Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Westminster CBC (Gardner) 12/26

The serious weather held off for this year's Westminster CBC, it was snowing lightly when I left at 6AM, the winds were light and temperture about 30 degree F. I had no "reponses" while owling near Lake Wompanoag, then began day-time birding near Mount Wachusett Community College. A few calling robins and crows were the first birds just before dawn. While checking the fruiting trees near the buildings I heard a the call notes of a Snow Bunting, I eventually saw the loner high overhead.

This handsome Coyote was walking across Crystal Lake.
Near Crystal Lake, which was completely frozen (as expected), were a few Song Sparrows and single Herring Gull among the more common species. Gull numbers, in this section of the count circle, have decreased since the closure of the city landfill, a few years back. Small numbers of Ring-billed Gulls, that frequent fast food joints and shopping plazas, are now the most common.

Juncos were plentiful, here is 6 of about 30 that reacted nicely to spishing while I visited a residential area.

While visiting the old landfill site and found a flock of Wild Turkeys, but little else. When the landfill was operational large numbers of gulls, crows and starlings where found here. I did scan the grassy areas, of the capped dump, for ground species such as Snow Bunting or Horned Lark, I saw neither.

This flock of Wild Turkeys was at the old Gardner Landfill.
At Parker's Pond, which was frozen, where a few Canada Geese and Mallards which were also a bit of a surprise this section of the count. Near the Junction of RTE 140 and rte 101 was a nice flock of Cedar Waxwings, about 150 to add to a previous flock of 58. The larger, Bohemian Waxwings, are always hoped for but, both flocks I saw were 100% Cedars, beautiful none the less.
My girlfriend Karin joined me for the afternoon, we added numbers to the common species totals, while covering a new areas of the territory. We did manage another good look at a Cedar Waxing flock, likely some the same birds from the morning and added ravens to the tally sheet. While driving through an industrial park we were surprised to find a flock of Ring-necked Pheasants, 4 males and 3 females.

5 of 7 Ring-necked Pheasants.

A closer view of a male.
12/27/2009 Westminster
Karin and I took a stroll around the neighborhood Sunday (12/27) afternoon to stretch our legs once the rain had stopped. We heard a Tufted Titmouse scolding from a small patch of hemlocks, the bird sounded extreemly angry. After a few minutes of searching the prize was located, a beautifuul little Northern Saw-Whet Owl. I had not brought a camera but, the tame little owl sat tight until we returned later to snap several photos.

How can one not smile upon finding one of these little gems!
While this owl species was missed on count day (I think), it should go on the books, for the Westminster CBC, as a count week bird.

A digi-bin shot through the bins.


Kim said...

Awesome shot of the Northern Saw-whet Owl Tom! So glad you got it during count week!

Anonymous said...

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