Sunday, January 6, 2008

"Chair City" Birding 1/6/08

Gardner "The Chair City" from an alternate vantage point
As a conscious effort to do more local birding, on foot or bicycle, this year I started from home today and walked 9 miles of city streets. While many of the birds encountered today are typical feeder type/city birds, I got to build a winter base to my human powered bird list for 2008 and added a few species I didn't expect until the March/April time frame.
Plenty of these "guys" today
A nice flock of Pine Grosbeaks were near the Gardner veterans ice rink, this species continues to "show strong" in the area. A Northern Flicker, very uncommon in this area during the winter months, was an early addition to the local year list at Crystal Lake Cemetery.
Near Wickman Drive 25 Blue Jays appeared to be "stirred up" and "concerned", after walking a few more streets I saw the instigator, a Cooper's Hawk (below), perched in a Maple Tree. The other two "expected" city raptors put in appearances, a Sharp-shinned Hawk soaring over Rte 2A and a Red-tailed Hawk in the same general area.
Cooper's Hawk on Wasa Street
On my way toward the Gardner Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), in hopes of some waterfowl, was a single female type Purple Finch (a fairly uncommon winter species), mixed in with House Finches. I was hoping the large flock of Common Redpolls, present on 12/23, would still be near the (WWTP), they were not. The warm effluent from the WWTP keeps this section of the Otter River open through the winter, but there was no waterfowl present, but a Belted Kingfisher was a nice replacement for expected Mallards.
I did manage to walk a few streets I had never been on, in 20 years of living in Gardner. After stopping in "Jumping Juice and Java" coffee shop, I returned home and found 2 White-breasted Nuthatches "Frozen still" in my yard. I took a few digi-bin photos then looked around for a raptor, but never found one. When I returned near the feeders, the two nuthatchs still hadn't moved, these birds held their "frozen" posture for over 5 minutes!

A "Frozen Nut"

Today's list:
Sharp-shinned Hawk...1
Cooper's Hawk...1
Red-tailed Hawk...2
Ring-billed Gull...4
Herring Gull...2
Rock Pigeon...125
Mourning Dove...61
Belted Kingfisher...1
Downy Woodpecker...8
Hairy Woodpecker...2
Northern Flicker...1
Blue Jay...38
American Crow...10
Common Raven...1
Black-capped Chickadee...37
Tufted Titmouse...13
White-breasted Nuthatch...13
Brown Creeper...1
American Robin...1
Northern Mockingbird...1
European Starling...78
American Tree Sparrow...8
Dark-eyed Junco...21
Northern Cardinal...8
Pine Grosbeak...20
Purple Finch...1
House Finch...11
American Goldfinch...37
House Sparrow...166


Larry said...

I'm lousy at keeping up with lists-especially long term ones.I do like local birding and birding on foot though.-I'm going to make an effort to walk to some new local areas this year.-Even though you may not see as many species this way, I think it makes you more focused on birds that you do see since your not contemplating to drive to different locations.

Anonymous said...

What a great list for in town. Nine miles is pretty ambitious. I think its great you are focusing more locally. If everyone just went to the "hot spots" then there would be large gaps in our birding data. Do you enter you sightings on e-bird?

Anonymous said...

I have a couple of friends who are planning a long weekend (Thursday -Sunday) Birding trip from PA to MA either this coming weekend or the next. They would like a locat contact who might be able to clue them in on where to find Pine Grosbeaks and other northern birds in central MA, and maybe some suggetions on where to go on the coast. Would you be willing to contact them by e-mail or have them contact you? Please let me know at

Kathiesbirds said...

It has been one of my most profitable recent discoveries to go birding at WWTPs. I added many birds to my big january list by visiting the Green Valley WWTP in AZ where I now live. I added a Ross' goose to my life list when I visited on Jan. 22nd. Today we saw a flock of 150 or more black-necked stilts in the desert enjoying the treated effluent from the Rogers Road WWTP as it flows into the Santa Cruz River in Marana. Good for you!