Thursday, May 23, 2013

More Spring Migration and the Invasion of the Cuckoos!

Despite having a full time job, I've managed to make the best of things by prioritizing my life which means work, birds and not much else as housework and cooking can wait!!  It would all start on Wednesday when I'd go on Facebook and see the bird radar of the North East showing lots of bird activity over night.  I'd quickly get ready for work and hit Brierly just to see if the radar was right!  No sooner would I get out to the car and hear a Blackpoll in my yard as well as another while driving to Brierly and song would be heavy in the parking lot as soon as I arrived making me very happy.  There'd be a singing Northern Parula, American Redstarts, Magnolia Warblers and Chestnut-sided Warblers and before I knew it an hour had passed and I'd remind myself I had to get to work.  I'd see Alan drive up and now I'm back near the brambles pishing more birds out with him and realized I needed to make an executive decision.  The decision would be to take an emergency half a day as I met all my deadlines the day prior so the half day would be my reward of course!!  It would still be early so I'd leave my boss a voice mail with an Ovenbird calling in the back ground.

There'd be all kinds of great birds as we made our way near the beaver pond including another Canada Warbler as well as the Green Heron I had there about three weeks ago.  It would be funny though as we were trying to pish a Mangolia when we heard this real strange call coming from the pond which was hidden by leaves.  After some patience we'd finally see who the culprit was and it would indeed turn out the be the heron as you can see in the picture above.

We'd also get this bull frog above with spots which was pretty interesting and worthy of a picture.  We'd make our way to the area I flushed the Barred Owl and to my amazement the pond I thought I just discovered turned out to be the back end of the new pond which has brought us all the fabulous birds this year!  So of course we have to trace it to see what else may be lurking and before you know it, I'm bush whacking through brambles and weeds with not only my work pants on but my work shoes!  After more exploring, I'd grudgingly go to work and besides some leaves stuck to my pants and a tick crawling through my hair while on a conference call, I was as presentable as I could be and actually managed to get a lot of work done so thinking I may need to do this more often!

I'd be at work Wednesday and Justin would post on the Facebook Central Mass Birders page about both a Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoo at the Cross Street Powerlines so off I'd go after work hoping for both.  It wouldn't take me long to hear the Black-billed but it was rather soft and sporadic so figured it had skulked more into the woods to get away from the a**hole dirt bikers who'd by flying around and making a ton of racket.  I'd spend some time wondering around and just listen to all of the breeding birds as I'm really into chip notes lately so it allowed me some good study.  Eventually the Black-billed sounded closer and soon enough he'd fly from one end of the road to the other and land in brush and call.  In fact at one point he flew so low he almost clipped my head much to my delight!  I'd call Alan and tell him the bird was not only calling but visible and sure enough the bird would continue to do both when Alan arrived.  It allowed for some close study of this birds behavior and made me feel better after seeing the dead one in downtown Worcester.


I'd wake up early this morning and go back to Cross Street hoping to hear the Yellow-billed and would again strike out on that but the Black-billed was still there and calling away which was the perfect way to start the day.  After work it would be off to Brierly hoping for a Yellow-billed there and I'd get one less than five minutes of arriving!  One thing I've noticed about Cuckoos is it's really hard to pinpoint their location when you are getting them by ear only but the one thing I've learned lately is if you can hear them and they sound far away, chances are they're not and you need to stay in the general location.  My patience would pay off as I'd see it fly across the trail so once again I'd call Alan to let him know we had Millbury Cuckoo number two and to get the Brierly as quickly as possible.  HA


Alan would arrive and we'd both get really good looks at the bird (in fact, one of the best looks I've ever gotten of one).  Wish my camera could have done it justice but what else is new!  The best thing about it is the bird actually did all of it's calls for me including one of my favorite sounds of all time which is their "knocker call"  Earlier on, I'd also hear both Barred Owls doing a duet which would be the first time I'd ever hear that so all in all a perfect way to end my birding for the week as it sounds as if we are about to get dumped with rain!

Last note is the number of Cuckoos not only in Worcester County this year but the entire state.  Will be interesting to see what the final number look like but as of right now it seems to be invasion of the cuckoos!

Take care all.

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