Sunday, December 30, 2012

Uxbridge CBC

Alan and I did his portion of the Uxbridge CBC block yesterday and we'd head out a little before dawn in a half assed attempt to get some owling in. Our mediocre attempt never paid off with the only owl of the day being the one above who I believe is a Great Horned!

One of our first places was the lobster factory I hadn't seen in a couple years but it still has fond memories considering it's where I got my life bird Bald Eagle the 1st year I started birding.  No eagle but plenty of Common Mergs and the European Starlings who have taken a liking to the lobster boat above!

Our customary walk along the train tracks in the same area.  It wouldn't yield many birds, but it was picture perfect!

And of course what's a CBC without feeder birds like the Downy Woodpecker above.  I'd have some serious feeder envy going on, especially the yellow suet feeder shown above as I'd never seen anything like it but it's adorable!

One of the dozen or so American Crows we'd see who appeared to have something in its bill.  Alan would play the chickadee scolding tape in hopes of getting it and other birds closer but it scared the crow off instead.

The crow must have been starting a bird trend as we'd see a Black-capped Chickadee sporting the same look.

And what's a chickadee without it's side kick the Tufted Titmouse.  We'd have higher numbers of both these birds compared to Worcester which wasn't surprising considering the block had a lot more feeders and the feeders were the place to be if you were a bird or a birder as the passerines all stocked up on fuel before the storm and feeders are usually one of the easiest places to get it in winter.

Another feeder Cadillac!

While live bird activity would be slow at times we would find other pockets of them here and there like the one above.

And a Canada Goose hanging out among the sheep!

Wooden bird sp.  Perhaps a crow?

We'd finally get to the area to do the Rock Pigeon and Starling count and wouldn't be disappointed as there'd be both around with the many cows all having their breakfast.

Farmer John feeding the crew!

The many pigeons on the roof.

The field across the street from the farm where we'd get our only Canada Geese for the day except for woody!

One of the challenges of Alan's Purgatory CBC block is the lack of open water or water in general for that matter.  We did have a couple of river stops though including the one above where there'd be no birds.  A common occurrence we'd find whenever we came upon water.

After a much needed coffee break we'd hit the other side of the farm for the Northern Mockingbird who would quietly make an appearance out of no where as soon as it heard it's call.  Probably wondering what respectable mocker would be singing this time of the year!

One of my pals the dairy cow above.  Its friend would be nearby where it had some kind of food all over its side so we'd watch it trying to eat from it which was amusing to say the least.

We'd get to my favorite areas of the count and get out of the car at one spot where I'd do my usual stop..look and listen and my ears told me there was at least two American Robins nearby doing their call.  Soon enough we'd see over 50 of them making this one of the most productive stops of the day.

Alan would pull over at another area saying something about this being perfect habitat for a Winter Wren but I didn't catch it all as I was starting to feel worse from the cold I woke up with in the morning.  I did hear a bird though I thought sounded an awful lot like a robin but something didn't sit right with me so I kept guessing myself.

Alan would play the call of the wren and shortly there after we'd hear a bird sounding very wren-esque in that it sounded like the first couple of introductory notes of the Winter Wren but it would never complete its song.  Soon enough the mystery bird would show its face as Alan spotted it nearby and we'd be thrilled to get our bird of the day the wren!

The temps started to dip at this point as we made our way to Purgatory Chasm in hopes for Red-breasted Nuthatches.  We did make a stop along a frozen body of water where we'd see the animal tracks above.  Have no idea what it was.

We'd finally get to purgatory and make three stops in separate areas where we pulled out 10 RBN's.  Not the numbers I was hoping for when these birds had their massive influx earlier but I'd be happy with the number as it's better than nothing!

The snow would start to pick up at this point so birds would be harder to find so figured I'd share a picture with you of the hat my youngest got me for Christmas.  Not only do I stay warm but look mighty stylish if I do say so myself.  ;-)
Is it not the "bees knees" or what.  As you can see the snow would really be falling by now.

Snowy New England.  It would be a little past here where we'd stop for a bird I saw perched on a branch so I'd be in the zone a it gave me a robin jive but the bill didn't sit right with me.  Alan would go to the truck to grab his scope and the roads were so slick the poor guy would fall.  I of course wouldn't know it until he told me but what else is new as we have an ongoing joke about my tendency to not know what's going on around me when I'm on a bird -like the time poor Dave took a huge spill at Salisbury and everyone was around him helping him up and asking if he was okay and I'd be oblivious to it as I watched a Red-throated Loon in Alan's scope far out in the ocean.  There was also the time during nigh hawking where Alan would trip and grab onto me for balance and I remember telling him to try and get himself back up as I didn't flinch keeping my bins on the nighthawks considering there was a jack pot and I was trying to get a decent count!  What can I say, birding tends to do that to me.  HA.  By the way the bird did indeed turn out to be a robin. :-p

Our last stop of the day which was lovely with the snow.  It would be here I'd realize how lousy I felt so was looking forward to getting home.

With the only birds being the ones at my feeder and the ones in my home including the nifty Sanderling above which Alan made.  I keep telling Alan he has a special craft and should sell some of his work as its so darn good!  This is now my favorite bird in my modest collection as it was made by my best birding friend so something I'll cherish forever and how could I not!  The feeder birds are out at my feeders as I type this.  The poor things are struggling to feed with all the snow and I feel so lousy I just don't have the energy to get out there and dust off the feeders so resorted to throwing out a bucket of seed which is keeping them busy until I feel human again.

And wouldn't you know I'd get sick at a time vitamin C is in abundance with citrus being in season now including the tangerines and Meyer Lemons I scored.  If you've never had a Meyer Lemon before and like lemons I strongly recommend you look for them as they are out of this world.  A cross between an orange and lemon which makes them prized possessions for canners and preservers.

Hoping the cold ceases soon so I have the energy to preserve them all.  I did muster enough of it though to preserve some last night after the CBC.  All this is are the lemons I put into a sterilized jar with a 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt per lemon.  In a few weeks I will have a delicious concoction to cook with and can't wait.  Like I said be on the lookout for them to add a little brightness, color and flavor this dreary time of the year.

Take care all

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