Saturday, April 18, 2009

Westminster Loons 04/18

I birded parts of Winchendon, during the morning of 4/18, to scout the Winchendon 12 Breeding Bird Atlas block, then stopping by the Barre Falls Hawkwatch site to enjoy passing raptors. On the way home from the hawkwatch, I stopped to look at a pair of Common Loons on Mare Meadow Reservoir, in Westminster, that were fairly close to the road.

Common Loon Pair on Mare Meadow Reservoir, in Westminster.

From 1999 to at least 2004 the Biodiversity Research Institute (Maine) captured and color banded many breeding and or territorial loons in Massachusetts. These close loons presented an opportunity to see if either of this pair were banded. One of the pair was cooperative, showing both legs, the left leg was: Blue/White and the right leg: Blue (stripe)/silver (the metal band with the info).

This bird "flashes" its left leg, revealing the Blue/White bands.

A number of years back I had email the folks at BRI for the color combinations on the Massachusetts loons they'd from that.... This bird is a male that was captured on Paradise Pond (Princeton, ma.) in 2003. Paradise Pond is only a "stone's throw" away, the pair had bred there, successfully for a few years, before "moving out" 2 years back. Perhaps they will find success on Mare Meadow, which has several small islands and no boat traffic.

When beautifull birds are mentioned, I've never heard Swamp Sparrow brought up. But, this "Swampy" looks pretty darn sharp!

There were plenty of Red-breasted Nuthatches in the Winchendon 12 block this morning, out numbering White-breasted 8 - 2.


Sheila Carroll said...

Tom, nice research on the loon banding!

Tom Pirro said...

Thanks Sheila,
I was sorry to hear about your cat Gremlin, he looked like such sweetheart of a cat.

Yesterday, I emailed the BRI, asking if they've done any further banding, the last data I have was from 2004, if they would forward any new information. Once hear back, I will ask if they mind if I publish it.


Kallen305 said...

Hi Tom, I have rediscovered your blog after seeing it a couple of times last year.

Very interesting info on the Loons. I have to tell you I am in awe over the photos you take through your binoculars! I have tried putting my camera up to a scope and 9 times out of 10 they come out lousy. I tried it once through binoculars and couldn't get the camera and bins to sync. You must have the patience of a saint to get photos like that.

Tom Pirro said...

Thanks, the digi-binning has gotten a bit better over the years. I changed my technique recently, after speaking with James Smith not too long ago. I have also made a few equipment upgrades. I still need to make a "jig" for my scope improve my digi-scope results. The digi-bin results I get are mostly "throw-aways", but the film is cheap :)

The loon info is neat, so many of my old neighbors in in Gardner didn't even know loons nest less than 3 miles from downtown!