Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Northern Cardinal (Female) and Gr. W-F Goose

An illuminated bill!
A few days ago I snapped a few shots of a female cardinal on the back deck. It was windy and her crest was being blown about, which made for one particular comical "pose".

Full "portrait".
a cropped "head shot".
There has been a Greater White-fronted Goose in Milbury for the past few weeks, yesterday I traveled down that way and was fortunate to have some nice views before it and its associates (Canada Geese) took flight.
" floating" with Canadas....
..."on the run"...

...nearly airborn".

Also, was an "oddball" goose, I thought perhaps a hybrid but others have thought a leucistic Canada. After viewing another birder's photo I am inclined to agree. It is a free flying bird that comes and goes with the flock of 175+ Canadas to roost each evening and leave in the morning for feeding grounds.

"My" shot is below.

Any other opinions of the above goose are always welcomed

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MWCC Wind Turbine hits the sky in Gardner 11/23

Taken from Crystal Lake Cemetery.
I stopped by Mount Wachusett Community College, to pick some transcripts today, and saw one of the wind turbines being erected. A total of 2 turbines will be erected near the college, they are very similar in size to the pair just west of Mount Wachuestt and the single turbine at Narragansett Regional High School, in Templeton, Ma.

Here is link to a little more of this MWCC initiative.

Its nice to see efforts utilizing non petroleum based energy and I realize the effort isn't just about dollars and cents. However, I do wonder how fiscally viable these types of projects will be in the long run. Of course us bird people often are concerned about bird strike mortality, but there are certainly considerations of wildlife mortality from petro based energy. One such being the high concentration of methylmercury in the Common Loon population in the northeast USA.

Here are a few digiscope shots of the "head" of turbine #1 being lifted, taken from across Crystal Lake.

While looking through the scope I could make out a persons head in between the head and stanchion (the dark blob in middle of the space).

I understand Ashburnham is planning to install a similar sized wind turbine on Blood Hill, 2 miles south east of Mount Watatic in the near future.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Central Mass Waterfowl 11/21

A Redhead was reported from Coachlace Pond in Clinton yesterday and I was fortunate it was still present this morning. Good early morning light provided a good opportunity to get a few digiscope shots. Also present were over 60 scaup, a few Common Goldeneyes and Hooded Mergansers.
Female Redhead with Greater Scaup on Coachlace Pond in Clinton.
There was a nice assortment of waterfowl on Lake Wickabaug in West Brookfield. It nothing that might compare to yesterday's fallout of Tundra Swans at Quabbin Park and a small Pond in Brimfield, but very respectful!
Canada Goose ....12
American Black Duck... 6
Mallard ...20
Lesser Scaup ...1
White-winged Scoter... 1 female
Black Scoter 14 all females
Hooded Merganser 37
Common Merganser 175
Red-breasted Merganser 1 female
Great Blue Heron 1
Ring-billed Gull 110
Herring Gull (American) 6
Great Black-backed Gull 6
Here is a distant shot of the White-winged Scoter.
There was also good numbers of waterfowl on Quaboag Pond topped by about 130 Common Mergansers, 6 Lesser Scaup and a distant soaring Bald Eagle.
I checked a small section of Pattapaug Pond, Gate 41 at Quabbin, which also had some nice birds, the highlights there were 4 Gadwall, 26 Black Ducks, 7 Ring-necked Ducks and 14 Hooded Mergansers.
Gadwall digiscope from about 400 meters.
The 29 Tundra Swans report from Sherman Pond in Brimfield had moved on, as did the 19 from Quabbin Park. Perhaps the clear sky and full moon last night, provided an opportunity for those birds to work the night shift. Many times out place waterfowl will move on very quickly from inland lakes and ponds.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I can't remember ever posting a photo of a Northern Cardinal on this blog, perhaps I have, but I am too lazy to review all my posts, beginning in April of 2007. One landed near my feeding station this afternoon and I happened get a few shots:

Looking for predators?

A profile...


Nearly a full body shot...

You can see the house in the bird's eye

Looking like Mr. Magoo.

Finally the whole bird.

I shot these through my scope and the shutter speed was fairly low, I snapped the photo below as the bird flew...looking almost like it would leave its feet behind.
A "clear" Black-capped Chickadee "on the run".

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mt. Watatic 11/1/2010

Another Golden Eagle passed Mt. Watatic this morning about 10 minutes after I had my gear setup. As it was, this was the closest raptor I would see all day and not another "golden" was to be had.
The Oak leaf moves in for the kill!
Golden Eagle as it soars away in the thermal it was riding....the white patches on the base of the flight feathers show nicely, while bird on the 29th had very limited white wing patches.
Golden Eagle over Mt. Watatic.....if only they all "showed" so nicely.
A few Snow Buntings fed in the grassy areas near the east and main summit.
Migrant raptors:
Bald Eagle 1 adult
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 7
Red-tailed Hawk 49
Golden Eagle 1 juvenile

Brant a flock of 70 headed south
White-winged Crossbill 1 ---heard well as I was leaving, it called from in the spruces (lacking a good cone crop this year) and then i heard it as it moved on south. Perhpas this is a prelude of more to come?