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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

North Central Mass Waterfowl 11/23/2014

Sunday afternoon I checked several lakes and ponds in the North Central Mass area, I saw no sign of the 3 Greater White-fronted Geese in Lunenburg (I reported last week), though Bart Kamp reported seeing them in the morning, nor did I see the "white-bodied" Canada Goose. However, there are many smallish agricultural fields and other bodies of water in the area where other geese could have been feeding. I did not have the time to cover Whalom Lake at dusk, where large number of waterfowl and gulls roost, so dawn or dusk are the best times to visit this small lake.
Some hilights:
-Round Meadow Pond (Westminster): Ring-billed Gull 10, Herring Gull 70, Hooded Merganser 12 and Common Goldeneye 2 .
 -Wachusett Lake (Westminster): Common Goldeneye 12, Hooded Merganser 12, Common Merganser 10.
Saw Mill Pond (Fitchburg): Herring Gull 6, Hooded Merganser 5
 -Notown Reservoir (Leominster): No water fowl at all, though I only checked from one vantage point off Rte2
 -Shirley Lake (Lunenburg), very few water birds compaired to last week, but the adult Peregrine Falcon, over looking that section of the lake, was the likely reason for the lack of waterfowl. Herring Gull 5, Ring-billed Gull 25, Mallard 5, Common Merganser 11, Great Blue Heron 1, Peregrine Falcon 1 adult, Red-tailed Hawk 1
 -Whalom Lake (Lunenburg) Snow Goose 1 imm. Likely the same bird I saw on Shirley Lake last week. Canada Goose 250, Great Blue Heron 1 and ~50 American Crows headed toward Fitchburg (likely to roost).
- Near Stillman Farm (Lunenburg) were: Canada Goose ~750 (I combed through these birds for some time and only came up with Canadas, Red-tailed Hawk 4 adults Mourning Dove 100+, Yellow-rumped Warbler 1, American Tree Sparrow 4, Fox Sparrow 1

Below are a few shots of the Peregrine in various poses perched ~150 meters away:

Using the camera's digital zoom, 

Considering the distance and being a hand held shot not too bad.

There were a few smallish looking Canadas within the "whalom geese" but none were fit into the Cackling Goose criteria.
Imm Snow Goose at Whalom Lake.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lunenburg 11/16

Late Sunday morning, on Lake Whalom in Lunenburg, were 60 Canada Geese, 3 Greater White-fronted Geese, 1 Ruddy Duck, 2 dozen Mallard and 6 American Black Ducks. Whalom Lake is a great spot to observe roosting waterfowl and gulls at dusk, particularly once the surrounding lakes and ponds have frozen over, a little later in the season.

Greater-white Fronted with Canadas

The 3 Greater-white Fronted a bit closer, the greenland race I presume as the bills were orangish to my eye.

On Shirley Lake in Lunenburg were ~450 Canada Geese, 1 Snow Goose, 125 Mallards, 10 American Black Ducks, 16 Ruddy Ducks, 125 Hooded Mergansers, 60 Common Mergansers.

These Hoodies showed nicely

A portion of the goose flock, there was one Canada Goose.
Eastern Bluebirds showed nicely at our feeders in Westminster today and I heard an Evening Grosbeak during an early afternoon walk near the center of town.
On the back deck perch stick

A cooperative Black-capped Chickadee

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Neighborhood (Westminster, Ma.) Birding 11/9

On a neighborhood walk to an old sandpit/squawsh patch this morning I found a nice array of sparrows, and a new species for the local patch. Dark-eyed Juncos, Song, Swamp, Savannah, White-throated, American tree, Chipping and Fox Sparrows were found. A fly over American Pipit was a new species for my neighborhood and a very late Bobolink was still lingering. here are a few photos.
November 9th is a very late date for a Bobolink in north Worcester County

An obstructed view of an American tree Sparrow

Its getting a bit late for Chipping Sparrows in the area, there were 5 or 10 present in the squawsh patch.

One of several Savannah Sparrows

A Brown Creeper at the forest's edge.
During the week, at Crystal Laker (Gardner) a the Red-breasted Merganser hung around until Friday, a Double-crested Cormorant and Ruddy Duck were also present and the season's first Common Goldeneyes arrived. There has been no "sign" of the Lesser Black-backed Gull I observed a week+ ago.

A female Ruddy Duck

Double-crested Cormorant

The "DC" showing a nice "aqua marine" colored eye.