Sunday, September 30, 2012

Birding more of Westborough

Alan and I decided to head back to Westborough today after seeing Tim S's reporting of a Dickcissel near Chauncey so of course I look at his eBird checklist and would find out not only did he get that bird, but the Sora as well!!  I'd send an email to him asking for more information and he'd email me back and find out he had the Sora in a different area than Alan's ever gotten it and the Dickcissel was closer to Big Chauncey so off we went hoping to get both!

Picture of the reported Dickcissel Tim would find yesterday at Big Chauncey.  Link here:  Dickcissel

Anyhow Alan and I would make a quick stop at a place were you can get a good look at the reservoir in hopes for some dabbling ducks and the place would again be bare, but did see a Red-tailed Hawk, a juvenile Bald Eagle and the Mute Swan's that appeared to be everywhere but not as bad as last year thankfully.

We'd then head on over to Little Chauncey and to the area Tim had the Sora it in hopes we could flush it just as he did the day prior.  Alan would be at one side and I the other as we slowly bush whacked through weeds so tall I couldn't see over them more often than not but really wanted that bird so didn't mind much and just hoped I could see it fly and ID to finally get it on my list for the year!  But luck wouldn't be on our side sadly as we never did flush the Sora, but did manage to pick up another dozen Swamp Sparrows in the process!!  While making our way back to the car we'd see Nickilas who just got back from Big Chauncey where he did indeed find the Dickcissel so off we went to find it.

The three of us would head to the sumac it was spotted and I'd be in awe of the place considering I'd never birded here before so was taken aback somewhat by not only the birds, the beauty as well including the corn fields above.  Despite the rain that was coming down steadily by now, we'd still see birds in and around this area with most of them being Swamp or Savannah Sparrows with no Dickcissel of course.

Soybean fields near the area of the sumac that Dickcissel seems to be at most often.  We'd linger around here for a bit and do some pishing but we'd never hear or see the bird which put me in a mood as gray as the skies.  We'd head back the other way in search for some Rusty Blackbirds and other birds along the way.

We'd come to an area with lots of birds including Purple Finch, Yellow-rumped Warblers, both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers as well as a Pied-billed Grebe Alan would find and we'd also be thrilled when Nickilas would spot the Marsh Wren Tim had yesterday in some cat tails nearby.  While the look was brief it was good and my gray mood would dissipate as I watched the funny, little bird peek it's wee little head out of cover and into view before if flew across the path much to our dismay.  We'd hear the call of a bird that sounded a lot like a Marsh Wren so move up a little further and to the left in hopes of finding it again but all we'd see were the Swampies as well as quite a few woodpeckers that seemed fond of a small tree nearby that appears to have seen better days with all the peck marks littered throughout it so it seems to be a favorite hangout of some sort!

We'd get closer to the singing bird and be happy to see if fly into some low cover and I'd get my bins on it and announce I was on the bird, but something didn't sit right as the bird singing the song didn't look like a Marsh Wren but rather a Swamp Sparrow which Alan and Nickilas saw and heard too which made me happy as I thought I was imagining things.  All of us would be dumbfounded by this considering it's something we'd never witnessed before so of course me being the song geek that I am was very excited by this freak event so whipped out my camera for some hopeful audio!!!!

And as you can hear, I'm swooning pretty hard as I'm downright giddy over the find.  You'd think I had Andre' Bocelli serenading me with Italian love songs but nope, the male who captivated my heart would turn out to most likely be a juvenile Swamp Sparrow singing away in a shrub nearby which is more my type anyways!  ;-)

I'd get home of course and head right to Xeno Canto to geek out and investigate and come to find out this is indeed a song these birds do, with it being most common in juveniles and it's their Plastic song.

If you click on the link to the song above you will see a description of where the audio was recorded and found the following comment to be funny and wondered if the Marsh Wrens chased away the bird thinking it was something else.  ;-)

Remarks by recordist
Bird seen. Male giving a rudimentary song whilst foraging in various marsh vegetation before being chased off by 2 Marsh Wrens

And now for the Marsh Wrens.  If you look at the sonogram you'll notice the songs are not alike in the pitch and frequency, but it certainly fools the ears when you're out there trying to re find a Marsh Wren and then hear that so it's nice to learn something new and geeky!!

Alan and I would try one more time for the Dickcissel as we refused to admit defeat just yet as we trudged back to the Sumac with numb fingers from being out in the raw cold for so long and of course we'd strike out yet again and while I was disappointed- I couldn't think of a better way to spend the morning as not only did I find a new place to bird, but learned a little something more to store in the old memory bank for the next time.

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for!!  Another exciting episode of this day in history!  September 30th will go down as a day  in Worcester County birding history as of day of rarities including the following:

9/30/00;  BAIRD'S SANDPIPER- Quinapoxet Reservoir, Holden- Mark and Sheila (SWOON)

9/30/01;  Dickcissel:  Westborough WMA, Westborough, Mark and Sheila

9/30/07; Gray-cheeked Thrush- Auburn Bird Banding, Colleen Morin

9/30/01; The very popular Tufted Duck-West Lake Waushacum, Sterling, by our very much loved and missed Fran McMenemy

In looking into the first week of October one day in particular may turn out to turn up some rarities as well with October 3rd beating all other days so get out there and bird if you can. ;-)

10/3/4; Connecticut Warbler-Quabbin Reservoir, Mark and Sheila

10/3/4; Gray-cheeked Thrush-Auburn Bird Banding-Colleen Morin

10/3/9; Orange-crowned Warbler-Westminster, Tom

10/3/9; Red-necked Phalarope-Quabbin Reservoir, Richard Sp

10/3/99; WESTERN KINGBIRD-Bolton Flats-Mark and Sheila  (SWOON)

Take care all.

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