Saturday, October 20, 2012

Broad Meadow Brook-Wachusett Reservoir

I decided to head out bright and early this morning and do some exploring and birding with my first stop being Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester for my familiar loop I like to do at least once a season and today seemed the perfect day with the weather as nice as it was as well as continued optimism for an Orange-crowned Warbler.

Birds would be everywhere with White-throated Sparrows being the most numerous followed by Yellow-rumped Warblers of course!  I'd take my sweet old time and finally make it to the powerline trail which is my favorite trail of all at Broad Meadow Brook and it wouldn't take me long to hear a wren scolding to pished it out and would be surprised to find it was a House Wren.  Knowing they're getting harder to come by this late in the season I attempted a record shot but didn't hold out much hope with the gray skies and fog.

And this would be the best picture of them all.   I should note I was pishing to get this bird out of cover and I'd be shocked to see how many other birds would fly into view to see what all the racket was with me pishing and the wren scolding.  I'd get the regular Black-capped Chickadees, Butter Butts, Palm Warblers, a nice look at a Blue-headed Vireo and would get both the Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets together in the same binocular view!  Not only would I see them but I'd also see that gorgeous golden crown of the kinglet which is something I don't see much so it was a treat.  I'd continue along my way along the trail making sure to look at every pocket of birds but sadly I'd never get my Orange-crowned so went to the Brookside Trail where blackbirds are known to be and was hoping for a Rusty.

A flock of blackbirds leaving the area just as I was arriving!  Figures....They looked to all be Red-winged Blackbirds to me when I had them in the bins but who knows for sure.

Probably my last really good look at a Common Yellowthroat until next April.

Hermit Thrush spotted just as I got to the brook.  Always nice but ever more so in October.  I'd be very surprised I didn't get any Pine Siskins anywhere yet but it wouldn't take me long to hear their chatter which made me very happy considering my new found affection for them.

WARNING:  Pine Siskin picture saturation below....But how could I not..Just look at this bird.  Swoon.

Here they are in trees which is a very familiar way to see these birds as they travel in flocks.

Preening but missed the crumb on its forehead!  ;-)


The crumbs you see on the birds above come from these pine cone looking things the siskins seemed to enjoy and they'd allow me nice long looks of them eating which was very entertaining.

And the several American Goldfinches found mixed in with the siskins or vice versa.  I can't help but wonder what the goldfinches think of their relatives the siskins considering how polite the goldfinch is.  Seriously....Have you ever seen a goldfinch be anything but pleasant.  Compare that with the siskin who are extremely active, vocal and take over thistle feeders, something a goldfinch would never dream of doing!

It would also be here I'd get a Cooper's Hawk and I'd question my ID based on its behavior as it did a lot of heavy flapping and circling like a buteo so of course GOS would come to mind but it was far too small to be one, even a male I believe and it never gave the me GOS vibe.

Another lousy shot but check out the hands and how they're slightly raised which is something I see often with Red-tailed Hawks, but never a coops or sharpie.

Using those wings to ascend higher in the sky in a circle like fashion (similar to a buteo).  I'm still calling it a coops based on what I saw and my gut but if you feel otherwise feel free to comment or send me an email.

After 3 hours of birding and 8 miles of walking I'd be mighty hungry so went home and grabbed a quick bite and then headed out to Wachusett Reservoir with Alan to see if anything of interest had turned up despite weather conditions unfavorable for success but we'd head to Gate 36 anyway.

And see many birds perched upon the rocks but they wouldn't be American Pipit's or Snow Buntings but rather Savannah Sparrows!

Being here made them much better to see and photograph and believe this may be the best shot I've ever gotten of this beautiful bird.  We'd get nothing out of the ordinary here so headed to Mile Hill Road next hoping for better luck.

Where I'd do my obligatory look toward Mount Wachusett and notice the wind turbines (for the 1st time), the Common Raven's and Indigo Buntings like to hang out!  We'd strike out again of course but get a distant look at a Bald Eagle which is always nice so we'd head back to the car and then I'd see the Eagle coming across the water and headed our way.  I'd be so excited I almost tripped out of Alan's truck and manged to get my camera cord tangled in with my binocular cord but somehow I pulled through as I wanted to get some decent pictures.  It would be then we'd realize there were two of them and one with its talons down so were hoping they'd interlock  talons and do some acrobatics for us.

Lousy shot obviously but check out those talons!

Another lousy shot but love how the one below has those plank like wings compared to the one above.

Getting closer!

And my favorite types of pictures to get of birds and that is with their bills open as that means they're either singing or calling which I love and this eagle would be doing it's call which is very toy like to the ears which I find comical considering their size and brazenness.


It would be here that the eagle would be so close I'd get it out of focus and out of range but loved it none the less (especially the look on it's face).  I was actually feeling a tad dizzy at this point as I wasn't breathing which happens to me when I bird sometimes as they literally take my breath away and these birds would do it for me.  Sigh....Absolute highlight of the day.

We'd make one last stop at Scar Hill which would be fabulous with the sun and WARM breeze (usually the opposite here).  We'd spend a lot of time looking at the three Common Loon's with one in particular who appeared to be resting with its head tucked in its wing as the gentle waves carried it away from us.

The only waterfowl we'd see were four American Black Ducks which is always nice, especially when they look pure like these four did.

All in all a great way to spend the day and looking forward to doing it again tomorrow!

Take care all.


Larry said...

What a great day to be outside...if only fall stayed like this!

Dawn Puliafico said...

Great eagle shots!!!! Jealous!


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