Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sterling Peat 4/5

I birded Muddy Pond at "Sterling Peat" this morning, where I found a nice group of ~225 Ring-necked Ducks, a few Common Goldeneyes, Green-winged Teal (10), Pied-billed Grebe (2), Belted Kingfisher, Wilson's Snipe (10), Eastern Phoebe (3) and dozen or so Tree Swallows.

A nice surprise was a Horned Grebe in a transitional plumage that was a bit "foriegn" to me. But, based on this bird's relatively straight and "heavy" bill, along with head shape would seem to fit Horned Grebe rather than a rare Eared. Ita was was fairly close in size to the nearby Pied-billed Grebes that were present. A few digi-scope shots, poor ones at that, are below (with Ringed-necked Ducks): An "ear-ee" looking photo..the bird was looking away making the bill look rather small. The back of its head
A nice profile, soing its head shape and straight bill...
..another similar to the one above, its bill does appear to be straight like a Horned and NOT "up-swept" like an Eared.

It is some what unusual to see Horned Grebes on such a small body of water, such as Muddy Pond. But, I have seen this species a few times on Crystal Lake and Wright's Reservior in Gardner and once on the Mount Wachusett Community College campus pond! Today's bird stuck to the shore line (the far shore at that) and moved in and out of some vegetation.

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