Monday, December 31, 2007

Uxbridge, Ma. CBC 12/30/2007

I joined my friend Paul Meleski to cover his territory for the Uxbridge, Ma. CBC, this count circle is in southern Worcester County and has a small portion in northern Rhode Island. We cover a section in the town of Douglas, Ma.. Four am came early, after staying up to watch the NE Patriots game. The owling is slow, but we manage to hear a Saw-whet Owl in Douglas State Park.

Day break

As day breaks, we start a 1/2 mile walk over crusty, noisy, icy snow to check a small area for waterfowl, miserable walking conditions and only 13 Mallards and a bunch of domestic fowl. But, on the return we get a few Golden-crowned Kinglets, which have been in short supply on the northern Worcester County CBC's. Two dozen Wild Turkeys flying down from their over night roosting sight, in White Pines, is impressive.

We continue along making numerous stops adjacent to feeding stations, playing a screech owl recording on the boom box, and seemingly vacuuming birds from the surrounding woodlots. We do well on Chickadees, Titmice, W-B Nuthatches and Juncos! Other than Juncos, sparrows are in short supply in our area and we miss Amercian Tree Sparrow and only have 1 Song Sparrow.

Mouning Dove, one of 60 during the count

Southern Worcester County is typically not a "hot-bed" for winter finches, but with this year's wide spread incursion we are hopeful. At a small field, I hear a single Common Redpoll fly overhead and a bit late we both hear a few Evening Grosbeaks (it sounds like more than 1 but less than 5, so we call it 2!).
There is a small portion of open water on Wallum Lake and there are 2 female Common Goldeneyes on the water and then 3 Common Mergansers fly over head. We do pretty well on Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a bird that was a "big deal" 20 years ago, now in southern Worcester County they out number Hairy Woodpeckers on CBC's! Eastern Bluebirds, Hermit Thrush and Purple Finch are nice additions during the afternoon.

Hemit Thrush (digi-binned)

As the day winds down we spot a single bird off Hemlock Road, tee'd up atop a tree, unfortunately just a starling. We drive another 1/4 mile to the Rhode Island border, the edge of our territory and turn around. Returning to we notice 4 birds tee'd on the tree, 3 more starlings. Paul has a better view from the passenger's seat and a better look is in order. The 3 new birds are waxwings, starling size, gray and dark undertail coverts! We enjoy these 3 Bohemian Waxwings through the scopes and get a few fuzzy digi-scope photos.

Bohemian Waxwing on Hemlock Road in Douglas, Ma. (Which was a new species for this CBC)

The list from our section (ONLY) during the Uxbridge CBC, 12/30/2007 (click on the image to enlarge)


Larry said...

I'm really hoping to get a look at a Bohemian Waxwing this year.-Nice job capturing the photographic evidence!-Hairy Woodeckers aren't all that easy to come by around here. Sounds like you did pretty well!

Tom Pirro said...

Happy new Year Larry,

Bohemian Waxwing is one of my favorite winter birds. I've been fortunate to see this species several time, and I am always impressed with their subtle beauty and their voice is surealistic! During the past two incursions the big numbers didn't show up in Massachusetts until late January/ early Feb .... maybe you'll get one near home.