Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wayland for early migrants

March 25th:

Three people, including the leader, were on this trip.  Just a few days ago the temps were in the 80s, today they barely got to 50F.  We went to the Paine Estate/Green Way property which abuts the Sudbury River and Heard's Pond is on the other side.  Water levels are low so duck counts are lower than past years.  30 Wood Ducks are a highlight of the day.  A couple of Belted Kingfishers were noisy and kept flying back and forth behind the Wayland Town Hall.  Over 400 Tree Swallows were a sight.  We were able to locate bluebirds and a Pine Warbler.

S-Sudbury, rest in Wayland unless noted.

Canada Goose 5 (1-S)
Mute Swan 2
Wood Duck 30 (5-S)
American Black Duck 9 (6-S)
Mallard 21 (11-S)
Green-winged Teal 6
Ring-necked Duck 9 (4-S)
Great Blue Heron 3 (1-S)
Red-tailed Hawk 3 (1-S)
Wilson's Snipe 1
Herring Gull 3
Rock Pigeon ***
Mourning Dove 5
Belted Kingfisher 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3 (2-S)
Downy Woodpecker 16 (4-S)
Hairy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 2 (1-S)
Eastern Phoebe 6 (4-S)
Blue Jay 5 (1-S)
American Crow 14 (2-S)
Fish Crow 1
Tree Swallow 410
Black-capped Chickadee 13 (1-S)
Tufted Titmouse 10 (2-S)
White-breasted Nuthatch 11 (1-S)
Brown Creeper 1 singing-S
Carolina Wren 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Eastern Bluebird 5
American Robin 36
Starling ***
Pine Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 32 (4-S)
White-throated Sparrow 22
Dark-eyed Junco 5
Northern Cardinal 22 (2-S)
Red-winged Blackbird 85 (10-S)
Common Grackle 140 (10-S)
House Finch 3
American Goldfinch 8
House Sparrow ***

42 species

Glenn d'Entremont


March 23,2012:

4 people joined me, two from the South Shore Bird Club.  Not a great woodcock show this year, but had four individuals.  Only once did a full display get observed.  A singing Hermit Thrush was a nice sound in the twilight.  Two early Pine Warblers were singing, too.  Water levels were the lowest I have seen for March and there were no Wood Frogs which are usually very numerous.

Glenn d'Entremont

Monday, March 5, 2012

Owl Prowl Trip

March 3, 2012  Owl Prowl

  Nine participants enjoyed a late winter evening of owling with excellent conditions and comfortable temperatures.  Our group started the trip at the Elm St. end of the Burrage Pond W.M.A. in Halifax/Hanson.  Our mission was to observe Short-eared Owls at this location since they have been regular here over the years and the nearby Cumberland Farms fields - another reliable location for this species - has not produced any recent reports.  

  While waiting for dusk at Burrage Pond W.M.A., our group was treated to the "peenting" of several American Woodcocks emanating from the tangles at the edge of a nearby clearing.  Eventually, six birds were engaging in courtship display all around us.  One participant was able to spot a peenting American Woodcock at the edge of the sandy trail and the entire group was treated to binocular views of this reclusive species.  With all of the American Woodcocks vocalizing and displaying, it was difficult to remain focused on our quarry: Short-eared Owls.  As the evening light faded, one participant observed two birds at the north end of the bogs that were possible candidates for this species.  However, the birds were distant and the light was minimal, so we had to let these birds remain unconfirmed.

  When we arrived back at the parking lot, we were lucky to have a vocalizing Eastern Screech-Owl.  Though the bird was close and quite vocal, it did not venture beyond the thick cover of several young White Pines.  Before leaving for our next stop, our group paused to observe the night sky and enjoyed incredible views of constellations and planets through our scopes and binoculars.

  Next we decided to try for owls along West St. in Plympton since there had been a recent report of Barred Owls from this location.  We tried for all of the regularly occurring owls in this type of habitat (mostly Red Oak/White Pine forest and some patches of Red Maple Swamp), but came up empty.  Things picked up quickly, however, when we we made a stop at the bridge over the Winnetuxet River and had three calling Eastern Screech-Owls and unobstructed views of a red morph bird.

Eastern Screech Owl

  With this flurry of activity, our group was energized and encouraged to pursue more owls.  We decided that our next stop should be at Crooked Lane in Lakeville.  We tried for owls at several stops along Crooked Lane and were rewarded with a vocalizing Eastern Screech-Owl near the bridge over the cattail marsh.

  Lastly, our group checked an area in the vicinity of Pocksha Pond in Lakeville and one last stop at the Nemasket River in Middleboro.  By this time the wind had picked up and the owling became a bit more challenging.  Despite the lack of species diversity this evening, it was an enjoyable experience for all participants and an opportunity to study Eastern Screech-Owl vocalizations in areas with little noise and light pollution and few cars. 

  Stay tuned for the next club owl prowl to be scheduled sometime in early winter later this year.

  1.                                 Jim Sweeney