Sunday, October 14, 2012

Birding Millbury and the Brookfields

I'd do some birding this morning despite rain as it doesn't bother me (just don't like what it does to the optics) so headed back to the South Main Powerlines to see what was around.

And the first thing I'd hear were the many American Robin's' so guessing they're in full migration based on what I've seen numbers wise the past two days.  Many of them would be visible and nearby so it gave me the opportunity to get really good looks at them and the differences in colors plumage wise (even in comparing the males which was nice)

Sparrows would be out in full force as well and the one thing I'd notice is that most of them were rather still compared to their hyper selves I've seen so much of lately.  This would allow me to ID most of them rather quickly and really observe them which was nice for a change and perfect for some lazy Sunday birding.

I mean seriously, when was the last time you saw two migrating Chipping Sparrows side by side instead of chasing one another.  This would  give me the chance  to really take in that gray on their backs (especially near the rump) and other field marks this sparrow is known for.  Other sparrows would be behaving in the same manner including Savannah, Song and quite a few Swamp Sparrows.

Who'd be mixed in with one lone Field Sparrow which is always a nice bird to see.  I'd spend about an hour here in the rain and didn't mind it one bit as I found the birds to be very calm but active which allowed me some of the best views I've gotten of sparrows so far this year so sometimes it pays to get out there in the rain.

After the rain had ceased I headed out to the Broofields with Alan with the first stop being Lake Quaboag in hopes for some waterfowl as I still need many this year so was hoping for some new arrivals  The lake would be quiet with a small group of Mallards and one lone Pied-billed Grebe.

As well as one lone man bringing his sailboat back to shore with no wind in his sails.

We'd get back to an area where there'd be scores of songbirds everywhere so got out of the car to take a look.  There'd be plenty of sparrows, some Yellow-rumped Warblers, tons of American Robins and others including the Great Blue Heron above.

Ande a few Eastern Bluebirds who'd be busy chasing one other which was a first for me and something I'm not used to seeing as I think of these birds as rather gentle but would be proven wrong yet again.

Our next stop would be a small pond (I believe Mill Pond) where there wouldn't be any ducks around except for one lone Greater Scaup which struck both Alan and I as odd especially based on the drakes behavior where he'd be spinning around in a circle almost phalarope like.  We'd watch it do this for a bit and then Alan would wonder if it was caught up in something so I'd get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach after seeing the gull yesterday with that fishing line stuck on it.  I'd be searching the neighboring yards for a canoe in case we had to save the poor bird but it would then dive and wind up further away from where it was previously so it appeared to be okay which made me very glad as I'm a sucker  for happy endings!

We'd stop at another place where Rusty Blackbirds are known to be and still need that on this years Worcester County list and we'd strike out on them but did see the Osprey above with fish in talons (perhaps a Pickerel?).

And away it goes!

We'd go to another spot nearby as I'd heard blackbirds coming from the area so was hoping for a Rusty here and the place would be alive with bird chatter.  We couldn't walk far without stopping to take in a bird which is the type of place I could spend hours in so was very happy we made the stop.  The usual sparrows would be here and I'd be thrilled to get another juvenile White-crowned Sparrow as well as both the Palm and Yellow-rumped Warbler and one lone Red-breasted Nuthatch which is always welcome.

 We'd be making our way back to the car when we'd spot a flock of small birds getting ready to land nearby and be thrilled to see they were a mixed flock of American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins!

Is this not a face to die for???  Swoon.....

And another.

And one more just because.  ;-).  The Pine Siskin's have turned into my favorite fall bird so far this year as I love how inquisitive and tame they are.  This would be the first year I'd ever really witness it as the only experience I've ever really had with them is the first winter of birding in 2008 where I was doing it all in my  backyard and  had them coming to my feeders.  Seeing them this time around is different as I'm paying more attention to their behavior and so far liking what I'm seeing!  Plus I have a special spot in my heart for the irruptive boreal birds that I discovered when I opened my Sibley's for the first time and while I studied all the birds, the ones from up north sparked my interest  the most considering they stayed up north year round making them tough as nails which I admire.  They're never a guarantee either like the migrators so it makes it even more special when they pay us a visit.  I'd look at the little bird above and wonder where it originated from, how far it traveled and wished it a safe return come next spring.

After getting my birding high for the day we'd head to Orlando's Pond in Charlton hoping for at least one lone Ring-neckd Duck but this place too would be dead for the most part with the highlight being three American Wigeon who I'd notice for the first time ever have really nice butts (another lucid moment in my birding!)

We'd head next to the upper pond next with many birds nearby the shore line, but not many in the water.

Including the goofy Great Blue Heron who'd be away from the shore and up in the grass in the same area as the many Canada Geese.

And at times in with the Canada Geese which was funny to see as the pond appears to be a hodge podge of sorts with the Mallards, Gulls and geese including the lone domestic goose mixed in with the Canada's.  The other thing of interest here would be an American Crow who'd be flying really weird in that it would soar straight up and high and then dive down rapidly which is something I'd never seen before and it appeared to be fly catching which would be a first for me and really cool to see (gotta love corvids!)

We'd also get some Ruddy's as well including the handsome drake above.

On the way back home we'd make one more stop in Sutton which is usually always a guarantee for the Ring'necked's and that place too would be dead so it appears as if more passerines were migrating this weekend vs. the waterfowl as the song birds were everywhere and ducks were few and far between.

Take care all.

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