Saturday, January 24, 2015

Raptors from Essex County 1/22/2015

Nothing too fancy from a recent mid week trip to Boston's north shore", the Snowy Owls and Rough-legged Hawks encountered during the day were all very distant. However a few species showed nicely.

This young Red-tailed Hawk was near the gatehouse at Parker River NWR, patiently waiting
for a prey item to show....

For both the bird's and birder's sake...its always good to Keep a safe distance.

A Merlin is always a prize during the winter months! Though close we remained in the vehicle and
never spooked this bird.

The juv, Red-shouldered Hawk was using a guy wire to survey a field just outside Salisbury.


Shortly after snapping this picture the Cooper's Hawk dove into a nearby thicket, sparrows shot out like shrapnel, but
the hawk left empty handed.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Crystal Lake Cemetery (Gardner) and Feeders

A "gray morph" Eastern Screech Owl, whom I might add was a "no show" on last month's Christmas Count, was visible early Saturday afternoon (1/17) at Crystal Lake Cemetery in Gardner. Also present were several robins and Cedar Waxwings feeding on some nearby bittersweet.

This "screechie" was enjoying the sunshine on a cold January afternoon, at Gardner's Crystal Lake Cemetery

One of many Cedar Waxwings at Crystal Lake Cemetery, no Bohemians...but maybe soon?
  Recently our feeding stations have been attracting dozens of goldfinches along with Pine Siskins. With recent reports of redpolls in the area it made sense that sooner later one would show up at home. Sure enough...during Sunday afternoons rains one showed nicely on the back deck!
My first Common Redpoll of the winter

A siskin redpoll sandwich!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Westminster Early 2015

On January first, there was a large group of gulls on Round Meadow Pond, one Iceland "Kumlien's" Gull was present, but no other uncommon species were present. Since the cold snap has hit the open water has frozen and fewer gulls are present at the pond. However the cold snap a has increased our visiting feeder birds. Approximately 50 American Goldfinches and 12 Pine Siskins were at our feeders this morning.

Herring Gulls high over Round Meadow Pond on the first.

This first winter Iceland Gull was present with ~250 Herring, a dozen Great Black-backed and
a few Ring-billed Gulls on Jan 1.

A Goldfinch with Siskin on 1/11.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Early December sightings

There has been a nice assortment of gulls in the Westinster/Garder area over the past 2 weeks. A first winter Iceland  Gull was sighted on Round Meadow Pond (Westminster) and Crystal Lake (Gardner), twice for each location in the past 10 days.

Iceland Gull on Crystal Lake in Gardner, Ma. 12/2

another shot of the Iceland Gull

Iceland Gull over Round Meadow Pond in Westminster, Ma. on 12/7

1st winter Iceland perched, just under the in coming juv. Herring Gull
On 12/13 there was a presumed 2nd winter Glaucous Gull on Round Meadow Pond in Westminster, bill shape and short wing projection (beyond the tail) seems to fit for this species. I was a bit surprised to see some gray on the primaries, but in reviewing Howell/Dunn's "Gulls of North America" I found a few similar looking gulls they catagorized as GLGU, but also a few similar looking hybrids.
Presumed 2nd winter Glaucous Gull on Round Meadow Pond in
Westminster, Ma.

Zoomed a bit closed

Showing a Gloucous like bill

..another angle

another view

..showing a bit of wing pattern

Monday morning 12/8 this Bald Eagle with feeding on a Greater Black-backed Gull,
on Round MEadow Pond 

This Northern Shrike was at Elliot Hill in Templeton on 12/5

A Northern Cardinal on the back deck.
One of the most intriguing birds in central Mass. is a presumed Red-tailed X Red Shouldered Hawk that has been frequenting the open area near River Road and the rail trail in West Boylston, Ma. First studied by Ryan Shain on 11/10/2014. See his ebird writeup and photos here, Justin Lawson captured a crips shot of this bird flight here
This "stunner" was obscenely tame, allowing many walkers and joggers to pass within 20 to 25 feet of its perch, of course none of these "keenly observant" people even noticed it. Judging from the blood on its bill, and the fact its been frequenting the same area for a month plus, its making a decent living.  A red-tail like belly band can been seem from a headon view, you pickup a hint of it in the photo.

A digi-scoped portrait.

A digi-binned shot, just before it perched atop a pole. An beautiful  ly patterned tail!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Snow Birds 11/27/2014

 The Thanksgiving snow storm brought in a number of very cooperative "regulars" on Thursday morning to feed on suet, black oil sunflower seed, cracked corn and freeze dried meal worms. To date I have talled 97 species of birds from our yard during 2014, the most recent addition was a flock of 4 Common Mergansers that flew past just over the tree tops a week ago.
female Red-bellied Woodpecker

This Dark-eyed Junco must have recently lost its tail, perhaps to a cat?,
 but its new tail feathers are starting in. 

8-10 Eastern Bluebirds arrived for a feast of meal worms.

This female used a perching stick to while waiting her turn at
the worms.... 

...same for this male.

A handsome Mouring Dove, 1 of about 10 in the yard.

A placid Tufted Titmouse perched near the glass door allowing for a
close up.