Monday, December 20, 2010

Groton CBC 12/19

This was only the 2nd or 3rd time I have done the Groton CBC, but I am familar with the area as I had worked near Groton center for over 20 years. Many a lunch break was spent birding nearby locales, so while I had no recent scouting, I was hoping past history would be enough to make a decent contribution to the count.

I tried owling a bit before dawn but came up empty using recordings ...NOTE: the Barred Owl recording I was using has a Chuck-will's-widow calling in the background.... That can't help the cause :). However, just before sunrise on Fitch Bridge Road, under perfect listening conditions a pair of great Horned Owls could be heard dueting to the south; a single Great-horned was calling to north!
A beautiful start to the day, a stately Hickory, Venus to the right and 3 great Horned Owls were calling in the background!
Many Dark-eyed Juncos were flitting about before daylight as I walked the edge of the fields, the first "good" daytime birds were a flock of blackbirds, 22 Red-wings and a single Rusty Blackbird among them!

A digi-bin shot of the Rusty Blackbird in poor light.
Just after viewing the blackbirds, two small finches passed overhead, their indentity given away by their dry "rattle"chi-chi-chi-, Common Redpolls! Eastern Bluebirds and American Robins were also present, both these species would be seen thoughout the day.

These two Red-tailed Hawks were perched near the Rte 119 bridge, on the Groton side of the Nashua River.

Part of the group of 33 Rock Pigeons (aka "bridge falcons") were in the tree beside the two Red-tails.
While imitating a screech owl call, at the Groton boat ramp, a Pileated Woodpecker arrived from a distance...loudly calling...then a 2nd. One even "sat tight" long enough for me get the scope out, the camera and take sevral shots.

Pileated Woodpecker (always a spectaclar sighting) at the Groton Boat ramp off Rte 119.
Other woodpecker were fairly cooperative as well, Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied and even a few Northern Flickers. A five woodpecker CBC, and still several hours to go! Off Broad Meadow Road was nice flock of American Tree Sparrows and single a Field Sparrow made for another nice bonus.
Field Sparrow..blank face, no breast spot, pink bill and a beautiful white eye ring.
While scanning the fields at Gibbet Hill I found many Canada Geese but nothing more exotic was mixed in. Typically any medium sized black and gray bird, perched atop multiflora rose is a Mockingbird, but birders hope it'll be a shrike. There was a "mocker" on one rose thicket and 50 yards was a spiffy Northern Shrike..checked in scope and photographed!
A two shrike weekend!
Northern Shrike at Gibbet Hill.
Northern Mockingbird from another location during the day.
I had almost forgotten about Floyd Hill Road, a narrow little dead end road, that in past years has been very birdy! Fortunately things hadn't changed much, after "spishing away" a few minutes two female Purple Finches arrived, lots of Chickadees, Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, Goldfinches, Robins everywhere along with Hairy, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.
One of two female Purple Finches.
A Pileated Woodpecker began to call took flight in the distance, a Red-tailed Hawk landed nearby and spooked it off... further up the road I heard heavy rapping there were two Pileateds, each working a tree (I assume one of these was the previously spooked bird). They were also very cooperative as I walk under one of those trees it was raining tree bark.
A digi-bin shot of one of the Floyd Hill pileateds.
But like an old Billy Mays infomercial...wait there is more....a few hundred feet up the road a smallish dusky looking woodpecker flew into my screech owl imitation.... Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. This species was nearly unheard of in winter a few years ago in Massachusetts, while still unusual they are becoming more frequent, particulaly to the south and coast. But Groton is neither, so this was a nice bonus...and my 6th woodpecker species of the day!

A shot of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

I enjoyed a nice sunset overlooking Surrenden Farm while I tallied the day's numbers.
The day's list, click to enlarge:
Page 1

Page 2

1 comment:

Hilke Breder said...

Tom, sounds like you had a pretty productive CBC. I haven't seen a Northern Shrike for several years. Nice pics of the Pileated W.
Happy Holidays and good birding in 2011!