Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fitchburg 2 and 5 blocks "complete"

I wanted to complete the preliminary 20 hour requirement for each of my 4 BBA blocks by July 4, yesterday morning I wrapped up the Fitch "5" block and today the "2" block.

Only 45 minutes were left in Fitch 5 so yesterday I tried to "fish out" a Sora from Trophet Swamp in Westminster, no Soras answered but a 1/2 dozen Virgina Rails were vocal.

There were a few Eastern Kingbird nests and a I managed a 1/2 decent "digi-bin" photo of the closer nest, while balancing atop the guard rail along Rte 2A (to get a better angle). I'm getting a bit better at the art of digi-binning, holding the binocular in my left hand while the camera in my right is held to the "eye piece" of the one of the binocular "tubes". The auto focus doesn't work through the binocular so I focus the binocular manually.....the goal is an identifiable picture....not artwork. The process would make a good field sobriety test

One of 2 Eastern Kingbird nests seen at Trophet Swamp

Today, 7/3 , I finished off the Fitch 2 block birding a few places I had never visited before. I bushwacked (there is no other access) into Murdock Pond, a secluded former mill pond. I had seen this pond on the topo maps and had intended to visit it.....for 15 years ( I live a mile from it!). Nothing surprising to report, but it was worth the visit and I did see a fledgling Ovenbird, Hermit Thrushes, Black-throated Green Warblers and a few Gray Catbirds near the pond's edge.

Murdock Pond

I walked the back side of Wright's Reservior where I was able to add Red-breasted Nuthatch, RT Hummingbird to the possible catagory in this block. I found a Ruffed Grouse with young, the adult was squealing nearby, the young appeared to be about 1/3 grown. I've had decent luck finding grouse this season, confirmed in 2 blocks and probable in another. From the dam of the reservior I saw Baltimore Oriole feeding a fledgling, the hummingbird and a very cooperative Scarlet Tannager (below).

Scarlet "T" should need no intro

Brown-heaed Cowbirds don't appear on any one's list of "well liked birds", except the first one on a "big day" and Christmas Counts in north Worcester County! The fledgling (below) was just about to be fed by a male Common Yellowthroat, a 2 for 1 confirmation!.

Fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird

A brief summary of these two blocks:

............................................Fitch 2 ...........Fitch 5

Observed only ...........................2 .....................1

Possible breeder .....................16 ...................24

Probable breeder................... 28 ....................31

Confirmed ...............................33 ....................28

Still more work to be done to upgrade non-confirmed species and add species that were completely missed during the first 20 hours.

3 comments:

PA-Birder said...

Tom,
I think the Cowbird gets a bum rap. It's just doing what nature programed it to do. It's we humans who have fragmented the woodlands and provided the Cowbird way more opportunity than nature intended. While doing some Atlas work here in PA the other day I saw 2 Scarlet Tanagers being harrassed by their Cowbird Juv. It was almost comical as the bird doing the begging, all fluffed up as it was, was larger than the adults. Keep going strong on your atlasing. Sounds like you are going gangbusters!
Vern

Larry said...

Good work that you are doing on this project-Love the Tanager picture-Happy Independence Day!

Tom Pirro said...

PA-birder, you are correct , in my eyes, it is a native bird. In some ways perhaps we shouldn't think any different than when raptor takes a song bird to feed its young. Its rather commical to watch a yellowthroat stand on its "tip-toes" to feed the young cowbird!

Larry, thanks...the tanager was most cooperative and allowed me to take about 15 photos..the one above was the best of the lot.