Monday, June 29, 2009

Montaque 6/29 (Henslow's Sparrow)

I took a "spin" out to the Connecticut River valley, this evening, to give a try for the Henslow's Sparrow, recently found by Mark Fairbrother in Montaque, Ma. No sooner than I stepped out of the car to exchange greetings with birders already on site, did the bird sing. For the next hour and a half this bird put on a fabulous show, though from a distance, "teeing" up and singing from the middle of the field. It was heard or in view for about 1/2 the duration of my visit.

This was taken through my Pentax Scope with a 19.5X eyepiece.

This was through Sol Satin's scope zoomed to about 40-45X. Neither photos too good, but this bird was at least 205 feet away.
Couldn't have asked for a much better summer evening as this fine sparrow was enjoyed by a friendly group of birders, neighbors and the land owners.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I was kayaking a marsh in Ashburnham last weekend and couldn't help being impressed by the hundreds of dew covered spider webs.
Some nifty webbing.
This Devil's Paintbrush helped brighten the recent dreary weather. I had nice walk along a bike path along Rte 140, in Winchendon on Monday. There were some nice birds too, some warblers that were well represented were Blackburnian and Canada Warblers along with a pair of Northern Waterthrush that was carrying food for their young.
The Red Eft, above, was on the edge of the bike path, I got on my belly to get this photo.

I dug a little hole, to set the camera in, right in front of its face and set to macro to get this "big as a moose" look.

This Broad-winged Hawk was very agitated, I was near its nest, but also the Porcupine (below) was climbing "its" tree.

This "shot" of the porcupine was a very poor consolation for the one I missed a few days ago, near Mount Watatic. I was in the area of the old Watatic Ski Area parking lot, when a mother and youngster ambled along within 15 feet of me. They stopped to eat some clover, the youngster was about 1/3 the size of the adult, it was quite a sight. Would've been even better if the camera wasn't back at car.
The Broad-winged hawk and Porcupine were just off Bush Hill Road, in Ashburham. Where is Bush Hill might you ask, why...its right near Pecker Pond!

Rumor has it the Catholics were livid and insisted they had to some how be separated .... and thus the state border of Massachusetts and New Hampshire was drawn at its current location to keep the two apart.

Its not too difficult to find breeding White-throated Sparrows in Ashburham where they are ofeten found along marshes, powerline cuts and recently logged areas.

This family of Mallards is probably getting sick of me, I've had to kayak this wetland a few times in the past week, each time disrupting their routine.........

..... Ditto for this family of Wood Ducks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leominster, Ashburnham and "Coop Nest"6/1 to 6/7

Some before and after.....
I took the photo of this young foal and mom, at Timber Lost Farm, just over 2 years ago, in Ashburnham.

I stopped by Timber Lost Farm, to scan for raptors, last week and look who came to say hello...all "growed up"... mum is a few hundred feet back. The owner had said this guy is a "hand full" to ride, but those details are being worked out.

Turkey Vultures were coming and going from a rocky area on the south face of Mt. Watatic last week. I bushwhacked up the hill trying to find a TV nest among the rocks and I did NOT. This nicely intact snake skin was good find, it would probably be an even better find for a Great-crested Flycatcher, as I understand they often like add a snake skin to their nest.

Lincoln's Sparrows usually don't give too many "second chance" views, but this one did....well sort of. I had a very nice look at the fine streaking with a "buffy wash" on the breast, after having a nice look I tried a photo through the binocular. This "side shot" was the best 2nd view it offered, before it dove into thick cover, never to be seen again (by me). This is more likely a late migrant rather a potential nester but 6/7 is a fairly late date for this species in Central Massachusetts.
Missed the head, of this newly hatched Ruffed Grouse (just sneaking under the branch), the parent went right and the chicks went left. The parent squealed, grunted and faked an injury (quite a show I'll tell you), while the chicks made a few peeping noises to keep in contact. I snapped the photo above and backed off about 60 feet, waiting quietly for them to re-join each other, but the parent kept up the act, not trusting danger had passed. So I moved on as to not cause more of a disturbance than I already had.

This Cooper's Hawk nest is only a few houses down the street from my apartment, the chick hatched out last Tuesday or Wednesday 6/2 or 6/3. So far I have only seen a single chick, hopefully they'll (perhaps there is more than one) will make it through this past week's cold and damp weather. (I took a look at the nest this morning 6/12, and 3 chickes were visible).

If you enlarge this photo, and look carefully, you can see 2 young "polt" Wild Turkeys, actually I think there are 4 in this right under the hen, another under the hen's bent neck (as it heads into the ferns), a third's head under the hen's tail and a 4th's eye just behind the head (obstructed by the pine needles) of 3rd...or maybe I'm just hallucinating. The rest got out of sight quickly, there were about a dozen with this hen.