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.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails