Cedar Waxwings and a Bohemian
Yesterday, 1/30, there was a flock of 50 Cedar Waxwings working some oriental bittersweet across the corn field to the north. I stopped again today and about 75 Cedars were "teed up" by the road about 50 yards away. While scanning the flock, I heard a Bohemian Waxwing calling and was able to find it a minute or two later. The flock moved a few hundred feet away and joined more waxwings, I heard a Bohemian call again and I finally found another. Half the birds flew off, circled and perched beside the road about 75 feet away. The digi-bin photo (below) does not do this bird, in the early morning sun, proper justice.
One of my winter favorites!
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Cedar Waxwings and a Bohemian
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Eared Grebe (Nile Beach)
Great Blue Heron (Cashman Park)
Turkey Vulture (Ipswich)
American Black Duck
Ring-necked Duck (Niles Pond)
Greater Scaup (Swampscott)
Lesser Scaup (SwampScott)
King Eider (Atlantic Drive , Elks Club stop)
Harlequin Duck (Andrew's Pt)
Hooded Merganser (Flax Pond)
Bald Eagle (Merrimac River)
Rough-legged Hawk (Plum Island a few birds)
Merlin (Draw Bridge to plum island)
Peregrine Falcon (Gloucester)
American Coot (Flax Pond)
Black-bellied Plover (Brace Cove)
Sanderling (Brace Cove)
Glaucous Gull ( a few in East Gloucester, one w/ a bad foot)
Great Black-backed Gull
Eastern Screech-Owl (several in Ipswich and Essex, we had one trilling away in the early afternoon in Ipswich)
Great Horned Owl (a few in Ipswich and 1 in Essex)
Snowy Owl (Plum Island)
Long-eared Owl (Harrassed by crow near Niles Pond, 3 members of the team had good a look while it was perched before it was flushed by the crows for a second time), our only real surprise of the day.
Short-eared Owl (a few at plum Island)
Northern Saw-whet Owl (Island Road in Essex)
Northern Shrike (Good harbor beach, Gloucester and Plum Island)
Blue JayAmerican Crow
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Pine on Plum Island)
Winter Wren (Nahant Thicket, seemed like it was the only land bird in all of Nahant...guess the exterminator must missed this one!)
American Tree Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird (Town Farm Road Ipswich)
Brown-headed Cowbird (Town Farm Road Ipswich)
Common Redpoll (Emery Lane small flock flew overhead)
Here is a link to the Massachusetts Audubon Superbowl web site .
Our team, "The Burger Kinglets", was comprised of the following members:
Paul Meleski (Team captain)
Friday, January 25, 2008
Possible Cackling Goose
Note: in addition to the comment below, 2 others feel this would fit a smaller form on the Canada side of the Cackling/Canada complex. Mainly, based on the lack of a stubby bill and head shape.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
There has been many reports of dead Barred Owls found on the road sides, in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, this winter. There has also been reports of this species from places like Cape Cod, were they are very very uncommon, so perhaps this species "irrupted" from the north adding to our normal resident population.
Barred Owl (digi-binned), was a first for me in my yard!
In Keene, NH, was a flock of over 200 Cedar Waxwings. I carefully looked through the flock for a Bohemian but could not find one. I digi-binned a few photos below. Cedar Waxwing about to swallow a crabapple.
"put the camera down, and nobody gets hurt!"
Saturday, January 19, 2008
There was little else of note until I reached the bike path parking lot, across from Mt. Wachusett Community College, approximately 15 Pine Grosbeaks showed well. It seems nearly every time I'm out and about, in town, I see at least a few and I am not yet "sick of them". They are more widespread and abundant since I moved to Gardner in 1988! A few of today's grosbeaks were skermishing with each other and making a raspy buzzy "warning" if one approached another too closely.
Moving in for the "kill" Female type Pine GB
This male Pine Grosbeak had some "splotchy" orangey coloration
Great Black-backed Gull....1
American Tree Sparrow....3
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday 1/13, Paul Meleski, Chuck Caron and I visited Cape Ann for the typical winter "circuit", however we planned on spending extra time working on gulls. The Slaty-backed Gull, present since just before Christmas, is still being seen intermittently. With the gulls being scrutintized by a plethora of highly skilled birders, perhaps its no surprise that a Thayer's Gull was "pulled" out of the scrum. Upon arrival at Jodrey Pier, in Gloucester, we noted the calm and unseasonably mild weather, but also very low numbers of gulls. Only a single Iceland Gull was seen by another group, but the "regular" Peregrine Falcon was perched on the town hall clock tower, which seems to be leaning east a bit!
We headed over to view 10 Pound Island, typically a good stop for Barrow's Goldeneye but not today. Just down the street we quickly found the Eared Grebe off Niles Beach and a Carolina Wren and Gray Catbird across the street in the thicket. This Eared Grebe, presumably the same bird, has been returning here since the winter of 1995!
Low tide is a good time view Harbor Seals hauled out.
Niles Pond, near Eastern Point has been the focus of gull study in recent weeks. There were hundreds of gulls on the pond and hundreds more on the exposed rocks in Brace Cove. At least 3 Glaucous Gulls were present but very few Iceland Gulls. We spoke with Eric Neilson who had seen 10 species (at Niles Pond) of Gulls the previous day including the Slaty-backed and Thayer's Gull! A trawler that was headed in toward Gloucester harbor had at least a 1,000 gulls "in tow", as it approached some of these birds headed to Niles Pond and Gloucester Harbor. The gulls come and go all day here, so the mix of birds would change all day.
After an hour and a half we decided to try a few other spots on the planned route and we'd return to Niles later. Off Atlantic Drive we had nice looks at a small flock of Purple Sandpipers, a Black Guillemot and a few Red-necked Grebes, but we miss the drake King Eider recently reported. We miss the Townsend's Solitaire at the Rockport golf course but managed a Yellow-rumped Warbler (a "ho-hum" consolation!).
Purple Sandpipers off Atlantic Drive
At Andrew's Point, one of the best seabird stops on Cape Ann (particularly in strong east winds) it was also slow. Harlequin Ducks are regulars here and we enjoyed these colorful sea ducks as they worked the surf and rocks. Chuck and Paul manage to find the previously reported female King Eider and we saw a few Razorbills.
Upon returning to Niles Pond, there are still hundreds of gulls on the pond, but now there are good numbers of Iceland and a few Glaucous Gulls in the mix. Scanning through a group of birds a few hundred feet away, we come up with a minimum of 28 "white-winged" gulls, 2 or 3 are Glaucous and the balance Iceland (Kumlien's ) Gulls. There is a dizzying array of ages and plumage variations. We speak with Phil Brown and he informs us of two things, one...the Slaty-backed gull has not been seen and two...he is freezing and he's headed home. Phil leaves but checks in with other birders down the road, also studying the gulls, and passes the word to us that a Thayer's gull has been found.
We "caugh up" with the birders that had it in view and we are able to get a decent look at this first year gull. Eric Neilson is in contact with James Smith , a few hundred yards away, and James and Scott Surner have TWO additional Thayer's at closer range. We quickly join James, Scott and the 2 additional Thayer's less then 100 feet away! I manage a few (poor) digi-scope images, one is below. Check out James' blog for nice photographs and commentary and links on the finer points of Thayer's Gull ID.
First Winter Thayer's Gull
Our day List:
Great Black-backed Gull...200
American Black Duck....20
Lesser Black-backed Gull....1
Great Black-backed Gull....750
Sunday, January 6, 2008
A "Frozen Nut"
American Tree Sparrow...8
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Wintery Scene along the Kilburn Loop, in Pisgah State ParkAbout 1/2 way through the hike, I noticed a line in the snow about 8 feet long and 6 inches wide. I stopped about 10 feet from the mark and pointed out to Laura, "it looks like something tunneled under the snow". I took another step, still a bit away from the marking in the snow, and a Ruffed Grouse exploded from under the snow about 6 inches from the toe of my snowshoe, just missing my knee as it shot through the woods. I had read about grouse roosting in the snow, and had hoped to see it one day and yesterday was it!
The last 2 miles of the hike were up hill and we, me in particular, were pretty tired. The "low-light" for me was crossing one of those narrow hiking bridges over a muddy seep. These work quite well for hiking shoes but entirely different for snowshoeing, I managed to fall into the only stinken mud hole in southern NH, fortunately feet first! But, now my snowshoes were carrying about 10 lbs of snow each as the wet muddy "shoes" acted as a snow magnet, we scraped off the mud and trudged on out! The fall was a minor inconvenience and this was a very nice start to the New Year.
This was not a birding trip and only 4 species were seen or heard, but little diversity would be expected out here in winter: Ruffed Grouse 1, Hairy Woodpecker 1, Black-capped Chickadee 5 and Golden-crowned Kinglet 15.