Monday, April 20, 2015

Mid- April

Early spring migrants continue to arrive such Pine, Palm and Yellow-Rumped Warblers; Louisiana Waterthrush and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. I have yet to see or hear a Black and White Warbler, but the next warm front should help aid their return.
 Bald Eagles continue to show well, particularly at Round Meadow Pond (Westminster), Broad-winged Hawks have are arriving and Osprey are still passing through.

Common Mergansers and a few Common Goldeneye continue to linger on a few bodies of water in the area, notably Crystal lake (Gardner) and some back-waters at High Ridge WMA. They will clear out of the area in the next week or two.

Its time to hang out the hummingbird feeders, as a few very early arrivals have been noted from lower elevations of Massachusetts; the main influx is usually the first week of May.

Below are a few photos from afield during the past week:
A pair of Common Mergansers at High Ridge WMA

A male Bufflehead on Lake Dennison

Osprey at Round Meadow Pond

male Northern Flicker

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Tree Swallow at High Ridge WMA

Ruby-crowned Kinglet at High Ridge WMA

a dorsal view of an "eastern" Palm Warbler

Front view of a different Palm Warbler

A handsome male Pine Warbler, in a pitch pine.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 6 -12th North Central Mass.

Sunday 4/12 finally "broke open" as the first real day of spring, after another tough week of weather.

I birded around Westminster/Fitchburg a bit, on Sunday, with highlights being 3 immature Bald Eagles at Round Meadow Pond, 2 Glossy Ibis continuing at Monty Tech High School and 2 Osprey over Saw Mill Pond. Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Palm Warblers and Hermit Thrushes have arrived too, but Pine Siskins are still lingering; and few redpolls were present on Friday 4/10. Tree Swallows are starting to inspect nest boxes, phoebes are wide spread and Great Blue Herons were at their nesting "stations" at a nearby colony. An adult Bald Eagle (the 4th of the day in town) was perched in that middle of the Great Blue colony , but the herons all remained calm.

 Many lakes and ponds are carrying a lot of ice, and there is still a good deal of snow in heavily shaded woodlands, but it does appear that spring has arrived.

Here are a few recent photos:
A female American Kestrel launching from a grave stone near the old Gardner Landfill.

Bald Eagle in Westminster, which was perched in the middle of a Great Blue Heron Colony.
Same as above...shot 2

Great Blue Herons, 1 of 15 nests in Westminster the left bird was letting out a squawk

Our 1st yard Purple Finch of 2015

Hermit Thrush along the Otter River in Baldwinville's "Back Bay", on a cold and miserable Wednesday 4/8.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Early April sightings

Much of the winter's heavy snow fall has melted in the past week and migration is starting to "catch up" a bit. Blackbirds are wide spread, waterfowl such as Green-wing Teal, Wood Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, Common and Hooded Mergansers are getting some open water. Eastern Phoebes and Tree Swallows are a welcome sight after the long winter.
  I was pleased to see an American Bittern at High Ridge Wildlife Management Area, on 4/5, along with a few Tree Swallows and Northern Flicker. Glossy Ibis are "rare but regular" migrants in Worcester County, but usually down on the Bolton Flats. The 3 were feeding on the Monty Tech (Westminetr/Fitchburg) athletic fields Sunday evening 4/5 were a great surprise, my previous "north county" sightings were summer sightings (post breeding season), both from Gardner.
   Are we sick of Bohemian Waxwings yet? I'm not and finding a flock of 150-175 along with Cedars was real nice, about 30 minutes before meeting up with the  "Glossies". This time in Leominster at an athletic field near Fallbrook Elementary School.
 A few photos are below:
American Bittern in flight

Glossy Ibis trio at Monty Tech

One of the trio preening, careful with that thing!

and srcatching

A Fox Sparrow in Templeton

Part of the Leominster Bohemian/Cedar Waxwing "clan"

Mostly Bohemians in this portion, they were spead in 3 different trees.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Bohemians continue in Gardner 3/30

This noon Bohemian flock looked to be at its largest (that I have seen) since 4 first showed on 2/21/2015, down the street, at the corner of Green and Matthew's Street. My initial estimate, on site, was for 250+. So for accuracy's sake, I waited for all the birds to consolidate in the maple they prefer, and snapped a photo. After dropping it in "paint" and using a modified "Mirick dot method" I came up with 297.

here is the picture and few more shots from last Monday 3/23:


Here are few shots of the nearby Eastern Screech Owls, from January (Gray) and March 11th (Red), may they enjoy peace, solitude and have young.
The Gray morph

The Red morph

3/29 Central Mass loop

At home was a nice showing of finches, approx. 70 goldfinch, ~20 siskins and a dozen House "purples" at home yet.

At the Westminster Landfill, scanned from a distant hillside, were Turkey Vultures (5 or 6), Herring Gulls (~250), Great Black-backed Gulls (~25) and a single Iceland Gull (a distant smallish white winged gull).

At Sterling Peat, in Sterling was a Brown-headed Cowbird and a Red-tailed Hawk was cooperative for a brief photo session. The Thompson Basin of Wachusett Reservoir had some open water holding several Common and Hooded Mergansers. 

Hilites from the River Road section of Wachusett Res. were Common and Hooded mergs,  a Mute Swan, Wood Duck,  a few Common Goldeneyes, and a Ring-necked Duck for waterfowl.  The hybrid Red-shouldered-x- Red-tailed hawk was still present. It was "perch hunting" from atop the tele-poles along the main road. A silent Tree Swallow passed overhead, not much for it to chirp about with the heavy ice and snow cover!

At Coachlace Pond in Clinton was a single Tree Swallow, Eastern Phoebe and Rusty Blackbird along with a juv. bald Eagle passed over head.

During early afternoon at Bolton Flats were a few Canada Geese,  Mallards, American Black Ducks, 26 Green-winged Teal, a Red-shouldered Hawk, Great Blue Heron and a Common Redpoll heard calling over head.

Finally at the Fitchburg Airport was a single Snow Bunting and 150 gulls all Herring and Black-backed.

A few photos :
Rusty Blackbird at the west end of Coachlace Pond, in Clinton

Eastern Phoebe at the west end of Coachlace Pond

This 1st year Bald Eagle pasted over Coachlace Pond,

Adult Red-tailed Hawk at Sterling Peat

the hybrid Red-shouldered X Red-tailed Hawk near River Road in West Boylston, first found by Ryan Schain and most recently reported by Nick Paulson.

Another view of the RSXRT hybrid, note the tail extends well beyond the wing tips, compare with the  Red-tail above.