Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bohemian Waxwings!!

According to the weather report, the morning was going to be the only decent part of the day for being outside.  I wasn't very motivated to go when it was cloudy and grey, but my husband encouraged me to get out there.  I sure wasn't going to see anything sitting in the kitchen.  Boy, am I glad I did!

First, I checked Central Mass Birders Facebook page and saw an early morning report of Horned Larks in Sutton, MA.  I made that my first target destination.  I doubt I ever would have thought to check piles of manure on my own, so I'm glad someone else shared their location!  These birds (8 of them) were way off the road and the land was marked with "No Trespassing" signs, so these are the best photos I could get.  Happy to see them!

From here, I headed on to Gardner, MA, where a red morph Eastern Screech Owl has been reported for more than a week.  On my way there, with no expectation at all in seeing them, I saw a pretty good-sized flock of Bohemian Waxwings (with a few Cedars mixed in).  What a thrill!  They were skittish, but I was able to get a few good photos.  What a beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, and exciting bird to see!  Life bird!

Bohemian Waxwings
Enjoying some juniper berries freshly exposed by the melting snow

 Cedar Waxwing
trying to blend in with his fancier Bohemian cousins

Look at that rear view!

Too bad it wasn't sunny!  After I chased these birds around for a while, I decided I'd better continue on to the cemetery and see if I could find the owl.  It was getting colder, and the weather was taking a turn for the worse.  I found 4 photographers ahead of me already set up and looking at the owl.  I took a few photographs, and then a snow squall blew in so I put my camera inside my coat.  The owl didn't like the weather either.  It was sitting above a vertical hole, which also had a horizontal opening just below where the owl was perched.  When it decided to take cover from the snow squall, it looked like it was taking an elevator down the hole.  It went down, down, down, passing the opening as it went.  That was fun to see!  And am I glad I left the Bohemians when I did or I would have missed the owl completely!

 Eastern Screech Owl
(red morph)

Before heading for home, and as long as I was in the area, I decided to stop and walk the road at Mass Audubon's Wachusett Meadow.  Here I saw my first of 2015 Red-Winged Blackbird, a harbinger of spring.  Maybe it came back too soon, though, for it was eating at the feeder due to all the snow still around.


Chipmunks hibernate in the winter.  This past week, when it was in the 50s, I saw the first chipmunks in my yard.  Spring has sprung!

Black-Capped Chickadee

This bird was preening.  His feathers were so puffed up from the work he was doing.  What a puffball!

American Red Squirrel

American Tree Sparrow (remember the bi-colored bill?)

The sheep came of the barn, but they only had a few feet of "pasture" to stand in.  They didn't stay out very long!

Northern Cardinal

Red-Winged Blackbird
(he doesn't have his red wing yet)

Species seen today:
  1. American Crow
  2. American Goldfinch
  3. American Robin
  4. American Tree Sparrow
  5. Black-Capped Chickadee
  6. Blue Jay
  7. Bohemian Waxwing
  8. Cedar Waxwing
  9. Eastern Bluebird
  10. Eastern Screech Owl
  11. Horned Lark
  12. House Sparrow
  13. Mourning Dove
  14. Northern Cardinal
  15. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  16. Red-Winged Blackbird
  17. Rock Pigeon
  18. Tufted TItmouse
  19. Turkey Vulture
  20. White-Breasted Nuthatch

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