Sunday, June 2, 2013

Forbush Bird Club Trip-Rutland State Forest & Flycatchers are hard!

Alan and I attended the Rutland State Forest Forbush Bird Club trip that was lead by Donna and Dave where we'd all meet up at the Barre Falls Hawk Watch site and be rewarded with quite a few birds as soon as we got there.

We'd walk along Coldbrook Road some and one of the first birds we'd get would be the Indigo Bunting above and once again this bird appeared to be going through some form of transitional plumage with the gray and lighter blue than what I'm used to seeing on this bird.  Not far from here would be the first flycatcher of the day who'd turn out to be an Alder.  The bird would not only grace us with some decent views but fly onto the telephone wire as well for all members to admire.

And this is what we'd see as we were getting on the bird with it being above us and I remember looking at it through the bins and thinking the bird almost looked as if its head was shaped as a Grasshopper Sparrow.  I'd get the picture above on my screen and think the same exact thing and was almost hesitant to post it as the bird looks so odd so its amazing to get a different view of a bird that's normally a little above face level and hidden by cover so it was a definite treat.  Despite the poor quality photo you can still see the small eye ring and the white throat which are good field marks for this bird when your'e looking at it face on (so long as you've confirmed it by voice first of course).

American Robin's would be out and about including this one who seemed to like the hang out on the telephone wires as much as the flycatcher!  Notice the shadow at the end of the trail which you can see on the flycatcher as well so it's a perfect reminder of how lighting can really add things to birds that aren't really there as it almost looks as if its part of the plumage (especially the Alder IMO).

Lousy picture but the twosome is so bizarre I had to share it with a Northern Flicker to the right and Brown-headed Cowbird to the left.

We'd get to the next area of the trip where the Purple Finch's like to hang out and the place was alive with bird song including both the Chipping Sparrow and Pine Warbler above.  We'd really want a Purple Finch and I could have sworn I heard a bird in the distance with finch potential so off we went to investigate only to have another bird sing in the distance that I was determined to see as I thought it was a House Wren and found it odd considering we weren't near any houses so wanted to see if I was right (hey, they don't call them House Wren's for nothing!).  We'd confirm the House Wren when another bird would take it's place that sounded like "Chileck" and not "Chibeck" so now I'm creeping around all animated going through puddles and in the zone as I think it may be my much wanted Yellow-bellied Flycatcher!!  I'd finally get to the area it was and realize it was a sharp and rapid Chicbeck and not a slow and thoughtful Chileck and my heart sank but we were able to see the Least Flycatcher for a few seconds before it flew off again.  Birds would be calling from everywhere still and I could have sworn I heard a Blackburnian Warbler that had me all excited but was confused at this point with birds calling in all locations but wouldn't trade it for all the world as it's my favorite way to bird.  I may not be able to ID them all and I may get some of them wrong but the sound of birds singing is so nice and know pretty soon they will quiet down to raise their young so it was literal music to the ears.

And speaking of music to the ears, at another stop we'd hear a couple Black-throated Green Warblers which is always welcome and I don't think I could ever tire of their song.  Other interesting tidbit here would be two Eastern Phoebe's with food in their bills which we were guessing was to feed their young.

Bird song at our next stop would dwindle with only the always vocal Red-eyed Vireo, a lone Ovenbird and a moderate flock of Cedar Waxwings.  Soon enough we'd hear another vireo who would turn out to be the Blue-headed above.

Off it flies and while the photo is awful it does show the bold, white spectacles as well as the yellow-olive flanks.

We'd get to another spot where there'd be plenty of warbler calls (Chestnut-sided, Redstart and Yellowthroat) and we'd see yet another Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched up high and looking around.

The next stop would be near a boggy pond where we'd pick up quite a few new birds including Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Hooded Merganser and the Great-crested Flycatcher above where we'd see another and both were behaving as if young were nearby.

The last stop would be Prison Camp Road where we'd get another Indigo Bunting and a Willow Flycatcher Alan and Bob heard.  We'd get another Alder shortly thereafter making for a productive stop to end the trip.  Despite migration being over with birding would not be  slow today as we'd pick up quite a few birds making for a great trip with awesome birds, nice weather and good company so thanks Donna and Dave!

Now a rewind to Saturday morning with Alan and I going to Bolton Flats for the flycatchers.  We'd make our way to the corn fields where it would already be oppressively hot with both haze and humidity thick in the air as you can see from the photo above (plus my camera was facing the sun).  Lousy photo but I don't often see a Common Yellowthroat from above on a bare tree and at first glance the birds head looked kind of crested giving it a Cedar Waxwing look going on.  Never noticed how long this birds tail was as I normally get it peeking at me partially hidden by cover.

Another lousy photo this time of a Willow Flycatcher.  Alan and I had met up with Bob and Diane a little earlier and we'd be close to the area of the "T" when I'd spot a bird of interest to the right of us with the first thing I'd notice was the short, notched tail which reminded me of a Purple Finch.  I'd get my bins on it and see it was a flycatcher and then Alan, Bob and Diane would get on it and we'd all be speaking out loud and yelling out field marks and besides the tail all of us would notice a dusky type vest on the bird (reminiscent somewhat of an Olive-sided or an Eastern Wood-peewee. Naturally out would come the camera where I'd put it on full zoom as the bird was so far out but was hoping for a record shot to study when I got home.

And this is what I'd get.  The photo makes the birds tail look thicker than it was as I had it on full zoom but you can still see it was short and notched.  You can also vaguely see an eye ring and the bill appears short which we'd all notice when we were on the bird.

Another photo which sadly doesn't show the vest but does show an overall color of yellow but the sun was so bad none of us were sure how much of it was actually the bird and how much was due to the position of the sun being right in our eyes.  Once again the bird would appear compact with that short, notched tail.

Lousy photo number three were you can still see the yellowish-olive on the bird but no wing bars as it was so far out.  He is facing away in this photo.

Last lousy photo where pixels are really over exposed that somewhat shows what appears to be an overall yellowish-olive on the bird but no wing bars with my camera never picking up on them in any of my photos.

Obviously this bird would turn out to be a scope bird as we couldn't get it to sing (though we did try the calls of Least, Yellow-bellied and Acadian) to see if it would respond and it wouldn't as that would have cinched the ID.  There'd be four of us on the bird and lighting so poor and the bird would drop down to eat here and there and then reappear only twice more so we never got the looks we would have liked, especially with the sun.  Two of us saw what we thought appeared to be a yellowish wash on the birds throat and two of us wouldn't so with the inconclusive field mark, we brushed it aside as it could have been the sun.  With that said, the flycatcher would have to go as unidentifiable but do think it could be narrowed down to either Least Flycatcher or Yellow-bellied due to the size of the bird.  The vest that all of us noticed is very interesting though and think the shadow of the bird due to the sun's position made it more pronounced than it really was.  The only two flycatchers with a vest like appearance (besides Olive-sided) that I've read were the Acadian and Yellow-bellied and as you can see this bird is far to small and pudgy to fit the Acadian bill (pun intended).  Yes it kills me to have a bird un identified but don't want any "dirty birds" on my list this year as I figure I'm in year five of birding so hold myself to higher standards as I should know better.  If you can't positively ID a bird, than don't.  Hard medicine to swallow when one wants a Yellow-bellied but look on the bright side as I spent most of yesterday reading all I can between the flycatchers so watch out next time!

Take care all.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails