Sunday, September 23, 2012

Forbush Bird Club Trip-Bolton Flats

I attended the Forbush Bird Club Bolton Flats field trip today which would once again be led by Kevin.  There were already many people in the parking lot when Alan and I arrived which was nice as it meant more eyes and hence more spotted birds!

Soon enough our fearless leader would start the trip and be equipped with all the bird club leader essentials including binoculars, scope and note book for list keeping of course and as you can see Kevin is once again updating it as you'll see the notebook on the left of him next to his scope!

Bird activity would be fairly quiet at first but then we'd come to a pocket nearby with many of the regulars sparrows including the Song and Swamp of course but it wouldn't take long for Kevin to spot my beloved Lincoln's but wouldn't you know I'd never see it much to my disappointment.

The dozens of American Pipits would still be out in full force so we'd set up shop with the scopes to get looks at them as well as anything else that would be out there.

And where there's Pipit's there's raptors including my much needed Northern Harrier that Nick spotted which made me very happy as it would complete my probable raptor list for the year which hasn't happened since my first official full year of birding in 2009 when I got every probable raptor in Worcester County (except for the Golden Eagle as that's just too hard to get and you have to be in the right place at the right time which I can't seem to find!).  Other raptors would follow suit including an American Kestrel, Merlin, Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk and a nice look at a Red-shouldered Hawk Alan would find who was kind enough to T up for a nice scope view.

American Kestrel teed up on the nest box which was nice as it gave me the opportunity to watch it flick its tail which I'd never noticed this bird do and had no idea this is one of their common trails so it was good to learn something new.

We'd continue along the way and Kevin would spot a bird I'd be lucky enough to get on and we'd be thrilled to see it was a Northern Waterthrush.  The bird wouldn't stay visible long for everyone to get a look at it of course, but the look was good even if it only lasted seconds which seems to go hand in hand with fall migration birding!

And what would a Bolton Flats fall trip be without sparrows!  We'd hear the various chip notes of different species coming from the nearby shrubbery which would give me a chance to brush up on my rusty skills as well as acquire new ones.  The first chip note to remember of course as its most common in most instances is the always familiar Song Sparrow (not its chimp note), but rather the one below.

This is the common flight and interaction call of the Song Sparrow that is very high pitched and sounds as if the bird is saying sseeeet or rather seet.

We'd hear plenty of these birds of course as well as a few Savannah Sparrows like the one below.  Please pardon the lousy picture(s), but I find the quality of my photos always go down hill during migration periods as I prefer my binoculars to my camera so pictures are often an afterthought.

Can't say I didn't warn you.  :-p.  The picture above really shows just how short this sparrows tail is as you can barely see it!

This would also be the fist time for me to really focus on this birds call and the first thing that I'd notice is that while it's high pitched like the Song Sparrow and very similar, it sounded shorter and dropped at that end.

And I'd be very happy to see my ears were right as you can see in the sonogram below where it drops the last two notes.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't include the Swamp Sparrow who is often the main sparrow seen and/or heard whenever once hears sparrows at Bolton Flats from spring into fall.

Notice how buzzy and almost insect like it sounds which you can see in the sonogram as well.  Kevin would also introduce me to another song the Swamp Sparrow does when agitated which I would hear for the first time and it would sound similar to this.time and it would
Note all that chatter isn't coming from only the Swamp Sparrows and I can hear Song Sparrows in there as well and don't have the mental capacity to distinguish the others at this time, but it may make for some fun analysis to do in the dead of winter!  ;-)

Anyhow, back to topic.  We'd see many of the other regular passerines but it wouldn't take long for Kevin to notice a small flock of Purple Finch's and I'd be very happy to see they were female considering I don't see them that often so it gave me the chance to get a good look at them to imprint in my mind.

And while the photo isn't that great it still shows this birds field marks including the heavy triangular bill, the short-notched tail and the bold white eyebrow to name a few.

Soon enough it would be time to head back again and Kevin would spot another Lincoln's and this time I'd see it dart into some thicker cover and be happy to finally get on the bird even though it was far from a decent look after being spoiled last year.  I'd still be happy though as it would be a FOY for me, but will be out more just to swoon over one of my favorite birds of all time.

We'd make our way back to the parking area and be very happy to see the Monarch Butterfly above which would prove to be my best photo of the day as it was sitting still and in the open!  The other bird of note near the parking lot would be one lone Ruby-throated Hummingbird Scott would find.

We'd make our way across the always busy Route 117 to see what was around and see many of the regulars with the highlight being a Nashville Warbler who was decent enough to do us the honors of staying put long enough for us to see and ID it!

Our final stop would be Pine Hill Road in Lancaster where we walked the very familiar landscape but instead of boiling like I'm used to whenever I walk this road, it was perfect temperature wise and there'd be plenty of pockets of birds here and there to keep us busy including a Vesper Sparrow that's still around as well as my FOY Palm Warbler!

So all in all a great way to spend a Sunday and we couldn't as for better weather (except for the winds of course!).  It was nice to get out there with others and pick up three FOY's while at it which is always welcome!

Take care all.


Jean H said...

Nicely done - I could not be there so thanks for sharing the experience!
Jean H

Kim said...

Thanks Jean! Hope to see you at some trips in the near future!


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