Saturday, October 6, 2012

Indian Summer Birding

Alan and I did some birding Saturday morning and the 1st place we'd try was Brierly Pond in Millbury in hopes for the Ring-necked Ducks he had there the day prior.  There'd be no RND's. but the place would be packed with many Mallards.

Including many handsome drake Mallards all decked out in their fresh new plumage.

And good old Cottontail would be out with her scrawny husband and all five of their hybrid offspring who all look more Graylag than they do Canada.

After that would be a place in Sutton where Ring-necked Ducks have been known to hang out and all would be quiet besides the usual Mallards, Wood Ducks and one lone Pied-billed Grebe.

Passerine activity would be moderate with three or so Red-breasted Nuthatch's (YAY!), as well as many Yellow-rumped Warblers like the one above who was kind enough to perch on a bare branch which allowed a good look at it as well as a halfway decent shot including its tail which I'm really starting to pay more attention to when it comes to warblers as that's often what you see most on them!

Our next stop would be All Faith's Cemetery in Worcester/Auburn for the American Wigeon and it wouldn't take long to find two of them in one area of the pond.

And six others in another area which would be my 1st FOY of the day which was nice.  Yellow-rumped Warblers would be out here in force as well and some very vocal and still singing American Robins.

And at least 30 Brown-headed Cowbirds mixed in with some very large flocks of European Starlings.

Our next stop would be the Westborough Reservoir hoping for the American Coot where we'd walk around the train tracks to find a better area to view more of the reservoir as there was a lot on it, but needed to find the best place to see it all!

We'd finally find that spot and be happy to see we flushed a Green Heron considering their numbers are decreasing due to migration so this was a treat.

I'd be using the scope and Alan the binoculars when I came across a gull that sparked my interest as it looked like a Great Black-backed Gull.  I'd look at it more and then think what I was actually seeing was a Ring-billed with a stump behind it making it look like it was dark so asked Alan to look at it as I laughed at my bad call, but sure enough the bird would spread its wing to see it wasn't a stump but in fact a Great Black-backed.

Funny seeing them this far south this early in the year as it's more common in Northern Worcester County in October.

Which you can see in this eBird chart that shows reports of this gull for the month of October only.
As well as data from Rick's site which shows most reports of this gull being reported in Southern Worcester County toward the end of October with the earliest sighting usually happening around the 26th.  This too would be another FOY for me and one I was expecting in November so it would be a pleasant surprise.  The other birds of note would be two Osprey who'd be perched here and there and also do some flying and kiting.  We'd finally find the American Coot with 6 in total which would be another FOY for me.

We'd make our way back toward the train tracks and come across our 2nd skeleton of the day (the 1st being a Snapping Turtle) and this is what we'd see.  Large bones and white feathers so wondering if it's a Mute Swan considering there are so many of them on the Westborough Reservoir (one can only hope!)

Our last stop would be Little Chauncey to try again for the Sora but once again it would be a "no go".  Sigh, I'm starting to resign myself to the fact I won't see this bird this year but am not giving up hope just yet!

One last note is today's weather which was perfect.  I really wish it would stay like this but know cold fronts brings birds and tomorrow is supposed to be mighty chilly so hoping it brings us some sparrows for Rodney's trip!

Take care all.

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