Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bolton Flats and Wachusett Reservoir

It's starting to become that time of the year again.  When bird song and activity starts to cease with most birds busy breeding and also the time I notice house dust bunnies or pizza sauce stuck to the kitchen ceiling can no longer be tolerated and I resign myself to the fact I need to spend more time on the home front and less in the woods to get stuff done before fall migration!  So with that said, off I went to Bolton Flats for 5AM yesterday to do some early morning birding.  The skies would still be dark as I made my way to the parking lot and would realize that big honkin puddle in the beginning of the parking lot was still there so parked my car near the side of the road, rolled my pants into my boots and trudged through the puddle.  It would be so deep I'm keep my car in this area as there was no way my car would make it so trudged back through the puddle and into the main fields.  The flooding wouldn't be limited to the parking lot as there'd be water all along the main path but the sound of the pumping American Bittern and other birds made me forget it as I went about my way and swatted mosquitoes.

The large puddle and my car parked to the side.  Yes we've certainly gotten a lot of rain this year!  I'd get toward the end of the path and be thrilled to hear the bird I came specifically for which was the Marsh Wren and it would be nearby for some decent recordings!

My first recording.  You can't help but to hear the Wood Duck which cracks me up.  The Marsh Wren was in the same area as the duck and I believe I startled the duck considering how early and dark it still was.

My 2nd best recording and this time a pissed off Mallard in the back ground!  I have learned that the dawn chorus is my favorite time to bird, but you pay heavily for it with 3:00 wake up times but it's the price that must be paid!

And lastly, a recording of some Song Sparrows nearby who appeared to be in the midst of a bar room brawl.  It would start getting light and I'd see one sparrow duck into the thick shrubs with another diving into toward it and then all hell broke loose which you will hear in my recording (funny because you can hear one try and break out into song in the midst of it).  Not sure if the begging young I hear in the middle of the recording are Song Sparrows but if they area I'm thinking I may have witnessed a lovers quarrel of some sort as the task of rearing young must be taking its toll by now!  I'd keep my ears to the right of the path in hopes of hearing one of the Least Bitterns but by then the mosquitoes would be fierce as they bit any part of skin I neglected to get with bug spray so off I went to a place with less standing water which would mean less bugs!

Which would be Gate 28 of the Wachusett Reservoir.  The dawn chorus would be done by now but that didn't stop the many birds from singing and giving me glances here and there.

Including the lousy photo of the Pine Warbler above.  I made sure to get a record shot of the bird as it was singing a song I'd never quite heard from this bird in that it dropped during the last part of song (kind of like a Wilson's Warbler)

You can actually see the drop in song in the sonogram above.  My guess it was still early in the day and late in the season and the warbler was only doing a half assed attempt of defending it's territory just to remind Pete 6 pine trees away to not even think of it!

There'd be other warblers out and about including the Prairie above scoring itself some caterpillars.  I'd hear a dry, rapid chip note coming nearby and ID it in my mind as a Prairie so pished it for confirmation.

And was glad to see I was right for a change!  The most satisfying part of learning bird communication are chip notes and hoping it comes in handy for fall migration!

I'd hear a bird in full song and at first glance I thought it could be an Indigo Bunting with the repeated notes but it just didn't sit right with me as it was too musical.  It would have some short introductory notes so next on the list was Baltimore Oriole as I've heard them do that before and that didn't sit right either so decided to do some recording.

You can actually see the beginning notes I'm referring to in my sonogram above.  After recording the bird I'd do some pishing and it wouldn't show its face so thought of a genius idea which was to play back the birds song I just recorded as each bird has their own unique way of singing so was curious to see if the bird would wonder who the impostor was!

And sure enough it did as it would turn out to be this gorgeous male Orchard Oriole!  Seriously threw me for a loop as I always notice the drop in in this birds song and didn't hear it at first but you can see it in the sonogram.

Another lousy photo but thought it was funny as I got the dragon fly in it as well.  HA

There'd be other birds out and about including the recently fledged Eastern Towhee above.
And this bird where at first all I could see was its face and I thought a small falcon of some kind until it moved and be embarrassed to see it was a young American Robin!  Never noticed the facial marking on recently fledged robins before but will be sure to remember it now!

The Brown Thrashers would be out as well for a nice treat as it would be a first for me for the month of June.

Flying away.

So now I sit here in front of the computer trying to will myself to the mop.  I'm in good company though with the singing American Robins and Baltimore Orioles who are parked in my mullberry tree as well as the Killdeer across the street.  There will be no birding today as I have a date with some much neglected pizza sauce.

Take care all.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Caspian Tern-Big Chauncey, Westborough

I had a 1/2 day at work today due to an ongoing two day headache so planned on heading home for some R&R to make it go away.  I'd get home and see a post by Nick on the Facebook Central Mass Birders page of his father finding not one but TWO Caspian Terns at Big Chauncey Beach in Westborough so off I went to try for them as Justin still had them so it sounded as if they'd do me the honors of sticking around.  I'd find my way to the quiet part of Chauncey Beach (away from the swimmers) and would see three birds close by so get my bins on them and could see one of the Caspian's right away but wouldn't you know off they'd fly!

Despite that- I'd still manage a quick record shot of them both!  The left and right with the Ring-billed Gull in the middle.  I'd curse to myself and be grateful I was quick with the camera but so wanted nice looks of them calm and on land.  That wouldn't be the case though as they spent the rest of their time flying over the water.

And coming in close enough for some half attempted flight photos.  Based on the photo I'm guessing this is the 1st summer.

While I was disappointed of the flight looks only, it did allow me a good amount of time to watch the two of them way out in the middle of the pond flying around together so took the opportunity to drink it all in and learn their overall flight patters as this is often how one sees them so appreciated the practice to be on the lookout next time!  The picture above is a good demonstration of the bird in foraging mode with it's bill pointed downward.

Highlight would be seeing them dive down to the pond for prey and then bolt back into the air again which is a good thing to look for when you're observing white birds flying far out over water as it's not typical gull behavior so can help you pick out the outlier in the flock as they would be flying around with the gulls here and there too.

The adult.   Soon enough they'd fly out of view and toward Chauncey Lake where all the dog walkers go near the soccer field so I got into my car to head over there to try and find them.  I really wanted audio of these birds and figured that area would be ideal with no nearby traffic to mess up my recording.  I'd get there and scan the water with my bins and wouldn't you know the little buggers would land back on the beach over where I just was.  Since I was there I figured I'd spend some time looking around Big Chauncey and would see a very cooperative Great Blue Heron nearby.

I'd slowly approach it anticipating a fly off but the heron paid no attention to me and went about its business.

Which would be scoring itself some lunch!

We'd be on the same wave length as he stalked his prey and I stalked him and if I'm not mistaken I'd be mirroring his crouched body movement.  He'd take two steps and I'd follow suit and when he stopped, I'd stop-to take a couple of photos of course!

Making for some pretty nice photos for my camera which is a rarity lately.  It would also give me the chance to record more birds making me happy considering it was mid day and the star would be some young Yellow Warblers in a moving flock with their parents.

I've been very lucky this year with calling young which makes for some much needed audio that often gets under recorded in the bird audio world as they can be tough if you don't see them and no parents calling (not to mention they almost whisper) and it's no wonder they are often given second thought.

In summary, while I was driving home from getting an awesome county bird, I'd wonder why the Caspian Terns were seen this late in the season and according to Peter Dunne's Field Guide Companion (my bible), fall migration (for lack of a better word) can happen among these birds as early as late June!  So when you stop to think of it this is the first of the fall migrating birds.  How crazy is that and just shows how time does fly.

So all in all a perfect way to take a 1/2 a day and my headache is gone!  Guess all I needed was a little dose of birding.

Take care all.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bush Whacking to Soule's Swamp-So That's where it is!

I'd head out this morning to do some birding and exploring with Alan so he could finally show me parts of Brierly I never manage to find myself with my tendency to get lost.  Alan like the true friend that he is would take pity on me and serve as my compass which is something I often need which is another reason why we make such a good birding team!

The first spot would be the real Shiner Hole and not the one that's on all the Internet maps as that's actually Soule's Pond but no one know's that but Alan and other locals so it's no wonder I was confused!  Shiner Hole would turn out to be this small pond of water-smack dab in the middle of the woods with some bush whacking required but would be in the same general area the heard (and the day after saw) Swainson's Thrush earlier this spring so now have a destination to go to next year when I try for that bird again.  Next up would be an obscure spot called Mud Hole which is shown in the first picture of my post.  Not much to look at considering it's hard to access with all of the over growth but I'd be thrilled to hear the Winter Wren in the area as I wanted Alan to know the spot considering he gets as excited about Millbury birds as I do.  We have this mission which is to find as many migrating and breeding birds as possible in and around town to avoid the chase up North we often partake in and after a few years of doing this we'd like to stay more local.  Plus it's always satisfying to know how many cool birds live in town and where to find them!

We'd finally make it to Soule's Pond and be very happy to know it is indeed the pond I've been going to all along.  Soule's Swamp was the other area I wanted to know how to get to and I'd realize I saw some of it yesterday so we stopped in the area briefly to see what was around.

The usuals would be about with a couple bonuses including the Great-crested Flycatcher above who was rather close which allowed for an attempted photo.  The other highlight would be hearing the Pileated Woodpecker I saw yesterday so guessing they are nesting nearby.

We'd make our way closer to the part of the swamp I had yet to see when we'd notice a bird land nearby and for the first time in a while, I'd be at a loss as to what it was.  Come to find out it would be a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird which would be a fist for me believe it or not (that may actually be a good thing though considering how parasitic they are!).  The host parent would fly in briefly but the little bugger would be too quick for an ID but had the potential to be an Ovenbird or House Finch.

And then finally Soule's Swamp.  We'd have to bush whack something fierce to get here but it would be worth it with tons of cat tails and no phragmites around making for some pristine habitat.  We'd find a large rock nearby allowing us half way decent looks of the swamp but vegetation is so tall this spot is more birding by ear than eye so that's just what we did.  Many of the usuals would be singing as well as at least one pair of Swamp Sparrows making for a nice find with it being breeding season so guessing it's probable they are.  No other birds of note which is perplexing with the habitat and potential for Least Bittern and Marsh Wren as well as the Virginia Rail Alan has gotten here in seasons past so will have to make this a regular spot to keep our eyes out for anything new.

It would also be here that I'd finally try out my new bird recording device above.  Woot!  I'd be itching to try it the entire hike through Brierly, but birds didn't seem as vocal as yesterday and I'm now getting to the point where the birds heard were the birds I've recorded over and over again so using discretion as I don't want to spam Xeno-canto.  I'd want to record the Swamp Sparrow though but knew the audio would be awful due to how far out the bird was so be thrilled to have a Red-winged Blackbird calling nearby with the sparrow singing in the background

Notice I will not suggest you turn up your volume as the recording would come out perfect with no manipulation what so ever in my Audacity software so am very pleased with my investment!

I'd get home afterwards all eager to listen to the songs I recorded and be reminded of the big Bicentennial Parade going on in Millbury today as lawn chairs and shiny, happy people littered the sidewalk.  I'd think nothing of it until Alan dropped me off and would realize my street was one of the drop off points for all parade participants with my street in utter chaos as people rushed to get ready for the 1:00 kick off.  People would be running around with excited chatter as I sat near my computer trying to listen to begging calls of a Tufted Titmouse and would realize it was no use as one of the marching bands started their practice round right IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE!

I'd look out the window and see this which was my que to grab my cellphone, binoculars, camera and recorder and head for the safety of some local, walkable woods nearby as driving wasn't possible with most streets blocked off.  I'd hastily walk out of town while others waked toward it and I'd realize the older I get the more anti social I become.  Most people like parades but I'm not one who likes crowds (unless they're birds or birders on good birds) so off I went to join my own flock!

The woods looked so inviting once I entered them and figured the further I went the less the noise and instead of drums, I'd hear the call of blackbirds but after a 1/2 mile or so I'd realize it was impossible as all the bands were in full swing practicing their numbers before show time!  The whole reason why I went into the woods in the first place (besides to just get away) was to try out my new nifty recorder but no matter what I did, the drums would drone and can't have that noise in my Xeno-canto recordings obviously!

I would make one exception though as there was a bird far out near water making a song/call I'd never heard before and it would drive me crazy.  The bird was fairly far out but could pick up the overall tone of voice as well as the phonetics which would be something like "He He Where Where"

Recording above and and not only will you hear the call/song in question but one of the MANY marching bands I could never escape!

I'd post my recording on the Xeno-canto ID Forum and get a response back of it probably being a Baltimore Oriole and after hearing other oriole recordings I'm convinced that what it is so it was nice to learn something new.  The other cool thing I'd learn on Xeno-canto was with another mystery bird I had this past week that turned out to be a Wood Thrush.  See High Pitched Call Forum Discussion for my recording in question as well as the wealth of information provided by Xeno-canto members of the high pitched alarm call all thrushes have but would only be introduced to them this year.

Take care all.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Searching for Solitude

Work's been really tough on me this week and won't' go into much detail except to say when I get home my brain feels as if it's going to burst and so heavy simple things like putting away dishes and sweeping the floors are too taxing so spent most of my free time staring into space getting ready for the next day of hell.  Not to mention another hefty car bill (this time a broken strut that actually crumbled when my mechanic got it up in the lift meaning it's been like that for a long time-so glad I caught it in time), and I'd be one defeated puppy.  It would remind me how tough it is to be an adult sometimes as the weight of the world is on your shoulders and all you want to do is escape, but reality sets in and you know that you can't.

A walk in the woods is permitted though and I'd ask my youngest son if he wanted to join me and be thrilled when he said yes (the highlight of my week).  We'd head to Brierly and I'd give him the binoculars while I had the camera and I'd be shocked to hear him ID birds I couldn't see without the bins and sure enough he'd be right with even a Downy Woodpecker call, which goes to show all the birding I do rubs off on my kids without them even knowing.  The highlights for him would be the singing of the Winter Wren as well as the "Who cooks for you" of the Barred Owl and the Beaver above.  I'd hear it's alarm call as its tail hit the water and he'd look at me perplexed and I'd let him know it was the local beaver and we'd be thrilled to see it was close by.  My son was so excited he proceeded to take pictures and post them on Facebook so think I've found a new way of bonding with him.

This morning I'd do what I thought about all week, which was hit the South Main Power Lines before sunrise to catch the first of the summer dawn chorus.

Bird song has decreased dramatically since May migration-but the breeding birds would be out and singing including the Eastern Towhee above who'd be singing it's usual song but an un-standardized version so of  course I had to record it as part of my new hobby!

There'd be another 3 or so Towhees all in the same general location and all singing the same song so not sure if it's the dawn song or not, but it was interesting to say the least.

Dawn song of the Eastern Kingbird above.  It would still be dark out when I recorded this and the powerlines would be alive with the sound of birds and bullfrogs all around as well as a wonderful breeze to help wake me up.  I'd get there before sunrise and be surrounded by inky gray skies and all the stress from the past week would melt away and it would be then I'd realize why I love birds as much as I do.  Relationships with people and even pets can be so trying at times as one often feels as if they give more than they take, but with birds they ask nothing of you except to give them the space and respect they deserve.  When the world is too much to bear all I need to do is look out the window and nine times out of ten, I'll find a bird to watch and will feel better seconds later.  You sure can't beat that.

After that it would be off the Brierly with my goal of hitting the same body of water I did last week, but this time the other side which never got the attention it deserved.

I'd do some recording here and there on my way to my destination promising myself I'd only stop for the unique including a Wood Thrush not only singing but calling as well.  Bird calls are now my number one fixation as they're tougher than songs and are heard year round, so it's in my best interest to learn them, so of course I'd hit the record button!

LOVE the "Thwak" call of the Wood Thrush and in looking at my Xeno-Canto records, this is the bird I've recorded most- in total appreciation of their song ability which you can see in the sonogram above.

I'd finally get to the small pond and birds would be everywhere.  I'd both hear and see a Pileated Woodpecker as it flew across the water as well as hear two Yellow-throated Vireo's making for a nice surprise.  Abandoned Heron's nests would be scattered on tree tops and there'd be both Green and Great Blue Heron's including what looks to be this first year above.  He'd land fairly close which allowed nice looks when suddenly an Eastern Kingbird would fly in and dive bomb him.  I'd have my binoculars for a better view as I watched the kingbird swipe at it's head and the heron would open its bill real wide in an effort to grab it I'm guessing.  I'd hold my breath the first few times hoping the kingbird would survive and after a few seconds I'd be reminded why this bird is called "Tyrannus tyrannus" as the heron didn't stand a chance against the kingbird.  The flustered heron finally had enough and would fly away as the kingbird followed suit continuing to dive bomb it as well as a Red-winged Blackbird who decided to join in on the fun, just to piss the heron off even more.  It would then that the sound of birds would be interrupted by the sound of moi letting out the only laugh of the week as I roared with it as I watched them fly on by.  I'd continue to bush whack and would hear many sparrows so stopped in an attempt to pinpoint where I heard a potential Swamp Sparrow who continued to sing sporadically the entire time I was there.

Song Sparrows would be about too including the two juves above who were so trusting of me I didn't have the heart to bush whack past them until they flew away.  They just looked at me curiously as I looked at them and my heart would swoon.  By then my cell phone battery would be close to dead but darn it I wanted a recording of the Swamp Sparrow.  I forgot the memory card to my camera at home so video was out of the question and after getting three confirmed calls of the bird I'd resign myself to the fact it wasn't meant to be as I headed on home for a much needed nap.  I'd wake up refreshed and would head to Best Buy where I'd proceed to buy a digital recorder just to capture the sound of birds.  And so begins the next chapter of the Curious Birder's many journey's.

Take care all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Peregrine Falcon Update (kind of) and Killdeer with their young

Decided to do a quick stop to check on the Peregrine Falcon's this morning and noticed both the adults have moved closer to the Front Street area of the People's United Building (in fact, the same ledge as last year when the female gave me a scare)-which I'm taking as a good sign of course as the juveniles must be walking around the platform area and becoming more active.

It wouldn't take long for the other falcon to fly near the platform to relieve the other which allowed me the chance to try and get a distant flight shot which is one of my favorite ways to photograph them.

By no means the best but will take what I can get.  Work's been insane lately with often no time to even eat lunch but would like to be checking on these birds at least twice a week now as fledging can't be too far off and would love to be able to document it like last year so stay tuned.

Birds and their young have been active on the home front too with some Killdeer living across the street with two of their young.

One of the adults who appeared to be looking for a spot to nest again.

As you can see in the photo above.  I'd also see another adult with two young but they'd never get close enough for photos and didn't want to chase them so went back Monday night hoping they'd be less camera shy.

And they would but still not the killer photos I wanted.  They'd be calling and squacking which allowed me to record them which I prefer to pictures anyhow so whipped out the good old Droid!  If you listen to it you'll hear faint Killdeer calls and those are from the young.  Toward the end you'll hear the adult's call becoming more rapid while the young came toward him and he fanned his tail in an effort to herd them it looked like (couldn't tell as I didn't have my bins-DOH!)  It was still interesting none the less and would be happy I could pick up the back ground calls of the Chimney Swifts too!

So with that said, it's nice to see two different sets of birds successful thus far with nesting this year.  All the rain we've had has made me very nervous for many birds as I have a feeling many will not be as successful as the falcon's and Killdeer.

Take care all.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Chipmunk Invasion & My New Love-the Wood Thrush

I'd wake up well before the sunrise this morning in order to do my new found obsession of recording birds so would be up at 3:45 with a goal of being out by 4:30 in hopes to pick up some birds singing their first morning song.  I'd question my sanity on why I was getting up at such an hour as I put the coffee on and could still smell the fire from my neighbor Tim's party last night and wouldn't you know they'd still be outside, singing the Eagles and drinking beer.  I'd remember those days and be glad I was about to start my day instead of sleeping through it like Tim and his guests most likely would.  I'd take some extra time to pack my bag with both food and water as the entire trip would be done by foot as my son needed the car so decided to head to Martha Deering which would be 5 miles there and back plus and additional 4 of hiking to equal 9 miles on foot so needed to make sure I had the calories to support it.

 I'd get to my spot where I always stop to look for a Least Bittern though I know the odds are low but do it just the same as you never know!  This has always been a quick stop by car so was happy to see a trail I could do by foot that would allow me to hike the whole length of the river to see what I could find.  There'd be no bittern of course but did pick up some Wood Ducks with ducklings as well as a Great-blue Heron.  Soon enough I'd be away from the river and deep in the woods with a powerline nearby and bird song would be wonderful including two Hairy Woodpecker's counter-drumming which allowed me the chance to do my first ever drum recording.  Wooot!

How cool is this!  Seriously, it seems as if a whole new world has been bestowed upon me since I made a goal of studying bird song more as I'd pick up on the counter drumming immediately and spend about 5 minutes recording them as one would drum, wait and the other would follow.  It always leaves me with more questions than answers as I try and understand what's going on between my chosen subjects.  Are they both males and defiending their turf or a couple who are drumming for contact calls?  I'll probably never know but it's fascinating to listen to.

I'd continue along my way and be impressed with all the provisions made on my newly discovered trail including the bridge above.  Not sure who did it but wouldn't be surprised if it were the Mountain Bikers in a way to connect Rayburn to Martha Deering to make for a nice, long ride.

Make shift rock cairn's along to create a whimsical touch.

By then the sun would start to shine and the earth awaken as I made my way toward Martha Deering.  Sounds of birds would be everywhere with peeks of sun shining in my eyes and the smell of the wet earth would invigorate me.  I'd pass more Hairy Woodpeckers, Eastern Wood Pewees, Ovenbirds and Scarlet Tanagers as they called from the tree tops and it wouldn't take long to hear the song of the Wood Thrush some distance away.  It sounded different to me so willed it to keep singing in an effort to get closer to it for recording.  After a couple of minutes of hiking I'd stop to let my ears tell me where it was and once again they led me to the singing bird.

Of all the things recording birds the past couple of weeks has taught me is how to really focus on the sound of the bird in relation to location.  You need to be as close to the bird as possible to get the best recording which requires intense concentration and forces you to slow down.  Once you get on the bird and start recording, you must remain completely still as any movement will interfere with recording.  I believe it is the stillness that wills the bird closer to you as you aren't fiddling with your binoculars or camera settings so the bird goes about its day unconcerned with your presence.  I'd spot the bird, hit record and be swept away by his song.

Don't know if it's because I'm more aware of song in general but this thrush sounded different to what I was hearing throughout the month of May.  Almost slower, more musical and spaced further apart.  Once I hit the reocrd button I focus only on the song of the chosen bird and hear nothing else so would be surprised my Droid could pick up on the Brown Creeper I didn't even notice until I ventured down the trail more.

I'd finally make it to Martha Deering and stop for a water breakbefore heading to Grafton and would notice that something had picked up since the wee hours of the morning which were the many Chipmunks who'd be calling from everywhere and making me crazy as it required more concentration in hearing the birds.  The other thing I'd notice were a lot of horse droppings along the path which meant watching where I was going  in order not to step in it as it would literally be everywhere so guessing Martha Deering and the Grafton Land Conservation has become a favorite among horse riders.

All would not be lost though once my ears got used to the Chipmunks and would hear and spot a Scarlet Tanager nearby who'd turn out to be the female above.  I'd get to an area where a Baltimore Oriole was doing an abbreviated song I've noticed since the first of June and wanted to record it but the relentless Chipmunks made it impossible and was highly annoyed.  Despite the noise it wouldn't take long for me to realize I had a Yellow-throated Vireo singing nearby making me very happy as it would be another June record for me in town which means potential breeding.

You will understand what I mean by all the Chipmunks once you hear the recording above and I'd hear this the ENTIRE TIME I was in the woods I kid you not!  Was happy just the same to get a recording of the vireo though.

I'd finally make it to the Grafton turn around point and it wouldn't take long to get good and lost.  I'd kick myself considering I knew these woods well when I was trail running them, but that was two years ago and realized I was over confident.  I'd get caught up in one of those mountain bike loops where I'd go around in circles trying to find my way out and be uncertain of how to get out of Grafton and back to Millbury.  I'd grumble to myself and knew one thing and that was despite the MassBird posts on lack of chipmunk sightings there is no shortage in my area and horses sure do sh*t a lot as  I took a nasty spill in some turning a corner!

I'd finally resort to whipping out the Droid which already had a low battery due to all the recording I was doing and go to the map section to help get me out of Grafton and wouldn't you know, it worked like a charm so will remember it next time as there will of course be a next time.  I'd hear another Wood Thrush the closer I got to Martha Deering and had to stop to record this one despite the low battery as it was throwing in notes I'd never heard before making it very recording worthy.

Notice the chipmunks calling in the back ground!  I seriously wanted to grab one by the tail and toss it across the woods at this point as not only was their annoying call imprinted in my brain after hearing them for 4 hours straight, but they were messing with my recordings no less-little buggers!

I'd be bone tired at this point and all my photos would come out lousy so would put away my camera and recording and plop myself on a rock for much needed rest.  It would be then I'd realize there were at least two Wood Thrushes nearby including the one above with food in the bill I'm guessing to feed young.

Going away.  I'd watch and listen to the two of them for a while and never realized just how tame these birds can be if you have the patience to remain still as they'd pay no attention to me after a while.  Soon enough I'd get back to Martha Deering and realize I'd done over 10 miles of hiking with another 2 or so to go.  Normally this wouldn't bother me as I'm used to 11+ distances but the most miles I've put in by foot this year was five and my lower back was protesting something fierce.  I'd use the last of my phone battery power to call my son and ask him to pick me up at "Little Dorothy (a pond nearby) as I wanted to go to the grocery store to get him his pizza rolls he wanted as well as the beer I craved after all that hiking.
I'd arrive at Little Dorothy bone tired and sit for the first time since 5am. I'd finally have welcome relief from the Chipmunks as none would be heard while I sipped my water and watched a Mallard with her ducklings nearby.  She'd keep them close to the vest and whenever one went astray she'd make this grunting type noise to call it back with its siblings.

I now sit here in front of the computer re energized as there are Killdeer across the street who've been around past few days so guessing they're setting up shop.  Will be heading over there for hopeful pictures ans audio.  Just cross your fingers there are no Chipmunks nearby.

Take care all.


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