Monday, December 20, 2010

Athol CBC 12/18

Jonathan Center and I covered the Baldwinville section of the Athol Christmas Bird Count this past Saturday. I began solo, before dawn, owling for a few hours with the payoff being one Northern Saw-whet Owl, a pack of howling coyotes and a beautiful star lite sky!

Jonathan and I met up at 7am and began birding along the Otter River, both American Tree and Song Sparrows were plentiful and an uncommon winter Swamp Sparrow. It was only the 2nd time I've had Swamp Sparrow in this section of the count.It had been cold the past several nights and the slower sections of river were frozen.

An American Tree Sparrow in flight, this species "won" top honors (in our section)for individuals counted with 95.
Near the end of Pleasant street we found both Winter and Carolina Wren, Cedar Waxwings, White-throated Sparrows and a small flock of Canada Geese (7 ) passed overhead. While Canada Geese would appear to be no "great shakes", during a colder winters they nearly absent from this part of Massachusetts. With recent cold conditions....this was a true bonus.

All gray and black birds "Teed up" on tree tops are scrutinized for Northern Shrike, but this was obviously a Mockingbird (below)....but this species is not very common in these parts. Usually there are one or two in the village, but they can be overlooked, but two made onto this year's ledger.

Northern Mockingbird
Another nice addition was 2 Ruffed Grouse, one flushed while walking the woods and the other flushed from a thicket adjacent to the woods, while we scanned a feeding station. But, an embarassing miss for the morning was Mourning Dove, but we would return to the village to look again after we covered the Lake Dennison area.

It was too cold for swimming, actually one ice fisherman was on the lake, perhaps the nuthatch was looking to partake in the "above" portion of the signage!

Another Swamp Sparrow was added near Lake Dennison and a big surprise was a Great Blue Heron that flushed from a grove of pine tree beside the frozen lake! Toward Birch Hill Dam, we checked for waterfowl along this faster moving section of river and after walking and scanning for an hour we only had a single mallard to show for the effort. While I was complaining, aloud, a Northern Shrike flew past, and landed low in brush at the edge of a clear cut.
Northern Shrike (Juvenile), just left of center.

Frozen Beaver Pond to the south east of Birch hill Dam.

After the shrike, our only new addition to the list would be the previously missed Mourning Dove, we added 9 upon returning to the village at the end of the day.

Below is the complete list from the day (click on the image to enlarge):

No comments: