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. Not...one...duck...So then I headed over to Little Chauncy.....again...not....one...duck....
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 road.....so 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!
Brant- Boylston #196
Lesser Scaup- Clinton #197
Purple Gallinule- Westborough #198