Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Birding

After an awful week with work deadlines and responsibilities at home, I was looking forward to getting some birding in this morning with Alan with our first stop being Upton for the reported Louisiana Waterthrush spotted by both Nick and Justin the past week or so.  We'd get to the spot Justin told us it would be and be perplexed over the tiny trail of water coming from the nearby brook as it looked more Northern Waterthrush habitat vs. Louisiana.

   And after only a few minutes it wouldn't take long to find the Louisiana which made for the easiest of this bird we've ever gotten, but the habitat still continues to perplex me.

 After that we'd head back to Millbury and to Brierly in hopes for my FOY Black-and-white Warbler as well as an early Northern Parula which would be a FOY for both of us.  There'd be quite a few Yellow-rumped Warblers here which once again messed with my head with it's song as well as a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  Soon enough we'd get to the spot the B&W's normally are and sure enough we'd get it!  It would be this area I'd hear a bird nearby that sounded like either a Warbling Vireo or Purple Finch to me and after a little patience we'd be rewarded with the bird in question.

And that bird would turn our to be a female Purple Finch.  Love this photo as it makes the bird look as if it got jipped of its tail!  It would be here I'd think of Fran and the first year I started birding and I'd hear a Warbling Vireo at Oxbow and wanted to call it, but didn't have the confidence as I got the vireo mixed up with the House Finch all the time.  For the rest of the trip whenever we heard the vireo Fran would ask me what it was and I'd be right which helped me in my confidence.  I think he'd be rather pleased with my progression and think he had a lot to do with it!  It would also be here we'd get a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher as well as a bird sounding an awful lot like a Northern Parula.

And sure enough that's exactly what it was.  The shot isn't the best obviously but we're talking warblers here and I was happy to see it without the leaves that will be our nemesis in the next week or so!

We'd both call it a day to take care of things on the home front and it wouldn't take long for us to reconnect again via the cell phone after Steve Arena's post on MassBird regarding the Northern Lapwing he found at Bolton Flats!

House tasks could wait as he picked me up as we headed there hoping the bird was still in the area.  Our confidence would be boosted when I sent a Facebook email to Jessica and sure enough she was on the bird with Justin and his family.

We'd see them heading back from the path toward their cars and they all saw the bird but a Red-tailed Hawk flushed it back to the marshes and out of view.  Doh!

There'd be quite a few birders already there hoping for better views of the lapwing which seemed quite happy wherever it was which was not close to us.  This would give all of us the chance to do some other birding while waiting for the birds return including quite a few raptors like the Cooper's Hawk dot in the photo above!

As well as a couple of Black-capped Chickadees being absolutely adorable as they gathered nesting materials nearby.  Swoon!  Alan and I would stick around for close to 2 hours and never get the bird so hoping it decides to stick around as I really want this bird!  It may sound corny but I had no desire to try for the lapwing this past winter as I pegged it as a "goner" with the winter and chasing birds that don't have much of a chance for survival always makes me feel sad even if it's a bird to add to my life list.  This one has a chance which makes the bird even more special-especially since it's Worcester County of course.  Let's cross our fingers that it's not just a "one day wonder"!

Take care all.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I'd do very little birding this weekend as I'm doing an official spring cleaning this year and doing so now vs. May when I don't feel like doing anything but birding.  Despite not being out much I did get some nice FOY's with three of them being Bolton Flats yesterday late afternoon with Alan.  We'd run into Dale and then Dawn and she'd stick around so the three of us birded.

There'd be quite a few shorebirds including the Dunlin above who would fly to the other area the lone Least Sandpiper was at as well as three Pectoral Sandipers.

Great photo Alan took through digiscoping of the Dunlin and as you can see they're still rather drab looking but pretty just the same.

Another great photo of Alan's which was the Least Sandpiper.

We'd also be lucky enough to spot the Virginia Rail nearby.

Before it lurked back into hiding!

Another highlight would be a hovering Osprey which is always nice.  Despite it being a tad "brisk" outside it was still nice to get out for fresh air after spending most of the day cleaning.

I had to head to Home Depot today and decided to go to the one in Shrewsbury to allow me to bird a couple spots in Wetborough with one of them being Sueasco where I'd spot one of the two Brown Thrasher's as soon as I got out of my car.  I'd have him right where I wanted for a photo until a large poodle came barreling down the path barking away which scared the thrasher back into cover where he is in this picture.  Welcome to spring in Westborough!  Seriously think these folks walk their dogs more than any other in Worcester county as the place would be packed with them.

Next would be Mill Pond where I wouldn't see much except two Canada Geese including the funky looking one above.  At first I thought it was my eyes with the sun and then I thought hybrid but it never gave me that vibe so am thinking it's a little leucistic at the top of the head.

I'd head to Big Chauncey next and would hear the familiar and missed call of "sweet' sweet, little more sweet".  Despite it clearly being  a Yellow Warbler, song,  I'd question it considering it's still April but soon enough one would pop out for a record shot.  I'd have three of them all together and think this is the earliest I've ever gotten this bird which was nice.

The place would be packed with warblers including quite a few Yellow-rumps like the one above.  Should note I got my bins on one for a quick split second before it flew off and at first glance I could have sworn I saw a yellow throat so I'd spend a considerable amount of time trying to re locate it.

Which of course I never did so figure it's another case of "wishful thinking" on my part!  I did see a butter butt on a horizontal branch with moss and there'd by dozens of tiny, flying insects around which the bird was inhaling!  I'd look up a half glass more and right along side it would be a Savannah Sparrow making it a first for me to have these two birds together in one view which was nice considering I've never seen a Savannah behaving more like a warbler!

And of course, there'd be quite a few Palm Warblers like the one above.

The trend of bizarre finds would continue as I'd see one long drake Ring-necked Duck hanging out with two Mute Swans as if they were a family.  So funny seeing how small he looks compared to the swan.

I'd search around for his flock and wouldn't find any so don't know what his deal is but he appeared healthy and was eating so maybe he got stuck somewhere and is doing migration alone.  Of course while watching them two people in a boat would wind up going right to where they were and actually shoot out their fishing line directly toward the swans and ducks.  While I'm by no means a fan of these swans as they've taken over many of the small ponds our native water fowl inhabit I couldn't help feeling angry as the ignorance of some people never ceases to amaze me.  Between that and the woman trail running with her Ipod at full blast I consider the gift of birding even more precious as it's nice to be aware of the feathered friends who share this earth with us.

Take care all.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Birding Lancaster, April 2013

Note:  If you are looking for the Bradley Cooper pictures (and I know there are many with all the hits on my blog the past couple of days, it's the post below this one as I bird more than I celebrity stalk ;-) ).

I headed out to Bolton Flats with Alan today as I had the day off due to my car being in the shop which worked out well considering Dale reported a Glossy Ibis there yesterday afternoon and both of us were hoping it would stick around!  It wouldn't take long to hear the Blue-gray Gnatcathers along the path as well as a couple of Ruby-crowned Kinglets and of course the many Swamp Sparrows.

Alan would spot the Ibis all the way to the back of the flats so after a scope view, I'd attempt a record shot of course.

Which as you can see came out pretty lousy!

Alan would attempt one next via digiscoping and as you can see it came out much better!  We'd call a couple people including Justin  as he was out at Bolton the evening prior and struck out so he was on a mission for the bird so called to let him know it was there so we waited for him (with kids in tow) to make sure we could stalk it for him to make it easier for him to get on the bird.

Alan would head back to his truck for the adapter to his camera which lead me to the task of finding the Pectoral Sandpiper and the pressure was on considering I still consider shorebirds to be one of my toughest birds to ID's besides waterfowl but after a while I'd spot what I thought was one and anxiously await Alan's return from the truck to confirm it.  Sure enough I was right which made me very happy as it would be a FOY for both of us.  Slowly but surely the shorebirds get easier.

Next would be Pine Hill Road in search of the Vesper Sparrow and hopeful Ruffed Grouse which I'd strike out on again so it appears as if the grouse is a nemesis bird of mine for the year.

We did get 4 Hermit Thrushes though (FOY for both of us) which was nice as we didn't really expect it here.

As well as a couple more Ruby-crowned Kinglet's with one sitting still for a split second for a lousy photo!  Other highlight in this area would be the MANY Field Sparrows and well as an American Kestrel and an Eastern' Towhee a little further along the way.

And then finally the bird we came for which was the Vesper Sparrow which would be another FOY for us.  Pardon the lousy photo but it was the best I could manage.  We'd head out to run an errand Alan needed to do and I'd be thrilled to get my FOY Wild Turkey on route 495 as one would fly across the highway somewhat low which caused my heart to stop momentarily as I'd never seen a turkey do that before.  I'd look in the area it was headed and see two more of them perched in some trees which was also pretty bizarre.

The only other bird I bombed on as my car isn't ready yet is the Northern Shovelers at Institute Park so hoping some make a stop at Bolton in the next couple months as I won't be able to try for it tomorrow and don't think I'll be lucky enough to have it stay over the weekend.  One other thing I should note is I was introduced to a beautiful song this afternoon while doing yard work.  It was very rich and musical in the beginning and at the end it would remind me of a Chestnut-sided Warbler with it's (Meet a-yoooooo) at the end.  I'd pish it would and be thrilled to see the beautiful voice belong to an American Tree Sparrow.  You learn something new every day.

Take care all.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

ABSCAM Movie Filming-Downtown Worcester, April 2013-Bradley Cooper

Yes I know this is not bird related but wanted to share with all you local folks as well as those at work and the best place for me to store my photos is my blog.  I would have posted these yesterday but with the horrible, senseless, tragedy yesterday at the Boston Marathon I just didn't have the heart.  My thoughts and prayers go to all those impacted and hope they find the b*stard(s).

So with that said, yesterday downtown Worcester was the craziest I've ever seen it in the 15 years I've worked there with the filming of the ABSCAM movie that is still un named but includes stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and supposedly Robert DeNiro!  The picture above is a couple of the cabs used in the movie

Fare information on one of the cabs above.

Another cab and this one from the early 50's I believe

Front view of it

And fare info for the cab and as you can see inflation really hit in the 70s when it came to cab fare!

Cars lining up along Main Street waiting to shoot the scene

One of the extras and I'm convinced I saw this guy on Adam 12!

Channel 13 is now the Baronet and based on the movie sign I'm guessing the movie takes place in 1978 as that's when Blue Collar premiered.

More store fronts getting worked on

Another store front

A fake wall they put up

Some signage from the wall with 1977 as the date so there goes my 1978 theory!

The war on drugs 70's style!

This is Woosta Pizza but you wouldn't know it especially with the NY number.  According to the manager, Bradley Cooper used this as his dressing and make up room.  Speaking of Bradley Cooper I do have pictures of him of course!

Fight scene

Bringing down the bad guy!

Another scene

Some of the extras

More of the extras

One of the cars used in the movie

Bradley Cooper getting ready to shoot again but closer to us this time.  Photos came out awful as they didn't want people on the street so I got this from the office and the window and lighting was awful.

More extras with Bradley Cooper

Check out the Corvette and Cooper's winning smile!

Being animated.

Enjoying himself

Back view which really shows off the fro they have him in.  HA

Another actor getting his make up done which leads me to believe he has a speaking roll so keep your eyes out for him when the movie premieres.

The guy in the cowboy hat is an actor too and he also shot a scene near the Commerce Building so keep your eyes out for him as he probably has a significant, minor role.

Hailing a cab as part of the movie scene

Calling it a day.  Rumor has it Christian Bale was in our building today for filming as both the FBI headquarters and interrogation rooms are being shot in our building but security was super tight today so no chance in seeing him.

Anyway, just thought I'd share as there's not much else going on this week so far!

Take care all.


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