Sunday, November 15, 2015

I knew it was coming.

Many of my birder friends knew I was stressing about certain birds. Red-breasted Merganser and Canvasback.  I've had abiut 5 sightings of Red-breasted Mergansers since I found one earlier. Most I've ever gotten in the county. Today I ran into Bart Camp and we were talking and I said Im gonna get a Canvasback. The next stop I went to was Quabog Pond in Brookfield. First bird I put my scope on was a drake Canvasback. I can't tell you how excited I was. I called all the locals and as far as I was told everyone got on it that went. With the whole Franklin's Gull craze that's been going on I've been very focused on finding one. Negative so far. The search isn't over yet. Today was one of the greatest days I had hiking the north Quabbin gates and listening to Barred Owls calling. Great. Freaking. Day. 

Canvasback - Brookfield  #207

Monday, November 9, 2015

1...or 2 Gulls left.

I saw a report (from Rodney Jenkins (2 days late. And again kudos to Jim for the White-rumped Sandpiper and Dunlin he found for me) of a Lesser Black-backed Gull in Charlton at Orlandos Farm.  I bird this everyday. I do a brief look over of the gulls as its had a Black-headed Gull in the past. Admittedly I am not good with first winter birds and this was a first winter bird I was looking for.....I studied up last night on 1st cycle Gulls and much more. Last year I found my own Lesser Black-backed Gull in Millbury at Singletary Lake. It was an adult so it was easy to pick up. As soon as I arrived I picked out the bird immediately. I studied it for awhile and snappedIt  some pics. It was nice to compare it to the other birds in the same cycle.  This was bird number 206. Also of note the last week I have seen 3 Black Vultures on Millbury. Away from Blackstone, Millbury may be the best area for one. Rodney also reported that he had a Sanderling at Lake Lashaway in Brookfield. I went there for that bird and wasn't able to find it. It's hard there with the hills on the island  and patience is needed. I did however find a Dunlin which I had thought was long gone as many people have tried for it since it was last reported. Possible a new one. So for shorebirds Sanderling might be my only one left. Back to gulls. Black-headed Gull and Glaucous Gull are all I need pictures of. I did have a Glaucous Gull earlier in the year but failed to get a photo. Anyone getting any tame Ruffed Grouse?

Lesser Black-backed Gull- Charlton #206

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Finally, it's happened to me, right in front of my face...

Sorry for the song reference. So the last few posts I've cried about not finding a Red-breasted Merganser. I have spent countless hours scanning Common Mergansers at great distances trying like hell to find a RBME. Well today was the day. I worked 11pm-7am and headed right for Scar Hill Rd in Boylston at the Wachusett Reservoir. First birds I saw were Long-tailed Ducks. Then I got to see 2 Spotted Sandpipers fly in. Then about a mile away I see a Merganser. I immediately knew that this was gonna be it. Here is my first pic at full power and my iPhone zoomed in. 

I could see at that point the bird was swimming towards me. I just simply waited. Sure enough it swam 20 feet in front of me where I was able to Digitscope some shots. Hard work paid off. Bring on a Canvasback. One just showed up in Cambridge. 

Red-breasted Merganser- Boylston #205

then yesterday a birded at the Quabbin looking for grouse and owls. neither but i did get a lifer Bobcat

Sunday, November 1, 2015

2 More In The Books

I kinda called it that I was going to get the birds I got this week, well this week. Ill start with Barrow's Goldeneye. I went on Halloween morning with the intention of finding a Barrow's Goldeneye. 2nd bird  I got my scope on was in fact a Barrow's. In ebird it is the earliest record in Worcester County ever and second oldest on the state. Pretty cool. The second bird that I called this week and is on pat for their arrivals was a Snow Bunting. Photographed one at the dike at Wachusett Reservoir where I discovered the Northern Wheatear. The search continues for a Red-breasted Merganser. It's kind of frustrating me not being able to land one. After that I'll need a Canvasback then my Ducks are pretty much covered and I can focus on finding Snowy Owls, Northern Goshawk and Ruffed Grouse.

Barrow's Goldeneye-Southborough #203

Snow Bunting - Sterling  #204

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New County Bird.

For a few years now I've been scouring Wachusett Reservoir in hopes of finding a Red-throated Loon. I've always come up empty. For whatever reason I never had much luck with these birds inland, which is the case for a lot of people. Last night I started work at 11pm and finished at 7am. I wasn't tired when I got out so I decided to drive around Wachusett Reservoir. I was looking for Snow Buntings, Red-throated Loon, and Red-breasted Merganser. Only bird of note were two Red-necked Grebes. They were so close I could hear them calling! At this point I figured I'd go home and sleep before my 3 boys came over for the night. Laid down for 5 min and had the urge to bird again.  Off to Quabog Pond and Lake Lashaway. Quabog looked dead. All he Gulls were just off shore so I figured what the hell let's check them for a rarity. After that I scanned a dead Pond.....then wait....what's that....immediately I knew it was a Red-throated Loon. Took my record shots and called a few local birders. I then continued on to Lashaway where I photographed the Dunlin and 2 White-rumped Sandpipers. I am now at 202. What will I finish at? Next goal is 205. Could I get 210 if the finches come?!?!

Red-throated Loon - Brookfield #202


Purple Gallinule


White-rumped Ssndpiper

Red-necked Grebe

Monday, October 26, 2015

I Hit 200 birds!

What a day!! Lately I've been down on myself thinking it was gonna be difficult to hit 200 birds photographed this year despite all the encouragement from my birding friends. I knew I'd get to 199 because I would definitely get Snow Bunting. Today I hit my local areas and was hoping for some shorebirds. I went to Lake Lashaway to see if any new birds came in. There was a Dunlin here this week that I had missed. I missed it because I was in the wrong spot. I was always birding the boat ramp. I saw the report said town beach. I assumed wrong. I received a text from Kevin Bourinot that he had the Dunlin (Rodney Jenkins had found earlier in the week)) and a White-rumped Sandpiper. I rushed over to the now discovered Town Beach. I had my two youngest in tow and the baby was screaming non-stop (teething). It wasn't a pleasant experience but it was awesome hitting 200! After that I received a call that there was some Surf Scoters on Wachusett Reservoir. I had them already this year but failed to get a picture. This brought me to 201!  Bring on the winter finches and Owls!!!

White-rumped Sandpiper- Brookfield  #199

Dunlin - Brookfield #200

Surf Scoter-Boylston #201


Great Black-backed Gull

Downy Woodpecker

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Unexpected For Sure

I have been going out checking the large bodies of water looking for ducks that I need to close out my year. After today I need Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Loon, Surf Scoter, and Canvasback. I have been searching relentlessly since you last seen a post. In the meantime I had been catching up on updating birds photos. I will post the photo updates for species.

I started off at Wachusett Reservoir. I immediately noticed a raft of birds out quite a ways. The first bird I laid the scope on was a Brant. Common on the coast but every 2 years or so inland in Worcester county. That was unexpected but on my mind. Some other good birds were on the reservoir including Red-necked Grebes, Buffleheads, loads of Common Loons, White-winged Scoters and 2 Bonaparte's Gulls.  I then headed over to Coachlace Pond to look for scaup. The number in the flock had grown and I was able to pick up Lesser Scaup! At this point in my day I was already all smiles knowing I was so close to 200, I knew that I would end up getting Snow Bunting so that would leave me at 198. I then had a few minutes to kill so I thought I would just take a little drive through Westborough WMA. I figured a merganser could show up on Big Chauncy. then I headed over to Little

After the Northern Wheatear I was on the phone with Alan Marble and I had told him..."I got one more rarity in me, I can feel it." What I meant by that was Red-throated Loon or Brant type rarity, not another mega-rarity. I'll take it,

So as I was leaving I saw some sort of chicken-type bird out the corner of my eye hiding in some weeds....screech tires..I didn't get a good look at first and though some sort of large rail.. I knew that the chicken wanted to cross the I waited...laid on the ground and used my car as a blind....5 min later he ran across the road about 30 yards further down. I got the worst shots ever! I thought Purple Gallinule immediately but as always I questioned myself. I sent the screenshot to Tim Sparh and said please tell me this is just a Common and not a Purple. I called him back saying "Dude, this bird doesn't have white flanks" He told me its a Purple Gallinule and he had gotten confirmation from Jeremiah Trimble and Brian Harris. Here I thought Northern Wheatear was going to be my bird of the year.  I am not sure if it tops the Franklin's Gull but I'll take it. I am usually good for a mega or very rare type bird a year... I out did myself this year and probably screwed myself for next year lol! I was able to get the word out immediately. Fortunately, Bob Abbott was able to get on the bird. I went back with Joe Bourget and Matthew Garvey but the bird never reappeared!

what's next?

Brant- Boylston #196

Lesser Scaup- Clinton #197

Purple Gallinule- Westborough #198



Palm Warbler

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Dark-eyed Junco

Yellow-rumped Warbler

American Goldfinch

House Finch

Tufted Titmouse

Black-capped Chickadee

White-breasted Nuthatch

Downy Woodpecker

House Sparrow

Northern Mockingbird

Greater Scaup

Red-necked Grebe