroy bib, sturdy build and the slightly decurved bill which are all field marks to look out for so it was nice to see it through the scope to try and imprint it into my memory considering I don't see them as often as I'd like.
After the scope view we'd do more scanning around and then I wanted to relocate the Pectoral myself to see if I could do it so would remember my imprint on how I remembered the bird which was a large Least Sandpiper with a darker bib and be very happy to succeed. Of course it did help as the bird was near a Solitary Sandpiper and Killdeer for size comparison which is another thing I've learned really helps to ID shorebirds when they're in groups. Such a treat but no Lesser Yellowlegs that we could see so I'm still on the hunt for that.
On our way out we'd stop to watch a Green Heron actively hunting and be happy to see it catch a very large kipper. The bird would re adjust it some and swallow it whole as you can see in the picture above as the heron appears to have a full crop! So funny.
After that it would be a quick stop at Gate 40 in Clinton to take a look at the "brushy island". As you can see in the photo above the water levels are very high and sadly there isn't even a shoreline this year that we could see which means the potential for shorebirds isn't looking too promising so once again it will be Sterling Peat hopefully, but based on what we saw there, we could probably use a little rain as its much dryer than when I was there last Sunday. No terns at gate 40 either which is unfortunate as I have yet to get any Worcester County terns yet so am hoping this is my year.