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


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Scoter Day

I went out today in search of the 3 scoter species and some scaup. I hit the Wachusett Reservoir area. I didn't check on the Northern Wheatear as the last two days now have come up empty. She was eating a lot so hopefully she's cruising to Europe or Africa by now. On Mile Hill Rd in Boylston I scoped a small scoter flock. I was able to pull out a Black Scoter amongst the White-winged Scoters. There were also 2 Bonaparte's Gulls flying around as well as a Red-necked Grebe. As normal with in Worcester County Bonaparte's Gulls are normally specs around here. That would all change today. I then ran some errands and birded Quabog Pond in Brookfield. I immediately picked up with my naked eye 2 Gulls off by themselves. That was an instant clue to check on them. They were 2 more Bonaparte's Gulls. I threw out some crackers for the Ring-billed Gulls so my boys could watch. The frenzy brought in the Bonaparte's. I sat on a rock and they didn't mind jt heir picture taken. These are the best looks I've ever had away from the coast. Getting close to 200 species photographed. The Black Scoter put me at 201 on the year seen.

White-winged Scoter- Boylston #194

Black Scoter- Boylston #195


Northern Wheatear

Common Loon

Belted Kingfisher

Saturday, October 3, 2015


I don't even know where to begin. Yesterday was just so awesome with the Wheatear and I was never expecting the next day to add another crazy bird! Nick Paulson called me early this morning and stated that he had a storm-petrel in Sterling. As birders, you know how crazy this is. I ended up there and after we all talked it was identified as a Leach's Storm-Petrel. This was a life bird for me in one of the last places I would of thought I'd of seen one. A great couple weeks in Worcester County! I did go back over to the North Dike for American Pipits. Saw lots of enthusiastic birders watching the Northern Wheatear. Some were put off when I said "i'm just here for the pipits" haha. I was able to photograph American Pipits today as well. Bring on the scoters now!!!

Leach's Storm-Petrel - Sterling #192

American Pipit- Sterling #193


Savannah Sparrow

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Oh my!

I had a few minutes today to try and snag an American Pipit today. I am so glad that I went to Wachusett Reservoir. Sad news....didn't get a Pipit but instead found a Northern Wheatear. Even more exciting was the fact that I was able to get so many people on the bird  I love being able to give back to people that have helped me over the years. The bird was present for hours until dark. hopefully sticks around.  9 shy of 200. I'm excited.  Bird was hunting crickets and calling a bunch. So lucky!!

Northern Wheatear -Sterling #191



Swamp Sparrow 

White-crowned Sparrow 

Common Loon

Bald Eagle