Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bohemian Waxwing Invasion Continues 3/19

On 3/17 I came across the flock of approx 140 Bohemian Waxwings on Lake Street in Gardner and today near Heywood Hospital (Green Street) about 225 to 250. Sure this year's spring migration is sluggish..., but with a show like this ....who cares!

Here are a few images I have recently taken:

Note, after "dropping" a full size version of the photo below into PAINT, and counting while placing a colored dot over each bird,  I came up with 219 BOWA"s in the photo. Then adding the 40-50 that were feeding nearby would bring the total to between 259 and 269.
It may not look it but there is 190 to 200 Bohemian is this photo, there were another 40-50 feeding in a nearby crabapple as well!

Nice early morning light.

The traditional reach and grab.

Using a different technique!

A wing stretch.

Posing nicely!

Ready to swallow
NO fruit for you!
While the uncommon Bohemians tend to "steal the show", when you can find them, our "resident" Cedar Waxwing is quite a handsome bird too. A few recent shots of this local breeding species!

A Cedar Waxwing looking pretty "smart"
Cedars can do some fancy picking too.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 14 & 15

I have scanned the Westinster "industrial Landfill" from a nearby hillside, the past few days, 100-200 gulls have been present and a least Iceland Gull was mixed in. Gulls have also been loafing on the Fitchburg Airport runways, the attraction is a large waste transfer station "next door". Saturday was tough viewing, they were mostly obscrurred by high snow banks or at the transfer stations (out of sight), but Sunday many were in the open. I was able to pick out 3 Iceland Gulls among the "scrum" of ~500 gulls. The break down was ~450 Herring, 40 Great Black-backed, 3 Iceland and 2 Ring-billed Gulls.

The Iceland Gulls present were 1 first winter, 1 second winter and an adult.
Aircraft  coming and going will put up the gulls, I did not see any close calls.

This adult Bald Eagle was pushing the gulls around the Westminster landfill, and at "this" point was on nearby Saw Mill Pond.

Bluebirds still coming to our feeding stations daily.

A male House Sparrow waiting for a turn at the feeders, fortunately only 1 pair resides near by.

A Wood Duck, near River Road in West Boylston, always welcome after a cold snowy winter!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Late Feb / Early March 2015

Very few early spring (actually late winter) migrants have arrivied in the north Worcester County hill towns this season. During most years "eary spring" migrants such as Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Turkey Vuktures, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds and Killdeer are often wide spread in the area by this date. But with recent morning temps from -5 to 10 degrees F and 2 to 3 feet of snow on ground the early migration season is currently sluggish at best.

Along the Otter River on the 5th were 4 Common Mergansers, one was wrestling with a  "bullhead" catfish, after about 5 minutes it finally "choked it down".  On Feb 25th I spotted a largish raptor like bird in the distance over Gardner, it turned out to be a Black Vulture, my first ever for bird # 217.

Common Merganser with a bullhead.

The merg spent some time poking and re-positioning the fish, which likely had its pectoral and dorsal fins
locked in the up position.

Stilling working on lunch

About ready...

going down


A handsome Ring-necked Pheasant in Templeton, its likely origin was the Otter River Sportsman Club. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bohemian Waxwings in Gardner 2/21

I've been watching the reports of these handsome waxwings from up north for the last few weeks and some have finnaly eaten their way into north Worcester County. I was fortunate to stumbled across 4 in Gardner today that mixed in with a dozen Cedar Waxwings and robins. About 10 years ago there was a flock of over 300 Bohemians in this same neighborhood.

Below are a few photos:
Bohemian Waxwing on Central Street in Gardner

This one was fluffed up and roundish looking.

This one in a more sleek pose.

One a of few robins mixed in with the waxwings

Hopefully more will arrive and be able to find some uneaten crabapples and other food sources in the area.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Late Jan...early Feb feeder birds

Along with the seemingly relentless snow fall has been an invasion of small finches in our Westminster neighborhood. The local flock has built to a minimum of 100 American Goldfinches, 30-40 Pine Siskins, a least 5 Common Redpolls and 15-20 House Finches.
Common Redpoll using one of our perches
This Pine Siskin was fighting off a goldfinch

A "goldie and "white nut" during a recent storm

This goldfinch appears to be kicking the snow

This sisking had been digging for seed

Siskin and goldfinch awaiting a turn at the feeders

Blue Jay moving into "hog" some seeds.

A nice asorment of small finches, Pine Siskin,Common Redpoll,  Am.Goldfinch and House Finch