Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lots of Migrants Today!

After seeing all of the reports coming in of Pine Siskin's this week while I was desk bound at work, I decided to venture to Purgatory Chasm to see if any would be there and I also wanted to do a Red-breasted Nuthatch count so off I went.

And as you can see I'd be the only person here which is one of the biggest reasons why I chose to go today as cold weather keeps people home which is just how I wanted it as this place is a real zoo when the weather is nice.

I'd get out of my car and the first birds I'd hear and see were the Dark-eyed Juncos and they'd be everywhere which seemed rather fitting given the chill in the air.

And of course the MANY (14 in a little over a mile of walking) Red-breasted Nuthath's who'd be yanking away and going from tree to tree.

As you can see in the photo above!

There'd be no Pine Siskin's here so decided to cut my morning walk short as birding always trumps exercise during migration considering I can hike/walk any day, but migration comes but twice a year so off I went to spot number two.  I did stop for this photo though as I'd find pine cones like this in many spots around Purgatory Chasm and don't know what kind of critter is doing this but found it interesting.

And spot number two would be Martha Deering WMA in Millbury.  I'd be happy with my decision as soon as I got out of my car because bird activity was heavy here and different than Purgatory as I had a lot of different birds actively feeding so remained in one area to try and get a count of it all.  American Robin's would be everywhere and in the same area as the Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds so I stopped to get a look at them all hoping for a Rusty but no deal.

There'd also be a lot of White-throated Sparrows out and about and fighting in typical sparrow fashion this time of the year.  It wouldn't take long for my ears to pick up on some birds that sounded very siskinesque but had a hard time confirming it with all of the vocal robins who'd be calling and squacking among themselves the whole time I was there.  I knew I heard one but wanted to make sure so took out my Droid Sibley's to play the call and I'd only play it for a brief second as something immediately flew in and in view.

My much awaited Pine Siskin!!  Not only would the bird fly in but do so close enough I could have touched it.  In fact, I'd never get a decent photo of the bird as I didn't want to adjust my camera settings to macro in fear of chasing it off so I just swooned over it naked eye and a couple of record shots.

Another lousy photo but wanted to share it anyhow as it shows off that sharp, thin bill (good way to distinguish it from a House Finch) as well as that short, very notched tail that I'd never noticed until this year and it jumped at me while viewing the bird as well as my photos.  I don't get many FOY's like this so was very happy with it as it was almost on my shoulder at times!  I should also note I had a Red-breasted Nuthatch here too which is my first ever for Millbury so was happy to pick that bird up as well as both the nuthatch and siskin's are new patch birds for me which is always welcome.

After that I headed over to the South Main Street Power Lines in hopes of picking up more new birds for my patch with Orange-crowned being top of the list.  I'd see cars in the parking lot which struck me as odd because this place is normally devoid of people which makes it very birdy.

Hmmmmm........Hunters perhaps?

Hmmmmmmmm..........I'd take my chances and stay around the beginning on the powerlines where houses are nearby where I'd get more White-throated Sparrow as well as my first Swap Sparrow for these powerlines and decide to end it short once I heard two consecutive gunshots coming from one gun that was far enough away I didn't feel threatened, but did wonder how much the extra bullet cost the guy as it's obvious he's the frugal type.  ;-)

I'd go home for lunch and then head out to the Wachusett Reservoir with Alan in hopes for some scoters (I need all three) so we'd go to Scar Hill Road first.

And all that we'd see flock wise were the Canada Geese above so we'd go to Mile Hill Road next in hopes for better luck there.

Where we'd get nothing except for some Double-crested Cormorants and one lone Ring-billed Gull flying by.

So we'd hit Coachlace next and late afternoon is the worse time to see if due to the sun position but beggars can't' be choosers!

And there'd be 16 scaup here with 15 being Greater Scaup and one being my FOY Lesser Scaup.  While I didn't like the sun for pictures and looks I do have to say getting the silhouette view of the lesser was a great way to see the peaked head of the Lesser compared to the nearby Greater.  All photos above are of the greater as they were part of one flock and the one with the lesser were too far out for a camera shot.

And our last stop would be Gate 36 in hopes for a Horned Grebe or Red-throated Loon and we'd strike out on both but did see three Common Loon's quite a few American Pipit's and a lone Savannah Sparrow.  We'd also see a Ring-billed Gull coming close by so out came the camera for a photo.

This appears to be an adult already heading into non-breeding plumage.  I wouldn't notice the fishing hook and line underneath the gull until I blew this picture up on my screen and it would remind me of the time about a month ago Alan and I were at Wachusett and I got tangled up in some fishing line so gathered it all together to dispose of it responsibly to protect the birds and other wild life.  I have no problems with those who fish and those who hunt but can't stand seeing things such as this as it often stems from people who don't do it responsibly and give the others a bad name, like hunters who hunt where they aren't supposed to (powerlines near homes) and fishermen who can't clean up their messes.  :-(

Take care all.

1 comment:

Dawn Puliafico said...

So glad you saw your Pine Siskin, and what a nice close sighting!


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