Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weekday Birding

I had yesterday off and decided to spend the morning and early afternoon birding despite the persistent winds that could potentially keep passerine activity down.  I'd start off at Gate 28 at the Wachusett Reservoir which was great for warblers during spring migration so was curious what would be around now.  It would still be chilly and bird chatter would be minimal much to my dismay.

There would be a few insects out despite the cool temps including the one above so I took that as a good sign!  I'd spend about 15 minutes there and give up as everything was fairly quiet bird wise except for a few Northern Cardinals, Common Yellowthroats and some very vocal Blue Jays.  I'd also get two White-breasted Nuthatches and one lone Red-breasted Nuthatch calling from the pine trees nearby.

I'd then head out to Sterling Peat hoping to pick up a Lincoln's Sparrow and Palm Warbler and I'd get neither but it would be birdy none the less with many Song Sparrows out, a couple Eastern Phoebe's, another flock of noisy Blue Jays and the other regulars but nothing out of the ordinary.

The most depressing thing would be looking at the mud flats and seeing only two Killdeer and one lone Least Sandpiper that I watched for a while with the reality of knowing my Worcester county shorebird list will probably not grow much this year and I won't even get a lousy Black-bellied Plover or Dunlin!  ;-)

Since I was in the area I decided to head to Kristoff Pig Farm as that's a GREAT place to bird for fall migration (a little later in the season though).  I'd be very happy to see the neighbor's dog is sill alive and kicking as we got to be great friends last year so was thrilled to see him come over and greet me just like old times!

I'd make my way up the path and the place would be silent which I found shocking considering that this path up toward the main area of Kristoff is often alive with bird chatter and movement even in the fall.  I'd make the best of things though and find pockets of warblers here and there including quite a few Yellow-rumped Warblers which gave me hope for the Palm considering both are usually late migrators.

I'd also pick up a couple of Magnolia Warblers including the one above.  While the bird isn't as bright as in the spring, I'd be happy to see that black streaking these birds are known for as the others I've seen thus far this fall have had a very faint streaking so this was a plumage treat!

 I decided to check out some of the open areas in hopes for a Northern Harrier when suddenly I spotted a very large raptor headed my way overhead.  The sky was still gray which meant tracking it was challenging as I tried to look for field marks that just wouldn't be there.  I'd soon realize one of the reasons why it was so challenging is because the bird was gray (hmmm perhaps a gray ghost??!!).  I'd watch it come my way and it wasn't giving me any Harrier feel but rather a Red-tailed and then i'd soon see this gray large raptor with black along its eye and realize I had another Northern Goshawk!!  This would be the closest I've ever seen one fly overhead and I'd watch it fly past me with confident, powerful wing beats and I'd be so transfixed I didn't even think about taking a photo until it was almost too late as it headed toward the tree line!

Bon voyage my handsome friend, till we meet again!!

And away he goes. Despite how crappy this photo is, it's still pretty interesting to look at as you can still see the pointed wings at the end as well as the slight droop many of these birds have when gliding which reminds me a lot of the Red-tailed Hawks.

I'd make one last stop on my way home to a local spot I found a couple of years ago trail running and love it considering it's one of the best local places nearby for displaying Woodcock so be curious to see what was around as it looks as if it has the potential to be a sparrow haven!

The whole place has a lot of brambles and tons of goldenrod with water nearby so was hoping it would already be birdy.

And once again I wouldn't see much but was happy to see this Common Yellowthroat as it won't be long now that they'll be gone till next spring.

It wouldn't take me long to come across this either which really pissed me off.  Seriously animal behavior fascinates me which is why birding is so fulfilling as I want to understand it better but for the life of me I can't understand my fellow man sometimes.  Some people have no regard for the environment and treat it as if it were nothing more than their own garbage dump.  No wonder I enjoy birds more than I do people sometimes.........

I'd head home but make a stop at Goretti's due to the fact I was starving and I'd be craving my mother's specialty something fierce.  She wasn't much of a cook which is why I learned to cook at such a young age, but there's one thing she made that I crave once a year and that is Shake and Bake Chicken with salad and bread and butter so I picked up all the ingredients and have myself my childhood favorite.

It would be cool enough outside to curl up on the couch with dinner in tow and watch a couple of movies including one of my favorite, Radio Days.  It's one of those movies I can see once a year and not tire of it.  So all in all a great way to spend the day but hoping for more luck this weekend.

Take care all

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