Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This morning, I took a very quick"lung burning" hike to summit, on the way to work, and birded the summit area for about 20-30 minutes. Mashall IIliff was there, with his dog, and neither of us saw the bird while I was there, though they were staying longer. Three Snow Bunting flew past while I was there.
When I check my email at work I had a post from Bob Hill, who lives near my work in Groton, Mass. Bob hiked up Watatic, with his young son, the previous sunday 10/21 and had seen the Gray Jay then! Apparently he hikes the White Mountains of New Hampshire regularly and has seen Gray Jays up there. He did not report the bird because.... "I thought, "Oh that's cool", but am so used to seeing them in the Whites that I figured it wasn't a big stretch to see one here." .....
So its good to know the bird has been in the area for some time and perhaps others, such as myself, may still have an oppertunity to see this bird. There are photos of the bird, from 10/28 at:
For updates check the Massbird listserv. link in my links section about.
Yesterday 10/29 I saw two White-winged Scoters on Crystal Lake, in Gardner, along with 450 Herring Gulls, 75 Ring-billed, 25 Great Black-backed and an adult Lesser black-backed Gull.
Sunday 10/28 I saw a probable Cackling Goose at Tomhannock Reservior just east of Troy, New York I had a great look at dozen Canada Goose flying over the car as we drove over the causeway, one of which was very small about 1/2 to 2/3 the size of the other Canadas and about 1/2 the bulk. I had been by this spot a few years back and seen a Cackling Goose then, along with ~5-6,000 Canada Geese, this is a very good waterfowl spot in New York's Capital District.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Also of note was one apparent 2nd year gull of which I wonder if its a European type Herring Gull, LBBG or just a very pale American Herring Gull? When I saw this bird fly it appeared to have very worn plumage, perhaps it hasn't yet molted into 2 winter plumage? However this bird is smaller than the near by Herring's and closer to that of the LBBG, the primary wing projection also appears quite short, but could be do to worn primaries. A poor quality digi-scoped photo is below...with an adult Herring Gull and part of a LBBG to the right. I will check with a few folks as to their thoughts on this apparent 2nd year bird.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Back on 10/12 I had seen 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the Greater Gardner area, the first was a 1st year bird at Gardner High School and the 2nd an adult at Monty Tech High School. Then again on Sunday 10/21 the (or another) adult was present at Crystal Lake and this morning it was on the lawn in front of Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC).
Last year (11/04/06) I saw a Great Black-backed Gull that was color died green, I only saw it once at the Crystal Lake roost. I was able to find that 2 studies in the north east, one in Maine and another in maritime Canada, had used green die on GBB Gulls.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Also, yesterday I stopped by Hinsdale, NH along the Conn. River ... 9 Pied-billed Grebes and about 2,000 Red-winged Blackbirds was nice. Resent counts, by local birders, of blackbirds coming into roost in the large freshwater marsh, have exceeded 10,000. I did not stay until dusk...choosing to move down stream to Turner's Falls Mass.
In Turner's Falls I "caught" the evening waterfowl roost, with bird congragating just upstrean from the anadromous fish station. Mixed in with approximately 2,000 Canada Geese was a single Cackling Goose. This minature Canada is now considered a separate species from the larger forms of Canada Goose, which may have something to do with the recent increased sightings. Two Northern Shovelers, 25 Common Mergansers along with 200+ Mallards was nice too....many, many puddle ducks continued to pour in after dark.
Today 10/21 I headed down to Concord, Ma. to try for a view of the Barnacle and Greater White-fronted Goose that have been present for about a week. I hit a few cut corn fields with no luck and finally bumped into Chris Floyd and Mark Lynch at Great Meadows and was told both those birds were about a 1/2 mile back, on a small pond (where they were "supposed to be":). I had nice looks at each of these before heading back home.
A poor quality digi-scoped photo (through my old swift scope)
Numbers of waterfowl at the Great Meadows impoundments....300+ Green Winged-teal, Pintails, Am. Wigeon, Wood Duck, 200+ Mallards , Black Ducks and 100's of Canada Geese was just as impressive as the rare birds.
Lastly, this evening at Crystal Lake, in Gardner, Ma. (just up the street from my house), I caught the evening gull roost which included an Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. Perhaps this was the same bird I saw in Westminster last week? About 600 Herring, 100 Great Black-backed and 50 Ring-billed Gulls were also present. Last year gull numbers maxed out with nearly 3,000 coming into the lake in late November, I maybe the only person in town that thinks this is a good thing...as Crystal Lake is Gardner's water supply.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Chuck Caron had told me the previous year that gulls also gather on the atheletic field of Monty Tech Regional High School, in nearby Westminster. Feeling lucky, I decided to swing by Monty Tech on my way into work. Upon arrival I saw nearly the same number of gulls as in Gardner and with the Herring and Ring-billeds was another Lesser Black-backed Gull, this one an adult.
This species, while still uncommon, still appears to be on the increase in Massachusetts, and I would presume in other north eastern states too. I read a report of one found nesting on a remote island in Maine, just over the New hampshire border. If I recall correctly that Lesser Black-backed Gull was paired off with a Herring Gull.
Yesterday I was fortunate to find a Common Moorhen along the Nashua River in Pepperell, Ma. , near my work. I revisited today, and saw it was still present, and loosely associating with 4 American Coot. Other birds of note in Pepperell were Wood Duck (3) Blue-winged Teal (9), Northern Pintail (3), American Wigeon (2), Black Duck (1), Mallard (~30), Lesser Scaup (1), Mute Swan (8) and Pied-billed Grebe (13).
Another species of note, was a Barnicle Goose found in Concord, Ma. yesterday and still present this morning. Its an unbanded bird, with no unusual feather wear, arriving with migrate geese during peak migration which will leave many (especially the one's who have seen it!) to beleive this is a bird of wild origin. Last week, a Barnicle Goose was seen passing on the New Hampshire coast by Jane and Steve Mirick(same bird?)! See the massbird link (in my links section) above for further details.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Over the years I have found a few more species (considered unusual in this area) of sparrow and sparrow types birds in the fields. Which include Nelson's Sharp-tailed, Grasshopper, Clay-colored and Dicksissel.
10/10 lunch list:
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Barred Owl (digi-binned)
Barred Owl (D-B)
The bird list:
Black-throated Blue Warbler...1
Northern Wheatear perched on a picinic table.
After having nice looks a few birders left and the rest of us moved to a different vantage point scan the airfield for other species. Upon walking back to my car, alone, I noticed the bird had moved closer to parking lot and I managed to snap a few more digi-bin photos though my 8x binoculars (below).
Perched atop the fence (note the differnce in buffy color from the picture above and the previous..which are much lighter, sometimes the angle of view, lighting and exposure can give very different impressions as to coloration of the same individual). With subtle colors, caution should always be used when making judgements.
How long will the stay in the area is alway a question that might come up, and it did. With the recent warm and summery weather it is not a surprise that it did not move Friday or Saturday nights. But with a cold front coming through today it may very well move on tonight and today could be the last day its present. Typically this species does not tend to linger very long, especially in inland locations! Time will tell.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
And...the big news in north central Massachusetts was a Northern Wheatear found by Mike Polana at the Orange, Ma. airfield yesterday 10/5! It sounds like Mike got the news out quickly and many birders have been able see this rare thrush. There are only a handfull of records of this species from the interior of Massachusetts. I may not have a chance to chase this one today, maybe tomorrow if its still present.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
A few other nice species were 14 Blue-wing Teal, 10 Pied-billed Grebes and an Osprey that had just "pulled up short" on a dive for a fish. Ospreys tend to be very localized breeders in massachusetts away from the coast, but there are a few pairs the nest in this general area.
A Handsome adult White-crowned Sparrow working the lawn
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I did see a few Black-poll Warblers, which are now thinning out in numbers. Some years Black-polls are the most common warbler in the area during mid September.
I spoke briefly with a genlteman who lives on Lake Wompanoag, who mentioned the pair of Common Loons did indeed loose their young this year. Apparently both adults where very adgitated for about 2 days after he had last seen evidence of the chick(s). He said he'd seen two young, but I personally had seen just one newly hatched chick...so perhaps the chicks were lost on two different dates.
last evening, in Groton, I had a nice look at an adult White-crowned Sparrow. October tends to be the best month for sparrows in this area.
This morning's list: