Thursday, May 31, 2012
The problem would be the hare was far too big for moving! Clearly frustrated he moved to the top of the neighbors garage and perched for a bit as the mockingbird continued to dive bomb him. He'd look over at me from time to time but I wasn't going anywhere as the other neighbors orange cat was in my yard about 10 minutes before that so thought he may still be around so wanted to be an extra set of eyes for the hawk. After a while he'd come back down and start on his dinner.
I'd wake up this morning and could hear the robins making the same chipping note so look out the window and the Red-tailed Hawk would be back for some morning breakfast which consisted of leftovers of course! The mockingbird would be back mobbing but this time I just looked from the porch and after a while he carried the hare off to feast in peace I'm assuming. A highlight of my week by far and it just goes to show you how much fun birding can be in your own back yard. I'm making it a hobby every night now and something I look forward to doing after a long day at work.
Take are all
This morning I'
Saturday, May 26, 2012
It would still be semi dusk by the time I got to Bolton Flats and all of the birds would be up by now and singing up a storm including the American Bittern nearby which is such a nice sound to hear first thing in the morning. I'd get out of my car, put on a ton bug spray and then prepare myself for the hike through the swamp for my two target birds, the Common Gallinule and Marsh Wren's.
So on would come the old hip boots and I'd also be sporting a back pack to put my camera and cell phone in just in case I fell in the swamp which I have the potential for considering how clumsy I am! I'd take my time and bird while I made my way down the path. It wouldn't take me long to hear the now familiar "PizzA! of the Acadian Flycatcher. My ears would tell me it was close by so searched for it.
And there it would be in plain view but terrible lighting as the sun was still so low, but I'm really starting to like the silhouette pictures if anything to get an appreciation of shape vs. color which is how you often see birds when birding.
And speaking of flycatchers there would be quite a few Willow Flycatchers as I made my way toward the T including the one above singing up a storm.
But soon enough my primary passerine birding would end as I entered the swampy, murky water in hopes for the Gallinule and wrens. The water would be deep in some areas and visions of a couple of years ago with Alan would come back as I tried to recall the more challenging areas of the trench. I'd make my way to the island and search trying to remember the directions Alan had given me via email. Hmmmmm.....Something about the beaver dam and cattails and I'd look and see neither. I'd survey the area again and realize he must have meant the T so headed back but not before noting seeing a Wood Duck and Hooded Merg together (both females) that I thought was rather interesting.
I'd be in deep concentration trying to head back to dry land and come across a branch or something and start to lose footing so grabbed onto some tall grass and as I did this I could feel something hit my boot hard just above the knee. My reflex would take hold as I screamed like a girl and get a full case of the wussification woolies!! Remembering how I scoffed such females on my Facebook page just a couple days prior I regained my composure hoping no one heard me as that would be down right embarrassing, especially if they were a Facebook friend as they'd call me on my hypocrisy ! I'd then realize I was stuck something fierce in the mud and the woolies would return so I did what I often do when stuck in a sticky situation and that is whip out the binoculars to get my mind off of my current encounter if only for a moment. I'd be glad I did because I would see a Red-winged Blackbird chasing after and dive bombing a fierce bad ass Wood Duck (you all know how vicious they can be, HA)! I'd make my way further down the trench and get stuck again and now my calm demeaner was diminishing. F*ck, I'd yell and fairly loud through gritted teeth. I'd better get this damn bird after all this I'd think to myself, talk about working hard for a bird.....I'd make my way a couple more steps and start sliding again when I'd hear it. "Cow Cat"........Hmmmmmmm..... a Ring-necked Pheasant.. Another FOY bird I'd think....... hell I'll take it even if it's iffy. Id' then remember what happened last time I got the pheasant and how I didn't get another FOY birds for at least a month and how convinced I was it was a curse. Nah, I'd think, just a coincidence that's all I'd reassure myself as the gallinule is a given surely it is and it must be higher on the taxonomic hierarchy that the pheasant I'd reassure myself yet again as I tried to remember the structure in my Peterson guide......
And this Tree Swallow just preening and chilling!
And of all things a Pileated Woodpecker! I may be mistaken but I believe this is a Bolton first for me.
The sun would be out by now so the butterflies would be out as well. Now that I was on stable land I called Alan to confirm my suspicion on the T entrance and sure enough that's exactly where I needed to go all along. HA. While I was happy there was still hope, I'd dread having to venture back out in that water but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, especially when ones last bird is a Ring-necked Pheasant!
So off I went as I passed by yet again more Willow Flycatchers.
And one of the many Yellow Warblers.
I'd make my way toward the T and decide to go left to see if I could skirt around the deepest part of the trench as I remembered how murky it was last time I was there and wanted to avoid it if possible.
I'd be happy to be on dry land thinking I was clever and come across this little friend. Hmmmm, wonder if this was the bloke I literally bumped into just a half an hour or so ago. ;-)
I'd be in my element at this time as I'd be in an area of Bolton I'd never really explored before and there was a lot to take in, including an Osprey nearby as well as this rugged looking drake Mallard who looked as if he was in bad shape after a bad night of boozing it up! It would be here that I'd hear the now familiar "Cow Cat" of the Ring-necked Pheasant which would be my reminder to get a move on as I had places to go and birds to see!
I'd start toward the tree line and hear one of my favorite songs which is none other than two Savannah Sparrows with their "take, take, take, take it eeasssy song and happiness would once again take hold and optimism would take over. I'd get closer to the area and realize the vegetation was far too thick so had to go back to square one and start over again.....So much for your genius idea I'd think as the Pheasant would crone nearby, almost laughing at me.
I'd finally make my way into the trench which was so murky in the beginning that I was getting stuck at every step. I'd then search for dryer brush to land on which would cause me to get all wobbly with the uneven footing and it would be then that I'd realize a stick would be poking my shin. How'd that happen I'd wonder and I'd soon find out that it punctured my boot and I had a huge gash right below my knee. SHIT I'd yell and then hear the "Cow Cat". Analysis paralysis would take hold as I'd contemplate venturing further into the trench and wonder if I was in fact cursed by the pheasant. Hell, I've gotten this far so there's no turning back I'd think so off I went as water was getting into my boot. :-p. I'd get myself in a mess again and then I'd hear it......Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck, which would be the Three Stooges call of the Virginia Rails. I'd look around confused wondering where the hell they could be and then panic would take hold as I worried whether or not they had babies with them....I'd stand there paralyzed for a bit hoping a Sora would break my pheasant curse and that would never happen either so I headed back toward dry land in order to not traumatize the rails on a venture that was already proving unsuccessful.
Surveying the damage once I got onto dry land and realizing I spent close to an hour and a half in a swamp and never even saw the lousy beaver dam!..."Cow Cat"!
Yellow-throated Vireo on my way out..I'd also see a man in a crisp, clean white shirt and realize immediately that it wasn't a birder as what birder wears white! I'd realize at this point that I probably looked as ragged as the Mallard earlier in the day so tried to compose myself as best I could....The man would look at me intrigued and ask if I found anything interesting.......No, just a Ring-necked Pheasant and Acadian Flycatcher I'd reply back hoping I wasn't blushing too hard....
I'd get to my car, check myself out in my rear view mirror and not only have mud on my face, but in my hair too. HA, that guy probably thought I was swamp woman from the lagoon or something. So funny!
His very cool car..Heck, the thing was so tiny if I had a couple of ores I could have used it as a canoe and paddled myself to the gallinule. ;-)
I'd make one last trip to Sterling Peat in a desperate attempt for an Orchard Oriole to break the pheasant curse and the place would be dead except for at least 4 Spotted Sandpipers like the one below and their side kick the Killdeer
So there you have it folks, I'm cursed once again , I'm convinced of it! Will be out bright and early yet again tomorrow to see what I can do, but I don't have much to chose from. The birds I really need are the ducks and gulls (besides the Ring-billed) and they won't be back until after breeding season so I'm kind of in a pickle. Cross your fingers for me for the Worm-eating Warbler please as I have a date with him bright and early tomorrow morning!
Take care all
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Willow Flycatcher on the way out
It was still plenty early so I went to the other part of Bolton Flats (on the road that gets you to Oxbow) to see if I could get in that way as I wanted the Marsh Wrens and for the life of me I couldn't figure out where they'd be on the regular side (without waders), so was hoping for an entrance there, but I'd strike out on that too as the bridge was broken so it led to nowhere but what else is new. ;-). I did run into this painted turtle making his way to water though. Here he is giving me the hairy eyeball.
After a quick trip to Oxbow I decided to head to Pine Hill Road for the Vesper Sparrow. The sun would be out in full force and I'd be reminded how toasty the place can get during mid day which is normally when I frequent the place!
The regulars would still be out and engaging in song, including the Field Sparrows, Prairie Warblers and of course the Eastern Towhees, including the very handsome male below who was getting out of the sun and just chilling in the shade.
My last stop for the day would be Purgatory Chasm for the Red-breasted Nuthatch and realize it was a mistake as soon as I entered the parking lot which was jammed with people and mini grills and filled with spring fever. I'd make my way to one of the places the nuthatch is known to hang out at, but all would be quiet. I was figuring he and all the other birds couldn't take the zoo of people all around and headed further into the woods and I can't say that I blame them! After that it would be the spot in Sutton for the Grasshopper Sparrow and they didn't disappoint and there wouldn't be a soul around which was nice after Purgatory!
Sunday would be Quabbin and I'd get there for 7. The woods would be alive with song as soon as I got out of my car which is always a good sign. It would be a chorus of warblers including the usuals and finally after a while my FOY Blackburnian which is one of the main reasons why I went there besides a good hike to burn off the ice cream and beer I've been consuming lately!
I'd be majing my way through a path and would see a bird that would catch my eye as it was on the ground and didn't fly when I was near and was thrilled to see that it would be my FOY Purple Finch.
I'd make my way here and there, being lost in thought and birds which is so me so decided to take pictures of some of the sign marks just in case I got lost which is also so me, but that's what makes it so fun sometimes.
After all of the hiking my legs would start aching so I'd look for a spot to eat an early lunch (my birding staple which is a cheese and yellow mustard sandwich on cheap bread, YUM!). I'd find a small pond where all bird song would be quiet except for the blackbirds, so thought this would be the perfect spot.
Take care all
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I'd shower myself with OFF and head back for more birding and bird song had really picked up with many Black-throated Greens, Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers and one of my favorite songs which would be a FOY Winter Wren.
And of course the always numerous and always vocal Ovenbirds. Pardon the lousy photo and the ones below this. I'm finding I still prefer to bird with the bins vs. camera so pictures lately have been record shots if that.
I'd make a stop at the small pond with the snags to see what was around and it would be here that I'd hear an almost piercing, panicked sound. In fact, it sounded so sharp I thought perhaps it was an amphibian. After some scanning with the bins, I'd see who the culprit was and it would be coming from a nearby cavity where a Northern Flicker was entering. Not sure if it was the Flicker or its begging young, but I didn't see and fledglings begging all I could hear was the piercing sound until the adult flicker entered it so it was rather notable. Also notable was my FOY Broad-winged Hawk flying overhead as well as a FOY Brown Creeper.
A little further down the road I'd be happy to get my FOY Indigo Bunting. I'd be even happier that I'd know what it was by its song (this is the 1 bird in the past I just couldn't get no matter how hard I tried so its nice to know when one is making progress sometimes.
But then my inflated ego would soon be deflated as a bird somewhat close to the male Indigo Bunting would leave me scratching my head. It's not a warbler, vireo, thrush or flycatcher so what the hell is it I'd think.
The bird would be far away so I attempted one of my infamous crappy, faraway record shots none the less. It would then fly near the male Indigo Bunting so I'd get back to my car and open the Sibley's to see if it would be the female and based on what I saw I'm guessing that's who she is but I could be wrong.
And speaking of flycatchers I'd get my FOY Least as well. In fact, there'd be quite a few of them all along Coldbrook road. I'd pish one out for a photo and a look and even that picture would be lousy due to the suns position and my numb fingers as it was still rather frosty out even though it was already close to 8AM.
There would be lots of warblers of course including the MANY American Redstarts as well as a surprising number of Magnolias. One bird I was happy to hear was the Golden-crowned kinglet in the same exact spot Fran had told Alan and I about two years ago. It would remind me that even though Fran is gone, he still lives in many of us through his teachings and it's something I'll always be grateful for.
Another thing I'd learn today is that female American Redstarts do indeed sing as the little lady above would be busy in song which was a treat to see. Bummed to say I bombed on the Nashville and would also bomb on the Louisiana Waterthrush and Blackburnian Warbler once I did some birding by foot in Barre Falls so there's three birds I'll still be on the hunt for as I really want them considering I didn't get any of them last year.
To console myself over my disappointment I decided to head to Greene Road in Princeton for the Northern Waterthrush and Canada Warbler. I'd get out of the car and could hear the waterthrush immediately
After a while I'd finally get a good look at it and even manage a fairly decent shot of it singing which are my favorite warbler photos ever.
Wish I could say I had the same camera luck with the Canada. After some pishing and patience, the lovely male would finally show it's face which is a face I adore with those striking eyes and bold necklace. I'd finally get my camera on it and go click and the hyper bird would hop to the next branch before I could blink
It would only be 11AM and was still itching to bird more but realized I was thirsty and also remembered I didn't have my car which holds my water so was kicking myself for being such an airhead and not being prepared. I forget the two most important things for my survival in the wild for the day, bug spray and water, but of course I didn't forget my three bird guides as if I'd need them all, priorities ya know.
So made a quick stop for some bottled water and I'd also be eyeballing their home made muffin selection and cave and get a banana chocolate chip. So good and highly recommended if you're ever in the area and need some fuel.
I'd make a stop at kristoff Pig Farm and while there were the regular warblers, it's nothing like it is in fall for the sparrows. I could have lived there this past September and I still think of my beloved Lincoln's and how much I'm looking forward to seeing him again. :-p. Such a lovely bird.
I'd then make a quick stop at Sterling Peat where I'd get my Alder Flycatcher who wasn't very vocal and only wanted to do the first part of his Revere call (that's how it sounds to me). I'd pish him into view for a good but quick look but then he'd dart into shrub cover. I'd decide to spent some time looking for the Orchard Oriole and could keep hearing the flycatcher nearby so I'm convinced he was following me! No oriole though. :-(
While I was happy to have picked up 9 FOY's today, I was bummed about the ones I didn't get so decided to console myself with my favorite thing of all. Chocolate, not only chocolate but chocolate with ice cream which go together like salt and pepper, and peanut butter and jelly as far as I'm concerned.
Nothing like a very chocolaty ice cream sundae to help a gal forget about her problems and remind her that there's always next time.
Take care all.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
In keeping with my solemn vow to blog whenever a bird of interest comes my way, I'm happy to announce my second blog post for the year! It all started this morning when I was at Butler Farms hoping for a Cape May Warbler (Hey you never know afters yesterday's Bay-breasted!). All would be quiet as I watched the sky for raptors and listened to the Bobolinks when suddenly my cell phone would ring and it would be Alan telling me Bart found a Sandhill Crane at Bolton Flats. Suddenly the visions of the Cape May dissapeared as I headed to Bolton Flats in hopes for it as it's a bird that's been on my must see list for the past three years (that and a Worcester County Cattle Egret, just so you'll know ;-)
I'd get there and the place would be swinging as birds from all direction would be busy in song with the Yellow Warbler winning the showdown just as it always does at Bolton Flats this time of the year. It wouldn't take me long to hear the others including a Blue-gray gnatcatcher (FOY), and a FOY Willow Flycather as well. I'd scan the mud flats and corn field in hopes for the crane with no success but did find a couple Greater Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper which somewhat compensated for my disspointment as they too would be FOY. Another highlight would be two drake Green-winged Teal landing into the nearby water as well as two Northern Shovelers (both FOY).
Pardon the crappy shoveler record shot, but let me tell you the binocular view I got was fabulous! I don't think I ever really appreciated the beauty of that duck until today as I had so much time to kill waiting for the crane that it gave me time to just drink the bird in and appreciate it. Another highlight would be the Acadian Flycatcher Bart had posted about yesterday. I hadn't really given it much thought thinking it was probably migrating and long gone, but the little bugger was there and decided to have some fun at my expense. I'd hear it's piercing keet call and forget about the crane as I tried pishing it out with camera ready. After about 3 minutes with no bird or no call back I'd give up and go back to the crane and that's when it would make it's call again, just to screw with my head (this went on for about 5 minutes). I didn't have it in the parking lot but about 1/3rd into the corn fields if any of you are searching for it. Just be patient as it's not that vocal and can go minutes at a time without calling again which is why I didn't bother with an audio record.
After about a 1/2 hour or so I was thinking of calling it a day when I could hear what I thought was the Viginia Rail so I tried to pish it out. Suddenly I'd hear it's familiar Three Stooges call and watch it dart by quickly and indignant of my greeting. I'd try pishing it again and do my own three stooges call which is pretty bad, but the gullible rail bought it hook, line and sinker and replied back to me but wouldn't do me the honors of showing it's face again. I'd turn my head back to the corn fields and who would be naked eye view and fairly close but the Sandhill Crane of course!!
I'd stare at frozen for a minute as I contemplated whether or not I should first get my record shot, or savor it with my bins. I'd also wonder how long it was there and whether or not it was watching me make an idiot of myself with my three stooges call as I'm sure that would be a first for him when it comes to encounters with the human species!
The camera would win due to the fact it's a pretty quick walker and it was headed toward the tall corn, so figured I'd get some half way decent photos while I still had the chance.
Take care all