Sunday, December 14, 2014

Eastern Bluebirds at Chestnut Hill Farm

This morning I checked out a few of my Southboro birding locations, just to see what I could find.  At Rural Cemetery, the only thing of interest was this rather large fungus in one of the old trees.

Next I stopped at the Rural Cemetery extension on Middle Road.  Besides Dark-Eyed Juncos, the cemetery was quiet here, too.  There was an American Robin dining on sumac.

I headed next to Chestnut Hill Farm.  A Red-Tailed Hawk flew across the road as I neared the entrance, perching near enough to the road that I could stop and photograph it.

Red-Tailed Hawk

I never even made it out of the parking lot at Chestnut Hill Farm before I noticed a bird sitting on a stake in the meadow.  With my binoculars, I was able to confirm it was a bluebird.  I noticed more in the tree above the stake.

Eastern Bluebirds

They shortly flew down to the fence along the end of the parking lot, where two of them proceeded to hunt, flying down to the meadow and then back up to the post.  I really enjoyed watching them for a good quarter of an hour.

Eastern Bluebird

There were also 8 Mourning Doves strutting through the meadow just on the other side of the fence.  Of course, they flew off as soon as I got out of the car.  A bit later, while I was still watching the bluebirds, a large flock of European Starlings flew in to the same area.  It was very busy!

Mourning Dove

European Starlings

I saw another Red-Tailed Hawk in a tree along Route 30 and was able to pull over and get a decent photo of it, too.

Red-Tailed Hawk

I made one more stop on my way home and saw more Eastern Bluebirds searching for their breakfasts. I kind of like the juxtaposition of the sweet Eastern Bluebird with the sharp barbed wire fencing.

Eastern Bluebirds

Meanwhile, back at home, I heard the singing of a Carolina Wren before I closed the garage door, and I was able to spot him/her in a shady spot in the woods.

Carolina Wren

Later in the afternoon, I drove over to Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord.  I should have expected the trails would be flooded, but I can't say that I thought it through.  I had to limit my hiking to the Edge Trail.  I stopped at each end where the water crossed the path.  In spite of the curtailed trail access, I did see a Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Canada Geese, an American Coot, Song Sparrows, Tufted Titmice, a Brown Creeper, a Downy Woodpecker, and one huge tail-slapping Beaver.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

The lower impoundment seemed to be a dead lotus blossom collection point.  They were loosely connected with spider webs, and I just thought it was an interesting looking scene so I took a photo of it.

Song Sparrow

American Coot

A couple of hikers with waders came across the flooded area.  A bird started a honking type noise, and I went back to see if I could see what it was.  I asked them if it was the American Coot.  They told me they had heard a loud splash, like a rock dropping in the water, and then saw a black bird fly into the trees but lost sight of it.  After they moved on, I heard two more loud splashes just like they had described.  I immediately thought it must be a beaver slapping its tail.  The splashes were nearing the path, so I waited a bit to see if it might appear, and voila!  Beaver crossing!

Brown Creeper

Canada Geese

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