Sunday, December 16, 2012

Worcester CBC

Alan and I did his circle of the Worcester CBC yesterday with the first stop being All Faiths Cemetery in Worcester.  This has been a very reliable place for puddle ducks in years past including the rarer ducks like Wigeon, Northern Pintail and Green-winged Teal but wouldn't you know the waters had none of them.

We'd be very happy to get our first Red-breasted Nuthathces who responded very well to the recording of their call, in fact, they sounded downright pissed and they let us know!  HA

We'd see quite a few other passerines as we did the mile loop walk around the cemetery including three Common Redpolls like the one above which is always nice.

There'd also be quite a few Hooded Mergansers who we'd find out as the day progressed would be one of the most common ducks we'd encounter which isn't at all surprising and always nice as they are such handsome birds!

Our next stop would be Notre Dame Cemetery in Worcester which would be rather quite until we ran into a pocket of mainly sparrows including two American Tree Sparrows like the one above.

The next stop would be another small body of water across from train tracks where the wind was so fierce I could only last five minutes or so as my body was so chilled I was shivering (1st time this year I've done that).  I needed coffee and warm food and I needed it quickly. ;-) (but not before hitting the golf course for a Northern Mockingbird and three Flickers of course!)

So we'd make a Dunkin's run and then  head to St John's Cemetery hoping for American Robins considering we had none as of yet and it was making me neurotic.   At first all would appear quiet until Alan pulled out the scolding chickadee tape and suddenly the area became alive with pockets of curious birds trying to find out what all the fuss was about including many Dark-eyed Junco's like the one above.  Highlight of that stop would be three American Robin's and believe it or not those would be the ONLY ones we got all day.  Mind boggling I tell ya!

The next stop would be one of the ones I was looking most forward to which was downtown Worcester for my beloved Peregrine Falcon's.  We'd spend some time there and see the few Ring-billed Gulls but no falcon so resigned ourselves to the fact we'd have to come back later in the day to get it.

A quick stop at Coes Pond on our way to the Worcester Airport.  Highlights were quite a few Hoodies and a couple of Mallards.

Of course our side of the airport would be pretty quiet with no American Robins or Pine Grosbeaks with the only highlight (aka new bird for the day) would be a Cedar Waxwing.  We'd head on over to Nick's side (not to poach of course), but rather admire the assortment of birds on his block like the Pine Grosbeak above.  Swoon.  Don't think I could ever tire of this bird.

We'd head on out to Leciester next and keep our eyes out on yards for bird feeders or course and while there were a few here and there the most interesting thing we'd encounter is Fluffy here on the roof to his house.  He'd be up there all regal looking as he soaked in the sun and took in the day so guessing this is a daily ritual for him and something he looks forward to.  HA

We'd hit the reservoir in Leciester and be happy to pick up three new birds at this stop including quite a few Eastern Bluebirds a Golden-crowned Kinglet and this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker above.  The other highlight would be more Red-breasted Nutcatches who once again responded very well to plays of their call.  One target bird we didn't get was Red-bellied Woodpecker which was driving both Alan and I crazy as they are common CBC birds but not for us it appeared.  Side Note:  According to John's count data we had record count data for many woodpeckers yesterday including Downy, Hairy, Pileated, Flicker and the Sapsuckers which I thought was pretty cool!

But soon enough it was time to head back to Worcester for the Peregrines.  At first we didn't see any trace of them which didn't sit well with either of us as we would have been mortified to get back to CBC headquarters and not deliver the expected count but soon enough the male would grace us with his presence as Alan would spot him on the corner for the Bank of America Building.  Swoon!!

He wouldn't stay there long and would take to the sky chasing pigeons and a few minutes later he'd score himself some dinner and eat it at one of his favorite spots on the Bancroft Building.

Digiscoped picture Alan got of him (Swoon).  He'd be acting his goofy self and hopping around but we never were able to tell what he was eating but guessing it was pigeon!

We'd do our last stops at the same places we started the CBC with the final one being Notre Dame for the crow roost.  As we were driving we'd see hundreds of crows headed in that direction but have to admit I was taken aback by the sheer volume of them as we drove through the cemetery.

The crows would be pouring in as some flew above head and others cawed loudly in trees.  Alan was headed toward the area the Northern Pintail like to hang out and I barely remember getting out of his truck telling him I'd meet up with him later as I wanted to drink it all in and get some photos.  I'd put my video on in attempt to capture it all as I walked around the commotion in a trance like state captivated by the sound and sight.  I'd see two crows chasing one another as one did a corkscrew like dive to avoid capture, others had food in their bills and they'd fly to the waters to dip it in for better eating which would be a couple of highlights.

A sample of what I heard.  Should note we also got a Fish Crow in the mix that both Alan and I heard despite being in different areas.  My camera would finally die so I'd snap back to reality and realize I got out of the truck somewhere smack dab in the middle of the cemetery instead of close to the water like I thought I was at.  I'd make my way back to the truck and still see the crows still filtering in and would realize this would be the highlight of the day.  Roosts of any kind have always interested me but crow roosts even more so as not only as it a feast for the eyes but ears too!

We'd head over to Broad Meadow Brook for the compilation and pizza and also do some socializing which was a perfect end to a wonderful day and you really couldn't beat the weather!

Take care all.

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