Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Norfolk/Wrentham area 12/02/2012

Two birders joined me for the South Shore Bird Club (SSBC) outing at
Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk this morning. There was ice
on much of the water and thick fog for much of the walk, but we had a
nice morning of casual birding. A highlight was two Golden-crowned
Kinglets who came within a few feet for exceptional views along the
main boardwalk. Also along the boardwalk, we identified several
native shrubs and saw the tracks of a Mink in the snow.

We observed one Green-winged Teal on the water feeding alongside two
American Black Ducks and two Mallards. Which is to say, there were
not many ducks today. In the field near the parking lot, we noticed a
uniquely feathered Canada Goose (see photo).

Around 10am, we headed to the William Rice Fields in nearby Wrentham
to see if the Lark Sparrow was around. We didn't find the bird today
but had a nice time watching and listening to a small flock of Eastern
Bluebirds. A couple Savannah Sparrows also made themselves known.

Below are the lists from both locations.

--Josh Fecteau (filling in for Nancy Swirka)

Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Norfolk, US-MA
Dec 2, 2012 7:50 AM - 10:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.9 mile(s)
24 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 19
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) 2
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) 2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 2
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 4
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 4
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 10
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) 2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 10
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) 2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 1
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 10
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 10
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 4
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 6
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 2
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 20

View this checklist online at

William Rice Athletic Fields, Wrentham, Norfolk, US-MA
Dec 2, 2012 10:20 AM - 11:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.6 mile(s)
16 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 40
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 1
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 7
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 1
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) 2
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 6
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 1
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 10
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 6

View this checklist online at

Josh Fecteau

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Plymouth County Waterfowl Survey - 11/17/2012

The third annual Plymouth County Waterfowl Survey was run on Nov 17, and 20 Club members participated. There were four field teams in all, led by Charlie Nims, David Ludlow, Jim Sweeney and Glenn D'Entremont. Skies were clear and there was no ice on the ponds, so the game was on. The goal for the day is to find and count all the waterfowl on freshwater ponds in Plymouth County.  This time of year the days are short but by the end of this day we had recorded over 5,000 waterfowl.

Ruddy Duck

  Some of the most interesting ducks included a female Barrow's Goldeneye, two Northern Shovelers, a White-winged Scoter, Red-throated and Common Loons and Pied-billed, Horned and Red-necked Grebes.
More broadly, we noted a second year of decline in the numbers for Mallards and Am. Black Ducks, and we saw the number of Am. Coots return to normal after a huge year last year.
There were also some fine land birds seen near the ponds and lakes, and in other nearby locations once the count was complete. The biggest star was the NORTHERN LAPWING in Bridgewater, and close behind was a pair of Long-eared Owls seen in flight at the Cumberland Farm Fields in Middleboro (dusk).

Northern Lapwing
  It turned out to be a slow day for waterfowl in Abington, but John Galluzzo got a nice picture of a Coyote.


The tally was held at Finna's Tavern in Kingston, and they did a good job for us, providing a separate area for us and plenty of good beer and food.

Joe Scott

Friday, November 30, 2012

Leader's Choice - Westport 11/24/2012

A combined Brookline, South Shore, Cape Cod bird club(s) leader's choice trip went to Westport today.  This was the day of Cave Swallow (finally-state bird for me).  We either had 7, 8, or 14 (see explaination below).  Windy conditions made land birding slow.  Had 11 White-winged Crossbills.  Not much more for highlights.

A-Allen's Pond, remainder at Westport unless noted

Canada Goose 36
Mute Swan 43 (2-A)
Black Duck 43 (18-A)
Mallard 5
Green-winged Teal 2-Little Compton, RI
Greater Scaup 16
Common Eider 5
Surf Scoter 10
White-winged Scoter 4
Bufflehead 55 (20-A)
Hooded Merganser 9
Red-breasted Merganser 12
Ruddy Duck 95
Red-throated Loon 3
Common Loon 8 (1-A)
Pied-billed Grebe 3 (1-A)
Horned Grebe 23 (2-A)
Great Cormorant 20 (6-A)
Great Blue Heron 2 (1-A)
Turkey Vulture 3-A
Northern Harrier 1
accipter, sp 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Sanderling 27
Purple Sandpiper 4
Ring-billed Gull ***
Herring Gull ***
Great Black-backed Gull ***
Mourning Dove 4
Belted Kingfisher 1-Little Compton, RI
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 1
Blue Jay 6
American Crow 7 (2-A)
CAVE SWALLOW 14 (were there really 14?  The first bird was seen flying north along the Gooseberry Neck causeway and continuing north.  The next 6 were flying westward along the beach and last seen heading west, but not seen when they would have hit the wind head on.  The next stop was Allen's Pond {South Dartmouth} and we had 6 there.  The last bird was seen early afternoon at Richmond Pond.  So 7, 8 or 14?)
Black-capped Chickadee 8 (2-A)
Tufted Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 6 (2-A)
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
American Robin 2-A
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 3 (2-A)
Starling 2000 (pig farm, Division Road)
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER 1 Not actually seen, heard chip note many time and would not give us a view
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5 (3-A)
American Tree Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow (Ipswich) 1
Song Sparrow 13 (5-A)
Swamp Sparrow 1-A
White-throated Sparrow 17 (2-A)
Dark-eyed Junco 4
Northern Cardinal 6 (2-A)
Brown-headed Cowbird 20
House Finch 20-A
American Goldfinch 4 (1-A)
House Sparrow ***

59 species


Glenn d'Entremont:  
Stoughton, MA

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Great Pond, Randolph/Braintree - 11/11/2012

Five birders gathered together at Great Pond in Randolph/Braintree early Sunday morning. The skies were overcast to begin and then slowly started to clear out. A steady south wind with temps in the 40sF made for chilly viewing conditions on the exposed dike that bisects the upper and lower portion of the pond.

Great Pond is the public water supply for the towns of Randolph, Braintree and Holbrook. This reservoir and surrounding upland encompasses an area nearly 400 acres in size. The main access points are from Pond Street ( just south of the water treatment plant) and at the end of Norroway Road, both of which are on the Randolph side. Both of these starting points eventually lead to the dike that bisects the upper and lower sections of the pond. The dike is where viewing is best, not only for scanning the water, it also provides a commanding view of the sky (think raptors!). A small flock of American Pipits were "working" the dike as we made our way out there.
Overall waterfowl numbers were down a bit, but diversity was high. Today, most of the waterfowl were quite distant. 2 Black Scoters were seen well in the lower portion of the pond. All 3 species of Scoter can be seen here in November (peak of migration), but they do not linger for long, as they much prefer the coast.

Purple Sandpiper

The real highlight of the walk turned out to be a shorebird that was sitting on an exposed rock near the dike on the lower portion of the pond; PURPLE SANDPIPER! These short-legged, plump sandpipers are almost exclusively found in coastal locations; totally unexpected at this inland body of freshwater!

45 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose  2    
Mute Swan  2
Mallard  2
Ring-necked Duck  41 low *(there is often a flock of 300+ here at this time of year)
Greater Scaup  6
Lesser Scaup  7
Greater/Lesser Scaup  10
Black Scoter  2    Females
Bufflehead  25
Common Goldeneye  12
Hooded Merganser  29
Common Merganser  6    
Ruddy Duck  59
Common Loon  1
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  5
Great Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
American Coot  13
PURPLE SANDPIPER  1    Total surprise!! Lower section of pond on one of the rocks close to the dike. Unexpected away from the immediate coast.
Ring-billed Gull  10
Herring Gull (American)  45
Great Black-backed Gull  7
Mourning Dove  5
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  46
Black-capped Chickadee  5
Tufted Titmouse  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  4
American Robin  5
European Starling  3
American Pipit  11    Along dike. One flock of 9 and 2 others seen well.
Cedar Waxwing  1
American Tree Sparrow  3
Savannah Sparrow  1    heard only
Song Sparrow  4
Northern Cardinal  1
Pine Siskin  1    Flyover; calling
American Goldfinch  1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

American Pipit

The trip continued on over to Reservoir Pond in Canton. This is a great location for Ruddy Ducks and we counted 120 (300+ is not uncommon).  Like Great Pond today, most of the ducks were distant, but we were able to pick out some Common Mergansers. These large diving ducks are one of the later migrants in our area. 
On our way back to the cars a flock of approx. 40 White-winged Crossbills were on the wing and briefly alighted on a conifer! There seems to be a great "winter finch" flight underway.

29 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose  10
Mute Swan  6
Mallard  9
Greater Scaup  2
Lesser Scaup  11
Greater/Lesser Scaup  19
Bufflehead  10
Hooded Merganser  6
Common Merganser  5
Ruddy Duck  120     Typically up to 300 at this time of year here.
Common Loon  2
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  1
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Ring-billed Gull  4
Herring Gull (American)  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Blue Jay  3
Tufted Titmouse  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Carolina Wren  1
American Robin  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  2
Northern Cardinal  1
House Finch  1
White-winged Crossbill  40  
Pine Siskin  1
American Goldfinch  4

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (
Vin Zollo

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield - 11/10/2012

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary
November 10
8 AM to 12 noon

After a spectacular start viewing at least 10 Evening Grosbeaks feeding in the trees around the caretakers house and the entry garden to the sanctuary, five of us scoured all the trails on the property.  Light winds at 10-15 were cool, tempering the warmth of a brilliant sun at about 45-50 degrees.  Not long after the grosbeaks were spooked by a Cooper's Hawk, a Northern Shrike flew overhead, hovering briefly near us, and landing on the top of a tree near the first blind. The shrike was in juvenile plumage, quite brownish, mask not yet very dark, and belly showing streaking.  We encountered the same bird on our return toward the blind on adjacent fenceposts.  Most of the birds we encountered were at or near the entrance to the sanctuary, in the gardens, and the blind.  Even at noon several new species appeared in the garden, including my first Tree Sparrows of the fall.

38 species total
Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Green-winged Teal
Double-crested Cormorant
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Northern Shrike
Juvenile plumage
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Birds seen on wires and bluebird boxes at one time; perhaps 4 more
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak
Males and females feeding in crabapple and entry garden until spooked by a Cooper's Hawk; at least 5 were seen at the North River Sanctuary the preceding day
House Sparrow

Sally Avery, leader