Sunday, May 19, 2013

Brierly Conservation Area-The Gift that Keeps on Giving!

I'd head back to Brierly today with Alan in hopes for an actual view of a Swainson's Thrush and we'd get there early which would immediately pay off because as soon as we got out of the parking lot we'd be inundated with bird song with warblers being the main chorus.  I'd play my new game of ID the outlier and could have sworn I heard a Blackburnian mixed in with the crew and sure enough we'd get not one but two and great looks of one no less!  I'd also hear what I thought was another Canada Warbler (in a different area then when Dan spotted one) and we'd both be rewarded with a nice view of it so it's nice to know all my warbler song practice is starting to pay off!  We'd reluctantly leave the parking lot but we had places to go and Swainson's to see so off we went toward Mount Ararat where we'd be thrilled to get a Yellow-throated Vireo Alan heard as we made out way up the incline.  The other highlight here would be a very vocal Great-crested Flycatcher calling nearby.

We'd head back to the area I had my Swainson's yesterday as I'd remember it immediately due to a pink bib on the trail which was my bench mark yesterday on the birds approximate voice location and it would be then both Alan and I would see a bird fly from one end of the trail to the other, the bird would be rather still and we'd be shocked to see a bird that looked very much like a Swainson's at first glance.

As you can see in the photo above with those nice buffy spectacles as well as buffy cheek and the brownish gray overall on the back.

Pardon the photos as it was still fairly early so lighting was an issue but let me tell you, we both got killer looks of this bird as it stayed there on the log for close to five minutes paying no attention to either of us!  Swoon, this bird has now replaced the Black Vulture as my bird of the year as I never knew how sweet they are and can't get over how tame, in comparison to both the Hermit and Wood Thrush.  We'd linger around Brierly for a bit and then I'd take off on my own later in the morning and hit South Main powerlines in my annual tradition of checking for a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

I'd make my way down the path and my ears would be overwhelmed with bird song.  The weather was perfect and it would be then I'd realize I was at the spot I've yearned for since this cold, past February when birds were all singing at once and it felt like spring.  A Baltimore Oriole was close by and singing so lovely, I'd be shocked to realize a trace of tears forming in my eyes and quickly brush them away but what can I say,  I love my birds for so many reasons with song being number one (remember it was the Phee Bee song of the Black-capped Chickadee before dawn in my yard that first opened my eyes or rather ears to birds), so I guess that's my soft spot when it comes to our feathered friends.

I'd also spot an Eastern Towhee who'd be dead silent in some lower branches totally unaware of me stalking him which made to stiffle a giggle as he was just being him and so cute as he preened and looked around.

While I never did get my Yellow-billed Cuckoo I did get some really nice looks of many breeding birds including the Prairie Warbler above which is nice as this is one of my favorite warblers of all.

I'd go home for the lunch time lull and decide to lay down for a bit as I got up early and didn't fall asleep until fairly late the night before.  I'd have my windows open and could hear a robin singing nearby as well as the local Northern Mockingbird so I'd close my eyes and just listen to him as he belted out tunes of his neighbors.  Soon enough I'd drift off and be in "la la land" but kept waking up some to check the time as I wanted to get back out before the rain.  I'd have spotty dreams with the last one being my annual "I can't ID this bird" dream I seem to get every year and this one's a doozy like all the others.  I believe it was a bird club event as I'd be on a trail with a bunch of birders and would only know two (Alan and Kevin).  Suddenly I'd spot a bird and shout out to the others as I had no idea what it was as its butt was to me so wanted others on it before it flew off!  I'm lousy in my conscience life of trying to describe locations of birds so it would only ring true in dream land too as no one could spot it so they asked me to describe it.  Suddenly the small little bird would fan its tail like an American Redstart and then turn around and be speechless as this is what I'd see.

That's right folks, the face of the zebra of one of my favorite gums of all when I was a child (Bubs Daddy sour apple was number one).  I'd remain speechless as everyone was waiting for me to describe the bird but couldn't as I was too embarrassed and then the dream ended which woke me up of course and was thrilled to see it was a dream and not the "real deal".  HA  ;-).  Don't' know why I share some of the stuff I do with you really I don't but I guess it's to give you a better glimpse of my mind sometime.

Anyhow, I'd head back to Brierly and would see three Turkey Vultures flying by so take a quick look at them and continue to lock my car when I'd hear an almost grunt type noise coming from their location so of course I look as I've never heard a noise like that coming from a TV before.  And the reason I wouldn't is because it would be a Fish Crow all by itself and doing it's distinct call before landing in a tree nearby.  It seems as if Fish Crow sightings are a lot more frequent for many here in Worcester County this year and I'd be happy to have my second sighting already this spring.

I'd decide to do a little bush whacking in an area Alan and I are convinced is filled with fabulous birds we can't see from the main trail and it wouldn't take long for me to see one of the other pair of Chestnut-sided Warblers I've often wondered about as they were closer to the main trail in years past so it was nice to see they are still in the general area.  The rain would start to fall some so headed for the shelter of the woods as I didn't want to go home just yet.

Bird song would continue to dwindle the further I went into the woods and be replaced by light rain drops falling on leaves as I made my way around the windy mountain bike trails.  Two Ovenbirds would be nearby making contact calls to one another and I'd be in my element as both their faint, rapid chip notes and the sound of rain was nice on the ears after all the bird chatter just a few moments prior.  Soon enough the rain would pick up some and I'd remind myself it wasn't the best time to get lost so make my way back toward the main trail and to my car.

I'd be making my way back past the pond the beavers have made this year when my ears would pick up on something fairly distant but it was distincitive and would be the call of the Black-billed Cuckoo.  I'd stop for a bit as I wanted to hear all three of its coos and after a while and a little moving around I'd hear them all but it wasn't easy.

FYI, for some reason I can't post any of my YouTube videos directly on Blogger this evening so if you really want to listen to some lousy audio of the bird you can do so here Black-billed Cuckoo Millbury .

And lastly a very lousy photo of a bird which is now one of my favorite this year which is the Veery as I find them not at all shy and fascinating to watch long term with a pair of binoculars.  I'd find him on the main path where he'd take two hops and stop to look around (kind of robin like, but not as clumsy).  Anyhow I'd edge up closer to him waiting for it fly off and it paid no attention to me as it turned over leaf litter and even appeared to gobble up some leaves!  I'd finally call out to him to let him know I was coming though and the little bugger would fly right into a shrub nearby which pissed off a female Northern Cardinal so not sure if the Veery flew right into the Cardinals nesting spot but it made for an interesting way to end a fabulous weekend of birding!

Take care all.


1 comment:

Dawn Puliafico said...

I'm gonna keep my eyes peeled for the Fruit Stripe Zebra-headed rare bird of Worcester Co!

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