Monday, June 24, 2013

Mt. Greylock, Berkshire County - 6/15/2013

Our annual trip to Mt Greylock was enjoyed by all.  We met at 6:00 a.m. and began our accent.  Stopping every half mile or so we enjoyed the bird sound.  Is something amiss with Hermit Thrush, Black-throated Blue, Ovenbird, Towhee and Junco?  Not necessarily-look at Redstart this year and last; this could be just what might happen on a one day a year count.

We did encounter Mourning Warbler before the "normal" Jone's Nose trail.  In fact, we NOT did get Mourning at Jone's Nose which needs another cutting to keep it in this transitional habitat.  What we did get at Jone's Nose was an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL!  Calling on it's own at 8:00a.m.ish.  What?  Two Swainson's Thrushes at the first bog on the stream once known as the Saddleball Trail (a little wet, OK?).  Chestnut-sided Warbler count has finally changed to something other than 15.

Last year I submitted this post with selected species counts from this trip I do annually on (usually) the third weekend in June to Mt. Greylock.  I added 2013 to those numbers and reposted.  The numbers after the species will be 1992, 93, 94,95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13 separated by a comma.  A "*" means that numbers were not recorded for that species that year.  There is now 20 years of data here:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker:4,6,1,7,10,5,1,2,2,7,5,4,1,5,4,8,4,4,5,3

Common Raven:1,2,0,1,2,0,1,8,3,3,3,3,7,5,0,7,1,2,0,1

Black-capped Chickadee:14,8,6,11,5,4,7,16,7,12,11,8,6,11,7,4,7,4,7,6

Winter Wren:2,5,6,3,9,2,6,4,6,3,6,4,8,7,2,2,5,4,6,3

American Robin:*,47,20,19,15,21,14,27,27,29,29,19,22,31,30,22,27,31,17,20

Wood Thrush:9,4,1,6,2,2,2,6,3,11,4,0,3,2,2,6,1,1,1,0

Hermit Thrush:9,3,11,8,2,3,9,10,5,7,1,4,6,2,1,6,6,5,9,2


Blue-headed Vireo:8,7,5,7,2,3,5,8,1,3,4,1,3,6,4,15,9,1,6,7

Red-eyed Vireo:32,32,48,44,40,47,36,67,58,69,65,59,44,98,86,93,92,94,78,80

Magnolia Warbler:7,7,4,5,2,1,5,6,11,4,4,2,3,7,4,5,3,2,1,3

Black-throated Blue Warbler:12,10,17,9,16,6,9,20,15,12,9,6,8,11,15,11,16,11,14,8

Yellow-rumped Warbler:11,8,6,18,9,15,22,29,23,26,11,14,12,18,15,9,7,11,5,9

Black-throated Green Warbler:4,6,11,5,5,8,5,16,10,14,8,4,9,19,16,10,16,12,8,7

Blackburnian Warbler:18,16,18,19,16,18,13,31,15,15,22,10,16,26,23,20,17,23,26,18

Chestnut-sided Warbler:15,16,11,13,19,22,16,26,29,9,18,17,11,28,24,15,15,15,15,17

Blackpoll Warbler:1,2,3,1,2,2,3,4,7,3,2,2,4,6,7,4,3,4,2,1


Mourning Warbler:1,2,1,2,3,1,2,2,2,2,4,3,2,3,0,3,1,1,0,1

Common Yellowthroat:18,6,8,8,15,7,8,19,5,6,8,6,6,10,5,8,12,4,8,10

Canada Warbler:4,7,5,2,8,6,1,8,2,5,2,0,1,1,2,1,1,2,3,1

American Redstart:14,6,13,17,15,8,19,30,27,31,11,17,12,29,13,19,38,33,18,27

Scarlet Tanager:1,6,3,3,3,4,2,10,1,1,6,4,2,2,1,1,4,3,2,1

Rose-breasted Grosbeak:7,4,4,0,1,0,4,6,2,3,3,2,5,4,0,2,5,4,2,2

Eastern Towhee:13,7,11,9,11,7,8,11,11,10,14,15,4,7,7,4,11,4,14,6

Dark-eyed Junco:20,22,18,27,18,21,13,31,16,31,17,19,14,23,10,19,20,18,19,9

White-throated Sparrow:14,8,9,6,9,11,7,24,8,6,3,3,6,4,7,3,2,2,2,1

Glenn d'Entremont:  Stoughton, MA


Monday, June 17, 2013

Wrentham/Norfolk - 6/1/2013

Two people joined me on June 1st to poke around Norfolk & Wrentham on an extremely hot day. Despite the heat, lots of birds were singing and going about their activities. We began the AM at Mass Audbon’s StonyBrook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk. We had to yield for a goose family walking across the boardwalk. Other highlights included a female Hooded Merganser popping out of a nest box in the marsh, singing Yellowthroats, Orioles and Warbling Vireos, good numbers of Tree Swallows and a possible female Purple Martin. Next we headed to in Norfolk where we encountered singing Willow Flycatchers, Orioles, and egg laying Snapping Turtles along the road. At the old airport field in Norfolk there were good numbers of singing Bobolinks, and behind in soccer fields in Wrentham we had at least 6 Bank Swallows, as well as singing Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows and a Willow Flycatcher. Sadly we could not find any Eastern Meadowlarks which were present here last year.

Bank swallow
  We ended the morning at the Wollomonopoag conservation area in Wrentham. On the way to the area we heard, and one of us saw a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. At the conservation area we observed the active Great Blue Heron rookery as well as an Osprey nest (very uncommon inland here) that is new to this area. I birded this area for the Bird Atlas and Osprey did not nest here then.
I was pleasantly surprised by our list for the day, given the heat. Thanks to Josh Fecteau for great pictures.

Canada Goose 7 
Mute Swan 7 
Hooded Merganser 1 - Stony Brook WS
Great Blue Heron 41
Green Heron 1
Osprey 3 - nest Wollomonopoag Conservation Area
Red-tailed Hawk 1 
Killdeer 3
Mourning Dove 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1 
Chimney Swift 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-peewee 1
Great-crested Flycatcher 1
Willow Flycatcher 4 
Eastern Phoebe 1 
Eastern Kingbird 3 
Warbling Vireo 4 
American Crow 1
Purple Martin 1 - Stony Brook WS 
Tree Swallow 15
Barn Swallow 4
Bank Swallow 6 - Wm. Rice Athletic Fields
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Tufted Titmouse 5 
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 1 
House Wren 2 
Carolina Wren 1 
American Robin 10
Veery 1 
Gray Catbird 3
Northern Mockingbird 1
Cedar Waxwing 4
European Starling 12
Ovenbird 3 
Black-and-white Warbler 1 
Common Yellowthroat 6 
Yellow Warbler 7 
Pine Warbler 2 
Song Sparrow 8
Swamp Sparrow 2
Chipping Sparrow 5
Savannah Sparrow 2 
Northern Cardinal 3
Bobolink 22 - Majority at Norfolk Airport
Red-winged Blackbird 14 
Common Grackle 11
Orchard Oriole 1 
Baltimore Oriole 8
Scarlet Tanager 2
House Finch 2 
American Goldfinch 6 
House Sparrow 12 

56 species
Snapping Turtle
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Nancy Swirka

Friday, June 14, 2013

Seabird and Whale Tales - 6/9/2013

Trip Report

Sooty shearwater. Photo courtesy David Clapp.
Feeding humpback whales and birds.
Photo courtesy David Clapp.
Text and Photos by
David Clapp

We had had about 12" of rain in the past three weeks. There was rain and wind predicted most of the time before and after the date of the all-day NECWA whale & bird outing which would have us out on the ocean looking for sea birds, whales, and whatever else we bumped into. The day of the trip, Sunday the 9th of 2013, was glorious. It was warm, even while at sea, and the sun shone on a reasonably flat ocean. All we needed was whales and birds.

We left Plymouth at about 8 a.m. and headed out and around Provincetown. Fortunately we had more than eight hours at sea as the whale-watch boats had been struggling all week to find marine life to show their passengers. With that in mind we were shooting for the very southern corner of the Cape; off Chatham and the Monomoys. The hope was that there would be marine life there and that, like last year and the year before, we would have another great show. By the end of the day it was as good as we could have hoped for!

Greater shearwater. Photo courtesy David Clapp.
New England Coastal Wildlife Association (under the management of Krill Carson) organizes two outings each year; all day outings that is, to allow time to find, stay with, record, and learn about the marine and pelagic creatures of our ocean. All day is a long time on a boat. All day is a long time to stand or sit on hard seats. All day only works if the seas are calm and the weather bright, and the whales and birds are abundant. Otherwise all day seems like all week.

Sooty shearwater. Photo courtesy David Clapp.
We talked about the birds and management of Long Beach (Plymouth Beach) and Duxbury Beach as we exited Plymouth Harbor passing Plymouth Rock, Bug Light, Clark's Island, and the Gurnet. Both beaches (Duxbury and Plymouth) are town-managed for Piping Plover and both are well managed. This seems to be a good year for beach goers as well, because very few nests were impacted by the full moon tides in May. This means the eggs will hatch early and the birds will fledge early. This allows for increased human activity on the beaches.

Greater Shearwater. Photo courtesy David Clapp.
Tammy Silva talked about the history and current demographics of the area. The NECWA staff was well represented with Krill, Tammy, Tiffany Davenport, and Michael O'Neill were all informative and helpful. There were fewer than 100 travelers this trip so the NECWA people had time to chat with just about everyone. Over the course of the trip, Krill and Dr. John Jahoda, BSU, were leading the NECWA team from the flybridge. In addition there were several good birders on board; Jim Sweeney, Vin Zollo, Blair Nikula, Peter Flood, and David Clapp. This was a formidable base to work from - all we needed was oceanic wildlife.

We swung south past Race Point Light and on down past Truro. The water tank near the National Park Service headquarters slipped by as did Lecount's and Cahoon Hollows. As we passed through scads of tuna boats we saw very little; there was an an occasional Common Loon and a few distant Northern Gannets and Sooty Shearwaters. There was a Harbor Porpoise spotted briefly; but we were moving on looking for bigger game. As we slid from Orleans' waters to Chatham's we heard on the radio that fishermen about eight miles ahead had whales; lots of whales. We were hard on the scent now.

Humpback whale surface feeding. Photo courtesy David Clapp.
We were now about 15 miles off the coast of Chatham. We had had whales and birds here last June near a place called Crab Ledge. As we entered these waters we were again surrounded by tuna boats; hopeful fishermen with a day to kill. We started to see whales; feeding whales. There was one group of four and then another of five and another of four. The bubble nets rose from the sea and the open jaws of the humpbacks rose from the gray effervescent water. We had too many whales, we were never talking about the same animals; they were simply everywhere. We stayed with a group for a while and then moved on to another group.

Photo courtesy David Clapp.
At one point we were with a group of nine whales that feed continually. They would dive at the same time and release bubbles under the water. The bubbles would appear; first as a delicate circle looking all the world like a tiny rain storm was passing and then there would be streams of bubbles that turned the sea gray. From the edge of this bubble fountain emerged the open mouths of the whales like a large tulip slowly emerging from the sea. There would be four, five, or six whales in each array with a calf or two hanging around the edges waiting for mom to feed and process the food stuffs into the rich fatty milk the youngsters depend on.

This was a magnificent show.

Humpback whale. Photo courtesy David Clapp.
We saw at least 50 Humpback Whales, maybe 60, of which the whale folks were able to identify (and point out by name) 26 of them. Here are the names of the individuals that the NECWA team was able to identify so far: Aswan, Buzzard, Springboard, Thicket, Putter, Pleats, Jabiru, Canopy, Apex and calf, Pogo and calf, Sanchal, Mystery, Reflection, Zepplin, Entropy, Samara, Bolide, Midnight, Rocker, Polaris, Centipede, Camara, Hangman, Underline, and Salt.

We simply didn't have time to go look at each group of humpback whales. There were Minke Whales as well; about 30 of them and a few Fin Whales. The Harbor Porpoise, Gray Seal, and Harbor Seal rounded out the marine mammal list.

The birds were amazing as well. There were about 1500 Sooty Shearwaters, 35 Great Shearwaters, and about 8 Manx Shearwaters. There were almost as many gulls with Herring at about 500, Great Black-backed at 150, and Laughing Gull close to 600. A few hundred Common Terns (from the colony at the end of Long Beach in Plymouth most likely, with a few Roseate Terns and a single Black Tern as well. The goose-sized Northern Gannet was represented by about 35 (mostly) juvenile birds. The adults are already nesting in the Canadian Maritimes. The bird surprise was that there were only about 8 Wilson's Storm-Petrels out there. These smallish birds are usually here in large numbers by now; they fly up from nest sites on the Antarctic mainland. Lastly, we had four jaegers; one Pomarine and one Parasitic for sure and the other two were not identified to species.

There creatures were grand and the day was wonderful but let's give credit where it really goes; to the planktonic stuff of our ocean. The phytoplankton and the zooplankton are what feeds the Sand Launce and the birds and whales feed on Sand Launce (or sand eel or sand lance). There were tens of millions of the pencil-sized fish wriggling through the sea out there. Each one is tiny, but like a

Sand lance. Photo courtesy David Clapp.
meal of macaroni, sooner or later you are filled up. The surface of the sea was alive with fishes, the whales spilled water overflowing with fish from their baleen-lined jaws, and the birds fed at the whales mouth or from the sea itself. This sort of profusion is why birds and mammals and fish all migrate to the Gulf of Maine, to our coast, at this time of year. It is Fat City out there - and we enjoyed it!

David Clapp

Monday, June 10, 2013

Southeastern Mass Bioreserve, Freetown/Fall River/Westport - 6/8/2013

Five participants joined me for a combined BBC/SSBC walk on Saturday 6/8. Despite the day starting out drizzly and very wet conditions, the sun came out and the birds started singing. We covered the Yellow Hill and Blossom Rds and trails, Innovation Way, sandpit on Copicut and Payne/Hathaway Rds in Freetown State Forest. Highlights were Black Vulture, Common Raven, Hooded Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher and nesting colony of Bank Swallows. We also visited a private home who have a great setup of many hummingbird feeders. We ended the day by zipping down to Allens Pond for the Black-necked Stilt.

Bioreserve Birds found:

Great Blue Heron 1
Canada Geese 9
Turkey Vulture 1
Black Vulture 2
Osprey 2
Bald eagle 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Wild turkey with 2 poults - 3
Killdeer 1
Rock Pigeon 3
Mourning Dove 4
Chimney Swift 4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 12
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 4
Acadian Flycatcher 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great-crested Flycatcher 4
Eastern Kingbird 5
Tree Swallow 1
Bank Swallow 11
Barn Swallow 4
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 2
Common Raven 3
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Tufted Titmouse 3
Carolina Wren 1
Veery 12
Hermit Thrush 1
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 5
Gray Catbird 5
Red-eyed Vireo 4
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 7
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 6
Prairie Warbler 5
Black-and-White Warbler 1
American Redstart 5
Worm-eating Warbler 1
Ovenbird 15
Northern Waterthrush 6
Common Yellowthroat 3
Hooded Warbler 2
Scarlet Tanager 2
Northern Cardinal 1
Indigo Bunting 1
Eastern Towhee 7
Chipping Sparrow 6
Song Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 7
Brown-headed Cowbird 3
Northern Oriole 1
Purple Finch 2
American Goldfinch 2

Total Species: 59

Allens Pond:

Green Heron 1
Snowy Egret 2
Great Egret 1
Mute Swan #
Piping Plover 1
Willet 2
Least tern 1
Willow Flycatcher 1
Tree Swallow #
Red-winged Blackbird #

Lynn Abbey
Fall River

Monday, June 3, 2013

Moose Hill, Sharon 6/2/2013

The protected areas of Moose Hill in Sharon include Massaudubon's Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Trustees of Reservation's (TTOR) Moose Hill Farm, and some additional town-owned land. The overall size of these areas exceeds 2,500 acres, a very large undeveloped area for metropolitan Boston. The habitat is mostly maturing forest with small fields interspersed and a couple of power line cuts running through.  The latter two of these habitats are featured prominently at TTOR's Moose Hill Farm. We began the walk here and covered the main loop. Four people joined the walk and weather conditions were somewhat windy with hazy sun and warm temperatures (65-78F). Early successional species on the power line cut included Indigo Buntings, Blue-winged Warblers, Prairie Warblers, Field Sparrows and good numbers of Eastern Towhees. At the big field there were a half dozen Bobolinks performing courtship display flights. Other highlights on this loop were a Yellow-throated Vireo (locally uncommon) and Black-billed Cuckoo.

Garter Snake

The walk continued onto Massaudubon's Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and covered parts of the Vernal Pool Loop, Kettle and Ovenbird Trails. Noteworthy birds included 3 singing Brown Creepers, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pileated Woodpecker, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo (all of which are uncommon, local breeders). The real attraction on this route is Worm-eating Warbler. At the intersection of the Kettle and Ovenbird Trails were 2 singing birds and we were able to get a clear, but brief look at one of them. In Massachusetts, Worm-eating Warblers are at the northern end of their breeding range and Moose Hill has several birds on territory. Last year, I observed at least 7 singing birds throughout the sanctuary. Owls are always exciting and we had nice looks at a Barred Owl on the Kettle Trail.

Barred Owl
2 Canada Goose
2 Wild Turkey
4 Mourning Dove
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo - Heard only, near Nature Center (Audubon)
1 Black-billed Cuckoo - Heard only, backside of big field (TTOR)
1 Barred Owl - nice look, Kettle Trail (Audubon)

Barred Owl

1 Chimney Swift
2 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
4 Downy Woodpecker
3 Hairy Woodpecker
4 Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
1 Pileated Woodpecker - Ovenbird Trail (Audubon)
10 Eastern Wood-Pewee
2 Eastern Phoebe
6 Great Crested Flycatcher
1 Eastern Kingbird
1 Yellow-throated Vireo
4 Red-eyed Vireo
3 Blue Jay
1 American Crow
2 Tree Swallow
5 Barn Swallow
8 Black-capped Chickadee
13 Tufted Titmouse
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
5 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 Brown Creeper - (Audubon)
1 House Wren
1 Carolina Wren
1 Eastern Bluebird
4 Veery
5 Wood Thrush
15 American Robin
10 Gray Catbird
7 Cedar Waxwing
17 Ovenbird
3 Worm-eating Warbler - Ovenbird Trail (Audubon)
5 Blue-winged Warbler
2 Black-and-white Warbler
8 Common Yellowthroat
3 Yellow Warbler
6 Pine Warbler
4 Prairie Warbler
11 Eastern Towhee
15 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
3 Scarlet Tanager
6 Northern Cardinal
7 Indigo Bunting
6 Bobolink
4 Red-winged Blackbird
5 Common Grackle
8 Brown-headed Cowbird
8 Baltimore Oriole
1 House Finch
4 American Goldfinch

This trip summary was created using the BirdLog app for iPhone and iPad.
See BirdLog for more information.

Vin Zollo