Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bolton Flats Northern Lapwing-Three Day Epic Fail!

Alan and I would head out again this past Sunday in hopes for the Northern Lapwing considering we struck out the day prior so had hopes it would decide to show its much sought after face long enough for ID and a hopeful photo!

The parking lot would be full of cars once we got there with birders from all over hoping for the same luck which made us happy as the more eyes the better!  As soon as we walked down the path of the flats though we knew it wasn't around as people seemed to have their bins in various directions instead of intently all looking in one spot which is what we hoped we'd see.

We'd make our way to the area Kevin, Dave and John L were at and do some birding while waiting for the hopeful star of the morning.  Bird activity would be moderate including the three Great Blue Herons above.  It would be around this time I'd spot a bird that looked funny to me so got my bins on it to realize it was a crow mixing in the with a few blackbirds.  I'd make a vague comment to Kevin and then he and I would be thrilled to hear the call of a Fish Crow making it a FOY for both of us which will save me the usual hunt for it in November so this in itself was worth the trip to Bolton Flats.

Katherine Hepburn (aka Greater Yellowlegs) would be nearby in a puddle paying no attention to the ever growing crowd of birders.

It was a treat to see and I was happy with the sun in the position it was as it made for some nice reflection photos.

Next up would be an Osprey actually landing on the ground of the flats and Alan would see it had something in its talons and that something appeared to be nesting material!

Going toward the small pond to the left of the flats.

More Greater Yellowlegs flying overhead.  Others would have left by now as the lapwing was no where to be seen but not us as we're gluttons for punishment and stayed until 10AM.  There'd be a pair of Canada Geese that would go by every 20 minutes or so flying rather low and honking away which would make Alan and I look at each other and roll our eyes every time we saw it as it was starting to remind us of the movie Groundhog Day!  At 10AM we'd give up and head to Pinehill Grasslands in hopes for my nemesis Ruffed Grouse but of course that would be a "no go" as well.

I'd get home fairly early with the promise of getting more spring cleaning done but I was burnt out after the previous work week so spent most of my time on the couch watching Family Feud and snacking.  I'd be trying to figure out the top 5 answers to something that starts with S you order at a restaurant when I  noticed I missed a call from Alan which could only mean one thing-good bird and the hopeful lapwing!  I quickly hit re dial as my heart raced hoping for good news!  Alan would answer with "I'm in your drive way, the lapwing is back so if you want to go up there get out now as it's going to get dark soon"   Panic took hold as I realize I'm in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt that goes to my knees that reads "Tony Hawk-Skateboarding chick as I quickly throw my phone figuring I have a couple seconds to change the shirt and at least run a brush through my unruly hair-the sweatpants would have to stay.  I run to the truck in less than 2 minutes as we rushed to go pick up Justin who'd be waiting for us at the bike path.  I'd check myself over in the car mirror and quickly rub off some of the nacho cheese at the corner of my mouth from the nachos I was mindlessly eating just a few minutes prior.

We'd finally get there and see Kevin and could tell by the look on his face the bird was no where to be seen but the hundreds of tiny black flies were to welcome us back to Bolton Flats.  The two geese would fly by honking away and at this point Alan and I were so delirious from chasing the lapwing all we could do was laugh.  We'd head back home, admit defeat as this goes with birding and figured we just wouldn't get the bird and write it off.  I'd have a plumbing crisis Monday night so after dealing with the plumber and the clean up afterwards I'd be too spent to go online so would be dismayed when I woke up Tuesday morning and went online to see the frickin lapwing was seen Monday night when neither Alan, Kevin nor I would be there.

 I'd send an email to Alan asking him if he knew which he did allright as we was on his way back and this time with his kayak!  I'd glumly head to work and check the Facebook Central Mass Birders Page hoping for updates and see that Justin left without the bird and started getting worried about Alan as I knew he was out in the marsh by himself.  I'd get in touch with Justin who told me Alan was fine and only got lost twice and fell only once so felt a little better but still a little uneasy so was thrilled to hear from him after work even if he didn't get the damn bird.  After a couple of emails back and forth we'd decide to go back there one more time as the lapwing is mostly seen in the evening just before sunset so off we went again.

The place would be packed again with cars in the driveway but once again no lapwing.  The evening was lovely though with the warm temps and pretty sun with plenty to keep us occupied including some Tree Swallows who'd land nearby playing in the mud which was fun to see.  We'd also get about 5 American Pipits and a calling Sora which would be a FOY for the both of us.  After sticking around until just about sunset we'd call it a day and are both writing the bird off at this point as the waters all dried up and with that goes the shorebirds.  While I'm obviously disappointed- I'm already over it as this often goes with birding and there'll be something to chase next week or the next-though I do hope another lapwing gets reported in Worcester County as I'd love it on my list but can patiently wait.

One last note are two FOY's I picked up this morning before work at the dump of all places.  Warbling Vireo calling nearby and a Broad-winged Hawk doing it's "Tee TeeeEEE" call as it flew overhead.  Now bring on the warblers as I'm so done with shorebirds!  ;-)

Take care all

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