Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sudbury Reservoir Trail

I stopped in Southboro during lunch to check out the reservoir.  It was relatively quiet.  The trail is flooded just beyond the playing fields, so if you plan to hike, wear your boots (or waders!).  The edges of the reservoir are above the normal water line, too.  It's proof that the snow is melting fast!  It felt like spring out there - 45 degrees!  And the sun was out for at least an hour!

 Northern Cardinal (male)

Gorgeous!  Too bad that little branch was in the way!  He was singing his heart out.

 Mute Swan

This mute swan was tucked in and taking a nap, but lifted his head long enough for me to get a picture. It just looks like a pile of sheets when it's napping!

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves flock together during the winter months, only separating into pairs for spring.  Maybe they're waiting for March 21st?

On Route 85, I spotted another Mute Swan as well as six Common Goldeneyes in the waters east of the road.  Wished I could have found a safe place to photograph them, but the road is a causeway there and the pull off areas at both ends were still snowed in.  It was the closest look I have had at Common Goldeneyes yet. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Brown Creeper

I just love this bird.  I saw it for the first time last year (when I started paying more attention to birds).  Its camouflage is superb.

Brown Creeper
Wildwood Cemetery
Ashland, MA

Do you see it?  

Here are a couple closer looks:

Per the Cornell Lab or Ornithology website, All About Birds, Brown Creepers search for small insects and spiders by hitching upward in a spiral around tree trunks and limbs.

If you look closely at the photo above, you will see that it has some tiny morsel of food in its bill.  Yes, I trudged through deep snow without boots in order to get a closer look.  It was worth it!

Wild Turkeys

The snow continued into the night last night and this morning, everything was coated in white.

Hopkinton State Park was closed this morning, due to the snow, so I headed over to the Gristmill in Sudbury.

Mary-Martha Chapel

On the way home, I stopped at the Sudbury Reservoir Trail on Parkerville Road in Southboro to check the water there.  There was a pair of Hooded Mergansers, but they were not too cooperative and disappeared shortly after I stopped.

 Hooded Mergansers

Northern Cardinal (male)

 Wild Turkeys

On the way home, I had a surprise sighting when I stopped at the intersection of Parkerville Road and Route 30.  These turkeys were right next to the road, almost within reach from the car.  Luckily, I still had my camera out and snapped this photo through the passenger window.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Parker River NWR

I drove up to Plum Island today hoping for a good bird outing before the coming snow storm.  It was grey and cold, but it was wonderful to be at the ocean.

Northern Pintails 
(some showing their pintails)

American Black Duck

Song Sparrow

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Common Loon

Friday, February 22, 2013

Reservoir #1

Last night, when we drove past the Framingham Country Club, there was a pretty large sized group of ducks in a small water hazard just to the right of the road (across from the clubhouse).  I had hoped to get a look at them on the way home, but it was too dark to see.

Today, at lunchtime, I drove over to take a look.  Nothing.  In fact, that water hazard from frozen solid. They must have been sitting on ice last night.  I continued down Salem End Road and saw a flock of ducks swimming in the water north of the bridge before Temple Street.  I turned around and parked and carefully made my way back to the water (no sidewalks on this part of the road and lots of traffic).

Turns out it was a flock of Ring-Necked Ducks, mostly males, numbering about 3 dozen.  There were at least two females among them, plus three Hooded Mergansers, and four Mute Swans.

 Ring-Necked Ducks

 Hooded Merganser (front and center)

Mute Swans

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Farm Pond

I took a walk this morning at Farm Pond.  It was a beautiful day, although still windy.  There were a few people out - one dog walker, one father and his sledding daughter (who also walked on the ice at the edge of the pond), and two ice fishermen who walked way too close to the open water.  They did not look safe at all, but they both survived!

Here is a sampling of the birds I saw:

Mute Swan - sitting on the ice
Made me think he was dreaming of spring

Ring-Billed Gull

The dog walker threw some bread onto the ice, which attracted quite a few Ring-Billed Gulls.

Red-Tailed Hawk

I was amazed how close to the open water these two ice fisherman were.....I kept expecting one of them to disappear....

A mixed group of Mute Swans and Canada Geese at the end of the open water.....nothing terribly exciting from a birding point of view.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Quick Birding Stop at Institute Park

We started the process of visiting colleges today at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester.  After the tour was over, I negotiated a few minutes at Institute Park across the street, where I had seen quite a few interesting ducks.

Hooded Merganser (female)

Common Mergansers

 Canada Geese

Great Blue Heron

Mute Swan

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ring-Billed Gull Runs on Dunkin

You know the advertisement, "America Runs on Dunkin"?   If you live in New England, you hear it one hundred times a day.  Well, apparently,  this Ring-Billed Gull runs on Dunkin!    Someone dropped a donut in the parking lot (how could they?), and this gull did not let it go to waste.

Per All About Birds, an adult Ring-Billed Gull shows a yellow eye with red skin around it during summer.  This guy's getting an early start.  Bet he wants a coffee to go with that donut!

Dunkin Donuts parking lot
Framingham, MA

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Birding in Concord

I made an attempt to see the LeConte's Sparrow reported over in Concord, MA.  I parked up at the lot next to the historic house on the main road, then walked over to Shadyside Avenue and down the narrow little road until I got to where 4 other birders were already in position with binoculars.  They had already been there for half an hour and had not had any luck.  There were sparrows along the edge of the road, but none were THE sparrow.  Oh well!

Song Sparrow

These birds would fly out of the brush to the edge of the road without much fear of the people standing there waiting for THE sparrow.  A huge noisy plow went by and they only disappeared for a few minutes before coming back to scratch at the edge again.

American Tree Sparrow

Next, I drove over to Great Meadows NWR.  Just as I arrived, every other car in the parking lot was leaving.  Let me just say now that they were the wise ones.   The wind was whipping across the impoundments with full gale force.  It was crazy.  My eyes and nose streamed from the cold.

That is blowing snow, not fog!

I couldn't go on.  I turned back, stopping only when I saw a Marsh Wren around the bridge.  That was worth stopping for!

Marsh Wren

The trail - lots of blowing snow

It was cold today - 22 degrees when I went out at 1:30 pm and some serious wind chill made it much worse.  The wind was fierce.  The sun was not doing its job this afternoon either......

Yes, that is the sun.  Pretty weak, if you ask me!