Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gardner WWTP 3/22

After I got a haircut Friday morning, I stopped by the Gardner WasteWater Treatment Plant for a few minutes before work. There was a nice variety of birds and I captured the following images during the short visit between 06:31 and 06:48 AM
Three Hooded Mergansers were close to the road.

Same bird silhouetted.

A female "hoodie" taking flight

The trio setting down

These two Canada Geese still had frosty backs from a cold "spring" night.

This Mink was "caught" running along the frozen edge of the Otter River

In mid stride

One of two Great Blue Herons waiting for warmer temperatures to arrive

I spooked these Mallards, there were also 8 Wood Ducks nearby.
John and Nathan Williams found two Yellow-rumped Warblers, in the area, during the Westminster Christmas Bird Count back in December. Wendy Howes saw one them in January and I one in February. Two were present Friday and it would seem reasonable to assume these are the same that John and Nathan found 3 month ago. It is noteworthy these two warblers survived the whole winter in the "highlands" of North Worcester County with last month and a half being particularly harsh!
One Yellow-rumped Warbler

Both yellow-rumps interacting.

A Northern Cardinal was perched high and singing
Other notable birds were a singing Brown Creeper, Winter Wren and Song Sparrows.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Westminster/Fitchburg 3/3/13

Wild Turkeys are now hitting our yard and feeder pretty hard, this morning 33 showed up!

Karin captured these "retreating" from the yard last Tuesday.
A few "toms" displayed, see the video clip below, while we watched from the deck. Eventually a few birds flew up to the deck and fed just a few yards away from the opened kitchen door. Yesterday I noticed the first Red-winged Blackbirds and a single Brown-headed Cowbird just down the road a bit from home.

Another male framed through the woodwork of the deck.

I did a little birding in Fitchburg and Westminster this afternoon, notable birds were my first local Turkey Vultures and a single Common Grackle. Common and Hooded Mergansers were in a few locations and there was a nice congregation of gulls on Saw Mill Pond, on the Fitchburg/Westminster border. Of the 400+/- present about 350 were Herring, 40+ Great Black-backed and 1 Ring-billed. 
A Red-tailed Hawk on a mill smoke stack along the Nashua River in Fitchburg
Back in early February, I had seen a **** (white-winged..likely an Iceland) at the Valley Shopping Plaza in Fitchburg,  while Karin and I had loaded up the groceries. Yesterday it was again present, so I returned today and got a few photos of the bird as it loafed atop a vacant store. In viewing through the scope I could see the light colored eye, thus making this a 2nd winter bird.
2nd winter (note the light eye) white-winged gull**** atop a vacant store
a closer view of the white-winged gull***

Hooded Mergansers and a pair of Common Goldeneye on Saw Mill Pond.

Two handsome drake 'hoodies"

A pair of Red-tailed Hawks at Fitchburg Airport.
I had hoped to see a Killdeer or two at the Fitchburg airport but struck out. With a fair amount of snow cover in north Worcester County the Killdeer arrival maybe delayed a bit in higher elevations, same for American Woodcock. However each of these will likely show in the next few weeks.