Thursday, May 28, 2015

Late migrants and nesting Herons

During the late afternoon on the 24th a flycatcher passed over the back deck, fortunately it stopped on a nearby dead tree at the edge of the yard. Open further inspection it turned out to be an Olive-sided Flycatcher, it only stayed about 5 minutes....long enough to grab the camera and snap a few photos.

This Olive-sided Flycatcher was a yard first!
On Monday I took some time to check the progress on a nearby Great-blue Heron Colony, at High Ridge WMA.  There were 21 active nests, about 1/2 had newly hatched young in the nests, while the remainder had adults that appeared to be incubating. One industrious heron was still adding small branches, from an eastern hemlock, to a nest while its mate sat "tight" on the nest. Other hi-lights were a Wood Duck with 11 newly hatched young, a Black-billed Cuckoo calling, many Bobolinks in the nearby hay fields and some nice views of common area nesters.

A pair of Chestnut-sided Warblers

A "scolding" House Wren

A very cooperative Red-eyed Vireo

Great-blue heron coming for a landing, its mate's head can be seen in the lower left of the photo.

Adult with newly hatched chicks

A Common Grackle sitting on eggs, with out the bright eyes it would have gone unnoticed.

Great-crested Flycatcher

This Wood Duck had 11 youngsters.

An Alder Flycatcher from along Scoot Brook in Royalston.

Swamp Sparrow also from Scott Brook.
An other nice local bird was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher heard during hike with Karin, at Wachusett Mountain, along the Jack Frost trail.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Am. Woodcock and WW Scoter migrants

While some of the later migrants have just arrived in the past week including; Alder and Willow Flycatchers and Eastern Wood Peewees, many of the earlier arrivals and residents are settling down to their domestic chores. During lunch earlier this week I was fortunate to view and photograph an American Woodcock with a single chick, not far from Lake Dennison. The sea duck migration is still on and a few White-winged Scoters dropped in to Crystal lake during heavy fog on Monday the 18th.
Female Red-winged Blackbird in Gardner

A handsome American Goldfinch in its finest breeding plumage, at home.

Its always a treat to see scoters on inland bodies of water during migration, these White-winged Scoters  set down Crystal Lake on Monday 5/18 during heavy fog. They likely moved on as quickly as the fog burnt off. 

male Baltimore Oriole in Gardner

A female Common Yellowthroat

a male Chestnut-sided Warbler from Otter River State Forest

An American Woodcock chick, the tail end of the parent is to the left.

The parent Woodcock with its chick (just behind), staying inside the car helped to keep the birds at ease.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Late April to May 15th

Most migrants have returned to the area, here are a few photos from the last few weeks.
An adult male American Redstart at Crystal Lake Cemetery

Black and White Warbler from High Ridge WMA, in Gardener
A Magnolia Warbler from the Crystal Lake area.

This Savanah Sparrow was looking "sharp" at Sholan Farm in Leominster.

Eastern Kingbird in Baldwinville

Brown Thrasher, one of a pair at High Ridge WMA...collecting nesting material.

This Gray Catbird showed nicely at home.
Green Heron from Neighborhood Road within High Ridge WMA.

A handsome Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the yard.

Back on 4/21 I found a pair of Merlins in Gardner, that were checking out an old crow nest, the male had flown in with prey (a House Sparrow) to offer the female. They were present on subsequent days showing interst in the nesting site and each other. The male flew a "figure 8" pattern around the area and female waited and call from a prominent perch, were the male would join her and they mated several times. The scene has been more quiet in early May, but I did see the female on 5/08 on the edge of the nest, but I have yet to see her incubating, nor the male in the area. During the week of 5/11 I did not see them, on brief perhaps they have not "taken to" the site.
They seem to be "hitting it off" fairly well.

The separation after the "deed".

Female on the edge of the nest 5/8.