Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recent Worcester County Hilights

A Raven just off the "ledge" of Mt. Watatic, one of 17 that circled and frolicked about on the afternoon of 10/23.

The full moon was impressive as it rose over Sterling, Ma. during the evening of 10/23, this just after watching literally thousands of American Robins arriving to roost in the area immediately surrounding Muddy Pond!

Just a "tiny" snapshot of the robins arriving ...what you can not see is all the birds behind them, below them, above them, behind me..... and they just kept on coming! The magnitude of the flight is best observed in the morning at dawn, as they leave the roost. A systematic attempt at estimating the birds on 11/26 put the total over 50,000 robins. Similar large roosts have been witnessed on Cape Cod and even larger roosts of robins occur down south, where some reports have exceeded a million robins.

These Sterling birds are roosting in mainly deciduous trees and shrubs but some white pines are nearby. I would suspect the roost may begin to breakup over the next few weeks or they may simply move to the near by conifers...should they not cleanout the food supply! Regardless of the exact number this is an impressive sight!

This handsome Pectoral Sandpiper dropped in beside me, allowing me to run back to the car, grab the scope and digi-scope these shots against the red scrubby foliage.

Same bird.

This Woodchuck posed nicely at Bolton Flats on Sunday the 24th.

A few Northern harriers have been coursing over the field of Bolton, this juvenile was just over the corn stalks to the north of Rte 117

The "tail end" of a large flock of passing Common Grackles at Bolton Flats.

Sterling Peat is not the only locale with a large roost of birds, on Sunday evening Chuck and I counted nearly 30,000 blackbirds (predominately Common Grackles) flying passed Bolton Flats headed to roost. We also tallied at least 1,000 American Robins, so even though it would seem every robin in Worcester County is roosting in Sterling, that is not the case! Back in the 1960's, reports from "The Chickadee" mention a blackbird (mainly Common Grackles) roost that existed in Oxford, Ma. of a million birds.

While many rarities have also turned up in the state, these large autumn roosts of common birds are equally impressive.


grammie g said...

Hi Tom...Absolutely fantastic photos !
All those Robins just amazing to see and that moon shoot wow!
Great contrast with the Sandpiper...the red made for a nice one!!
Seems like those bird just got here and now they are all leaving!!

Hilke Breder said...

Nice shot of a Raven. one of my favorite birds - and the moon with the large Tycho crater near the bottom. It's always amazes me how much of the moon landscape you can actually see with binoculars and a telephoto camera.

Tom Pirro said...

Thanks for the comments...the robin is amazing! The moon shot was taken with a cannon powershot A590 (point and shoot) handheld to the eyepiece of my Pentax PF-65 scope, using a vixen zoom eyepiece (probably zoomed in around 30X, the camera was zoomed to about 2-3X). The same for the Pectoral Sandpiper. The Raven was using the same camera but handheld through the Zeiss 8 X 42 FL binocular.