Saturday, August 11, 2012

Recent odds and ends

Back in July a Clear Winged Shinx Moth "roosted on a flowering plant on the back deck. The handsome moth had actually ended up on Karin's arm while she watered the flowers, she placed it back on the plant, were it stayed the night.
A Clear Wing Sphinx moth, from July
Karin and I recently hiked Mount Monadnock from the east side. We started started at the Birchtoft Trail near Gilson Pond, onward to the Cascade Link Trail, then up the steep Spellman Trail and lastly the Pumpelly to the Summit. One avian highlight on the way up was a calling Yellow-billed Cuckoo (a New Hampshire first for me).  The return was via the Pumpelly, Red Spot, Cascade Link and lastly the Birchtoft (forgoing the steep Spellman Trail on the descent).
Gilson Pond, along the Birchtoft Train, an eastern approach to
Mt. Monadnock

Not much scenery from the top of the Spellman Trail

Cairns along the Pumpelly Train nearing the summit of
Mt. Monadnock
The water level at Muddy Pond (Sterling Peat) continues to drop, a visit on Friday 8/10 produced Killdeer (26), Semipalmated Plover (1), Least Sandpiper (~30), Pectoral Sandpiper (1), Spotted Sandpiper (2 or 3) and 7 Solitary Sandpipers. Local birders will keep a sharp eye on Muddy Pond, for inland shorebird rarities, over the several weeks.
 Looks like someone "pulled the plug at "Muddy Pond (aka Sterling Peat),

Several Least Sandpipers (an adult to the upper left) and Killdeer were present

At least one Killdeer had rufous upper wing coverts

Rufous looking Killdeer and brown in forground, I am not sure the
significance of this trait?

A stealthy juvenile Green Heron closes in on a meal.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Common Loons (additional nesting) and Muddy Pond (Sterling)

Common Loons have been found on the following smaller bodies of water in the North Central Mass. area this summer, each of these lakes has had nesting or territorial loons over the past several years. In addition to the Leominster birds, from my 7/19 post, I observed pairs in the following bodies of water:
On 7/20
Bickford Pond (Hubbardston, Ma.) :                 2 adult with a single chick
Mare Meadow Reservoir (Westminster, Ma.):  2 adults NO chicks
Wachusett Lake (Westminster, Ma.):               2 adults with a single chick
Upper Naukeg Lake (Ashburnham): 2 or 3 adults and NO young observed
Lake Wompanoag (Ashurnham/Gardner): 1 adult No Young observed
(these should be checked again, as additional loons could've been out of my sight-line.)

Common Loon stretching its wings on Upper Naukeg Lake

Belted Kingfisher (female) at Upper Naukeg Lake
Water levels have dropped on some area lakes and ponds, most noteably Whitmanville Resevoir in Westminster, were I was able to find a few Least Sandpipers, a Solitary Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plover. Muddy Pond (aka Sterling Peat) is very low as of 8/4, were Killdeer (31), Spotted Sandpiper (3), Solitary Sandpiper (9) and a minimum of 36 Least Sandpipers. A Great Egret, Great Blue Herons, Green Heron, Hooded Mergansers (3) and Green-winged Teal (2) were also noteable.
A Juv. Green Heron at Muddy Pond

A Juv. Least Sandpiper at Muddy Pond

Great Egret at Muddy Pond

Great Egret (Same as above) alighting on a mud flat

Exposed shoreline should continue to attract shorebirds during August and Sept.
Should waterlevel remain low.