Sunday, June 3, 2007

Ashburnham Birds 6/03/07 (Part 1)

Looking toward Cheshire Pond (Ashburnham)
From 5 am till noon I birded in the Ashburnham 3 block of the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas. Despite living and birding in the general area for 20 years I have (sadly) only birded this area a few times. I walked up Old Country Road off Rte 101, just outside of South Ashburnham, toward a piece of Ashburnham State Forest and Cheshire Pond, via an old rail road bed. Some of the views across this small pond and associated wetlands gives one the impression of being in northern New Hampshire or Maine. Unfortunately, since the last time I visited (15 years ago) a small housing sub-divison has been developed on the east side of the pond, across from the power lines that "skirts" the pond.

I had hoped for an American Bittern, as the habitat had looked promising, and while I didn't hear "them" calling flew overhead and landed a 100 meters away. A Virgina Rail called in the distance from the same marshy area at the edge of a beaver pond (below).

Beaver Pond (Ashburnham State Forest)

Mosquitoes were out in full force, hearing the more distant bird song was an issue over the buzzing vampires. A Barred Owl and Turkey called soon after I left my car and a bit further up the road a Northern Goshawk passed silently overhead (obviously I wasn't too near its nest sight!). There were good numbers of Black-throated Blue , BT Green, Canada Warblers, White-throated Sparrows and a few Blackburnian and Magnolia Warblers. I was fortunate to hear a few Ruffed Grouse drumming and Pileated Woodpeckers calling. Alder Flycatchers are back in force I saw and heard a few calling from the various open wetlands, in one spot a Willow Flycatcher was calling providing a good comparison between these two apparent identical looking species.

Alder Flycatcher

After this 4 mile walk I stopped by the Raven's nest sight, previous report here, where there was only 2 juveniles left in the nest and one adult. Further down in a wetland off Depot Road I was fortunate to find the Great Egret, Digi-binned below.

Great Egret

In addition to birds White-tailed Deer, Muskrat, an upclose Porcupine and flowers.

Blue Flag
The "business end" of a Porcupine
Cinnamon Fern

Later I checked out a few sand pits and found nesting Bank Swallows and Belted Kingfisher.

This morning's bird list:
Canada Goose 4
American Black Duck 1 flying overhead
Mallard 1
Hooded Merganser 2 females in flight
Ruffed Grouse 2
Wild Turkey 1
American Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 1
Green Heron 1
Northern Goshawk 1
Virginia Rail 1
Killdeer 1
Mourning Dove 8
Barred Owl 1
Chimney Swift 2
Belted Kingfisher 2 (1 at nest hole)
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Alder Flycatcher 6
Willow Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 3
Blue-headed Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 8
Blue Jay 12
American Crow 9
Common Raven 3 2 juv and 1 adult on nest
Tree Swallow 13
Bank Swallow 4 nesting a small colony
Barn Swallow 12
Black-capped Chickadee 26
Tufted Titmouse 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Brown Creeper 1
Winter Wren 1
Veery 8
Hermit Thrush 9
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 9
Gray Catbird 6
Cedar Waxwing 7
Nashville Warbler 6
Yellow Warbler 5
Chestnut-sided Warbler 4
Magnolia Warbler 4
Black-throated Blue Warbler 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6
Black-throated Green Warbler 14
Blackburnian Warbler 4
Pine Warbler 8
Prairie Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 10
American Redstart 1
Ovenbird 22
Northern Waterthrush 2
Common Yellowthroat 18
Canada Warbler 8
Scarlet Tanager 4
Eastern Towhee 5
Chipping Sparrow 4
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 5
Swamp Sparrow 7
White-throated Sparrow 9
Northern Cardinal 1
Indigo Bunting 1
Red-winged Blackbird 21
Common Grackle 39
Brown-headed Cowbird 4
Baltimore Oriole 2
Purple Finch 3
American Goldfinch 8

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