Monday, August 24, 2015

High Ridge WMA and Sterling "Peat"

Below are a few photos from an out and back 5 mile walk at High Ridge WMA (Westminster/ Gardner) on 8/22 along East Gardner Road, May Street, Smith Street and Neighborhood Road. There were no real surprises but none the less a nice selection of passerines.
A hatch year male  Common Yellowthroat

A handsome male Black-throated Blue Warbler

Northern Parula 

There were many Eastern Phoebes along the walk

This Eastern Kingbird showed nicely

a male Red-breasted Nuthatch

Insects of all types were enjoying many fields of Goldenrod

An American Toad
A list from the High Ridge walk:
Species Count
Canada Goose 1
Wood Duck 4
Mallard 1
Hooded Merganser 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Broad-winged Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 13
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 7
Red-eyed Vireo 16
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 2
Common Raven 1
Black-capped Chickadee 27
Tufted Titmouse 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 5
House Wren 5
Gray Catbird 12
European Starling 1
Cedar Waxwing 14
Northern Waterthrush 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 16
Northern Parula 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 4
Pine Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 4
Canada Warbler 1
Chipping Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 6
Swamp Sparrow 1
Eastern Towhee 1
Scarlet Tanager 2
Northern Cardinal 4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Common Grackle 1
American Goldfinch 5

On Sunday morning ,I stopped at the Fitchburg Airport and Sterling Peat. The airport had little to show, but a few American Kestrels that were working the runways, were nice to see.
The water level was fairly low at Sterling Peat's Muddy Pond and while there was nothing "too uncommon" there was a few dozen shorebirds and a nice number of immature Green Herons (7 or 8) along with a single Great Egret.
A comparative shot of Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs

1 of 16 Least Sandpipers
The Sterling Peat List:

Species Count
Mallard 8
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 1
Green Heron 7
Killdeer 9
Spotted Sandpiper 2
Solitary Sandpiper 3
Greater Yellowlegs 3
Lesser Yellowlegs 2
Least Sandpiper 16
Mourning Dove 40
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Eastern Phoebe 2
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 2
Barn Swallow 6
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Gray Catbird 6
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 42
Cedar Waxwing 18
Prairie Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 6
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
American Goldfinch 5

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Misc Photos from July/August

A few shots from a July hike on Cannon Mountain:
A Bicknell's Thrush (one of 7 on the hike) at ~3300 feet on the Kinsman Ridge Trail,
it likely had young near by judging from the number of insects in its bill.

 Its always nice to see a White-throated Sparrow in the Balsams.

A Black-poll Warber in the rain.

Some  ruby showing of this kinglet's crown!

A heavy front rolling in from the north west, it quickly shut down the visibility.
A few from Maine in late July

Herring Gull
A nice trio of Laughing Gulls
From central Mass.
Juv. Green Heron in Sterling

Juv. Spotted Sandpiper in Sterling

Scarlet Tanager in Baldwinville

Monday, July 13, 2015

Late June White Mtn Trip

In late June Karin and I took a trip to New Hampshire's White Mountains, day one 6/26 was a nice hike up to Mt. Osceola and East Osceola, from Tripoli Road near Waterville Valley. I kept track of birds heard (and a few seen) on the hike:
Species Count
Turkey Vulture 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 2
Red-eyed Vireo 3
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Winter Wren 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Bicknell's Thrush 3 (1 at 3800', another near the summit of Osceola and one more between Osceola and the east peak.)
Swainson's Thrush 6 seemed low
Ovenbird 2
Nashville Warbler 5
Magnolia Warbler 3
Blackpoll Warbler 12
Black-throated Blue Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 13
Black-throated Green Warbler 6
White-throated Sparrow 6
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 6

A few pictures from the hike:

An eastern from Osceola with Mt. Chocorua far left (and distant) , Passaconaway "just" visible behind North Tripyramid Mtn. (with the slide), Middle and South Tripyramid and Whiteface Mtn.

The North West view from with the Kinsmans, the canon balls and Canon Mtn., Flume, Liberty, Lincoln and Lafayette. 

View to the North East with the northern Presidentials, Washington, Carrigan and the Wildcats and Caters to the right. The Kancamagas High can be seen "snaking" through the middle.

This Dark-eyed Junco had a territory with a view, which its all fun and games until the NH state "view-tax" bill shows up!
The following day I did a 5 mile loop hike to East and Little East Ponds, also from Tripoli Road, this time with more of an emphasis on birding. Swainson's Thrush was the most numerously detected species, with 21. The ratio of Red-eyed (17) to Blue-headed Vireos (6) seemed backwards to what I might have expected, but there was plenty of habitat for both species. East Pond has an interesting history, for more see this write-up by Steve Smith. 
Photos and bird list below:
A handsome Black-throated Green Warbler playing hide and seek near East Pond

A fuzzy pic of a Swaison's Thrush

A Hermit Thrush

A male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

A female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, noisy youngsters could be heard calling from within the nest hole to the right.

Swallowtail near East Pond

This cool looking beetle was near an older clear cut


I had a nice conversation with this young man, from Andover, Ma., he hauled in a few Brook Trout during our chat, beautiful fish in a beautiful location.. 


I was a bit surprised to find these two drake mallards on Little East Pond,
the right bird in eclipse plumage. 
A list from the East Pond loop:

Mallard 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 3
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Blue-headed Vireo 6
Red-eyed Vireo 17
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch 5
Brown Creeper 2
Winter Wren 7
Golden-crowned Kinglet   5
Swainson's Thrush 21
Hermit Thrush 4
American Robin 1
Cedar Waxwing 2
Ovenbird 12
Nashville Warbler 2
American Redstart 5
Magnolia Warbler 7
Blackburnian Warbler 4
Chestnut-sided Warbler  9
Blackpoll Warbler 6
Black-throated Blue Warbler 16
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  9
Black-throated Green Warbler 19
White-throated Sparrow 3
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 6

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Breeding Survey Route and High Ridge WMA visit

On June 14th I conducted the Ware River Breeding Bird Survey route, the 24.5 mile route canvases areas outside and within the bird rich Ware River Watershed/ Barre Fall Dam areas. Clear and calm conditions made for good listening and a nice tally of 64 species for 494 individuals; leading the way were Ovenbirds with 72 and Red-eyed Vireo with 48, each being present on 38 of the 50 3 minute stops (76%).

This recently Fledged raven was the only bird photo of survey route, it was in between stops.
A complete list of species tallied on the BBS Route.
Species Count 
Mallard 1 
Hooded Merganser 1 
Wild Turkey 1
 Broad-winged Hawk 7 
Mourning Dove 14 
Black-billed Cuckoo 1 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 5 
Downy Woodpecker 7 
Hairy Woodpecker 8 
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 3 
Pileated Woodpecker 7 
Eastern Wood-Pewee 7 
Willow Flycatcher 1 
Least Flycatcher 3
 Eastern Phoebe 4 
Great Crested Flycatcher 1 
Blue-headed Vireo 1 
Red-eyed Vireo 48 
Blue Jay 22 
American Crow 7 
Tree Swallow 18 
Barn Swallow 2
 Black-capped Chickadee 17 
Tufted Titmouse 16
 Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 
White-breasted Nuthatch 1 
Brown Creeper 1 
House Wren 1 
Winter Wren 2 
Veery 16
 Hermit Thrush 6 
Wood Thrush 4 
American Robin 8 
Gray Catbird 13 
Cedar Waxwing 24 
Ovenbird 72 
Northern Waterthrush 1 
Blue-winged Warbler 1 
Black-and-white Warbler 10
 Common Yellowthroat 17
 Blackburnian Warbler 1 
Yellow Warbler 3 
Chestnut-sided Warbler 8 
Black-throated Blue Warbler 9 
Pine Warbler 21 
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 2 
Prairie Warbler 2 
Black-throated Green Warbler 6 
Canada Warbler 1 
Eastern Towhee 6
 Chipping Sparrow 7 
Song Sparrow 3 
Swamp Sparrow 3 
Scarlet Tanager 12 
Northern Cardinal 2 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3 
Indigo Bunting 4 
Bobolink 3 
Red-winged Blackbird 4 
Brown-headed Cowbird 6 
Baltimore Oriole 4 
Purple Finch 2 
American Goldfinch 1

On Saturday 2/20 I took a late morning walk at High Ridge WMA. Within the Great Blue Heron colony were 19 active nests, with over 50 individual young and adults tallied. While I did not cover all the hay fields, nearly 50 Bobolinks were seen and/or heard. The mowing had begun, but typically some fields go unmolested until the "Bobos" are done with their nesting season (mid-late July).

A wide angle shot of the Great Blue Heron Colony

An adult (left) was greeted by its loud squawking and begging young, most of the young present were close to adult size.

Here are a few photos from cooperative Bobolinks that perched close to the road, no tramping through the hay fields was needed.

A male Bobolink perched on weeds

Another "Bobo" on milkweed

a female Bobolink, the dark mark below its bill gives it an almost proboscis monkey look.
My complete tally from the High Ridge Walk, covering just a fraction of the 2500+ acres of property:
Species Count
Wood Duck 8
Great Blue Heron 53
Cooper's Hawk 1
Broad-winged Hawk 3
Mourning Dove 2
Barred Owl 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 3
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Least Flycatcher 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 22
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 1
Common Raven 1
Tree Swallow 22
Barn Swallow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 7
Tufted Titmouse 8
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 6
Eastern Bluebird 1
Veery 9
Hermit Thrush 1
Wood Thrush 4
American Robin 7
Gray Catbird 22
European Starling 3
Cedar Waxwing 20
Ovenbird 9
Black-and-white Warbler 2
Common Yellowthroat 12
American Redstart 2
Yellow Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 3
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 5
Prairie Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Chipping Sparrow 12
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 7
Swamp Sparrow 2
Scarlet Tanager 4
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 5
Bobolink 46
Red-winged Blackbird 18
Common Grackle 4
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Baltimore Oriole 8
American Goldfinch 7

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Peewee nest

On Sunday (6/7) I spotted an Eastern Wood Peewee nest in the back yard woodlot; approx 40 feet high on a dead horizontal limb (red oak), in an sheltered opening 1/3 way below the forest canopy approx. 60-75' from our deck and visable from the kitchen table (through bins or scope). Material was added  to the nearly complete nest, by the presumed female, every few minutes. During these visits she would sit in the nest and fidget a bit to shape the nest cup, a male could be heard singing from near by. This continued on the following morning and evening, and she visited again early on Tuesday, but abondoned the nest and has not been seen since.

During the bird's last visit a recently fledged Downy Woodpecker landed a few feet from the nest, the female sat tight on the nest, "trying not to be seen". The young downy curiously hopped closer to look at the nest, and was immediately greeted with a "face full" of flycatcher and quickly fled the scene. The nest has not been visited by the peewee since.  Tough to reason the exact cause of the abandonment, but perhaps the location was a bit too exposed.

Easten Wood Peewe "fitting" its nest.