Downtown Worcester-Peregrine Falcon update and other tidbits
I figured it was time to do a Peregrine Falcon update considering it's been over a month. I went over to the Peoples United building this morning with hopes I could hear begging chicks but it wouldn't take long for me to realize its easier said than done as portions of the side walks are closed with work being done to open Union Station as the new bus hub June 1st. Add to that all the noise from traffic and heavy machinery and couldn't hear much. I did see the male Peregrine Falcon take off from the BOA building and land on the cross for a few seconds and then fly into the area I believe they are nesting and not reappear for the time I was there so taking it as a good sign. At this point all I can hope for is the chicks to start walking and doing so on the side facing Front Street so I can get looks at them from the 24th floor and I also think I'll be able to hear them there too as I'll be much closer. I'd make my way back to work when my eyes would notice something on the ground. I'd get closer and my heart would sink as I realized it was a dead Black-billed Cuckoo. :-(
I really wanted to examine it more and even thought of picking it up and asking Tufts if they wanted it (imagine the look on my co workers face as I walked past reception!) I'd decided otherwise as a policeman was giving me the "hairy eyeball" with my bins and camera so took one photo to see if I could see any trauma to the bird and don't so guessing it's a window strike. I've been thinking of this bird off and on all day and has left me in a funk. The perils birds face on a daily basis is often forgotten and I've seen dead birds before in downtown Worcester but this one bothers me most as its such a neat and secretive bird and I'm mad it had to die in such an undignified way. :-(. The only good thing about dead birds is you can really examine them and I'd be taken aback at how large it seemed as I've only seen a Black-billed once and much of its body was covered by tree branches.
I'd decide to do some birding after work to help get me out of my funk and hit South Main Powerlines in hopes for a Yellow-billed cuckoos as both are moving through and had one here before so was hoping to hear AND see one alive and well. Bird song would be all around me and I'd pick up my first Wild Turkey in this spot which was nice as I saw it in some brush and it would wait for me to pass by before getting back on the trail and crossing the street.
The Eastern Towhee's would be out in full force and I'd be happy to see my first female of the year looking as classy as ever.
There'd be a battle of the songsters going on as American Robins, Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were singing at once making for a nice practice session on the ears.
I'd be able to get directly above a grosbeak before he flew off and while the photo is lousy I love it as it shows what the bird looks like underneath which is just as cool close up as in the air.
I'd walk along the trail and noticed a bird that looked different to me in flight and was lucky enough to see it land in a leafy tree so stopped to see if I could re locate it with my bins. I'd walk a little closer and suddenly hear the loudest song of an Eastern Wood-peewee I've ever experienced. I'd walk closer to where the sound was coming from and realize I was heading in the direction of the flying bird. Suddenly I'd spot my mystery bird and realize it was he who was singing the peewee call right out in the open and out of tree cover!!! The view in the picture above is how I saw the bird with my bins and even though it was singing I didn't believe it at first as it was the best "tail view" I've ever gotten of this bird and right out in the open. Love this picture none the less as it shows the "dusky vest" Sibley refers to.
Flying over across the powerlines and out of view but managed a crappy photo where you can see its dark head and a trace of the distinct wingbars I saw really well with the bins.
No sooner would I be walking away from the peewee and I'd see a Baltimore Oriole flying above and landing in a shrub. I'd want to get on the bird as I thought it was a female by the color as it flew past until I relocated it in the shrub and saw this.
This would really throw me for a loop as I've seen juves like this but it's far too early for them so posted the pics on Facebook to get feedback from others and I'd be given this link which is pretty nifty. Come to find out female coloration can vary and this is a she! Swoon, this is why I love birding as you learn something new everyday you get out there.