This morning I birded around a few towns in North Worcester County including Gardner, Templeton, Royalston and Winchendon. I had a nice stop in the "Back Bay" section of Baldwinville (a village of Templeton), which is in my section of the Athol Christmas Bird Count (CBC). A pair of Carolina Wrens, 6 Fox Sparrows and a Northern Shrike that flew past carrying its next meal were all very nice. I hadn't seen any waxwings or grosbeaks but, there is plenty of crabapples and bittersweet in the area for future visits. Fox Sparrow, one of 6 I spished in at the end of Pleastant St. in Baldwinville
I made a quick pass through the Norcross and Church Hill areas of Templeton but found little other than Canada Geese, Rock Pigeons and other common species. Royalston center was my next stop, while I missed a few target species, such as Pine Grosbeak and Bohemian Waxwing I (and another birder) did manage to see 16 Pine Siskins, a pair of Evening Grosbeaks and another Northern Shrike (an adult). I magnaged to see another small flock of Siskins and a few more Evening Grosbeaks a few miles away off a dirt road near a maple sugar house.American Tree Sparrow
Heading on more dirt roads in Birch Hill Wildlife Management Area, I made frequent stops only managing to spish in Black-capped Chickadees, titmice and nuthatches .... the typical stuff I get during the CBC. I made note of the cone crop on the red pines and a few small spruce groves. Lake Dennison didn't have any waterfowl. This section of Birch Hill WMA is also in my CBC sector, but some years its inaccessable if we have snow.
After raking and bagging some leaves I stopped up the street, at Crystal Lake, to view the gull roost. Herring (~350), Ring-billed (~30) and Great Black-backed Gulls were "it" for gulls. One gull stood a bit from the rest, I studied it for a while but finnally settled for it being a Herring Gull with essentially no dark gray streaks on the head. The lack of streaking appears to give it a more gentle "profile", similar to an Iceland Gull. Of course the black wing tips immediately ruled out an Iceland "Kumliean's", but this bird appeared a bit smaller than the nearby Herrings...perhaps a small female with delayed head molt?
I have included a few images below.
Light headed Herring Gull?