Friday, July 19, 2013

Crane Wildlife Management Area, Falmouth - 7/14/2013

Despite the fact that it is mid-July, the so-called "summer birding doldrums", I am happy to report there are many birds using the field at Crane WMA this time of year. The strategy is to get an early start. Bird song and activity drop off quickly after 10AM and model airplane enthusiasts fill the skies with their wings and distinctive sounds by mid-morning as well. Three of us ventured out into the field at 7AM under very humid and mostly cloudy skies. The temperature was in the 70sF, but when the sun peaked through it quickly felt like 90F! Another reason for a visit during this steamy month is for the wildflowers, which are in peak form and attract many insects, including several species of butterflies!

Baltimore Checkerspot
Grasshopper Sparrow
This large (1,800+ acres) Wildlife Management Area on Cape Cod features a large sandplain grassland habitat and adjacent pine barren/scrub oak forest. The open areas are fine Grasshopper Sparrow habitat, as they prefer dry grassland interspersed with small bushes. This is one of only a few easily accessible places to get up-close looks at this state-listed specie. They did not disappoint today. There were 6 or 7 of them "tee-up" and singing from small bushes. Two Grasshopper Sparrows were seen carrying food, no doubt being brought to their young.

Grasshopper Sparrow

This field seems to be a premier spot in the state for Orchard Orioles. I'm guessing these orioles disperse to this area in mid-July as post-breeding family groups. We observed several groups of 3-5 birds all over the fields. Many of these Orchard Orioles are females and or young birds of the year. Their plumage is mostly yellow with a sharply pointed blackish bill and are noticably smaller than the more familiar Baltimore Oriole. A quick glance at one may have one thinking Yellow Warbler instead of oriole!
Most of the expected species were in attendance besides Northern Bobwhite (probably around, but not for us!). Seems like this bird is getting harder to find here, even though it is still regularly stocked during the hunting season.

*Many thanks to Rick Schofield for these great photos

Wood Lily

42 species

Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  1
Herring Gull (American)  1
Mourning Dove  8
Chimney Swift  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Eastern Phoebe  4
Eastern Kingbird  9
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  4
Tree Swallow  25
Bank Swallow  1
Barn Swallow  30
Black-capped Chickadee  5
Tufted Titmouse  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
American Robin  45
Northern Mockingbird  4
European Starling  16
Cedar Waxwing  12
Ovenbird  2
Common Yellowthroat  12
Pine Warbler  8
Prairie Warbler  5
Eastern Towhee  8
Chipping Sparrow  11
Field Sparrow  10
Savannah Sparrow  2
Grasshopper Sparrow  10    Careful count, a few juveniles.
Song Sparrow  12
Northern Cardinal  3
Indigo Bunting  5 
Red-winged Blackbird  5
Orchard Oriole  40    Careful estimate (a bit conservative). Several family groups. 6 males, the rest were females and juveniles. Seems like a good breeding year. Numbers of this species have been present here at this time of year for several years now.
Baltimore Oriole  9
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  8
House Sparrow  2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Vin Zollo

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Whale and Seabird Watch - 7/13/2013

A combined South Shore Bird Club and Brookline Bird Club group went out on the 9 a.m. Captain John and Sons whale watching boat out of Plymouth. This trip typically has a good variety of pelagic birds and a good showing of whales. This year's trip, not so much. Not even a shorebird on Plymouth beach, coming or going.

In talking with the naturalist on board, birds have been absent on most trips. Not only were birds absent, whales were a little hard to find as we had to go to the outer side of Race Point in Provincetwon.

Only two whales were spotted on this trip. One Minke and one Finback.

As for birds, only TWO Shearwaters were seen, one Great and one long distant Manx. Storm-petrel numbers were also way down. This was slowest trip in some time. Thanks to all who participated.

Here is an initial summary of birds seen. Glenn d'Entremont may have some updated numbers.

Mallard 6
Great Shearwater 1
Manx Shearwater 1
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 65
Northern Gannet 14
Double-crested Cormorant 12
Great Blue Heron 1
Osprey 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 36
Laughing Gull 33
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull 15
Least Tern 3
Common Tern 13
Razorbill 1
Rock Pigeon 45
Tree Swallow 4
Bank Swallow 5
Song Sparrow 1
House Sparrow 3

Mike Emmons

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quabbin Reservoir - Gate 10

4 of us braved the temps and walked the 4 1/2 mile trip into Gate 10 and back.  This trip was birdy in the beginning, but after 10:00ish it was quite quiet.  Interesting were 4 Guinea Fowl which we saw before we walked into the gate (on Rt 202) and when we returned they were under my car!  Missing were Red-breasted Nuthatch and Hermit Thrush. 

Mourning Dove 1 
Black-billed Cuckoo 3 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 5 (we've had more, low?) 
Downy Woodpecker 7 
Hairy Woodpecker 1 
Northern Flicker 1 
Pileated Woodpecker 1 
Eastern Wood Pewee 6 
Eastern Phoebe 2 
Great Crested Flycatcher 1 (low) 
Eastern Kingbird 1 
Yellow-throated Vireo 2 
Blue-headed Vireo 1 (low) 
Red-eyed Vireo 64 
Blue Jay 9 
Black-capped Chickadee 27 
Tufted Titmouse 2 
White-breasted Nuthatch 2 
Veery 17 
Wood Thrush 2 
American Robin 7 
Gray Catbird 7 
Cedar Waxwing 5 
Ovenbird 31 
Black-and-white Warbler 6 
Common Yellowthroat 24 
American Redstart 6 
Black-throated Green Warbler 16 
Yellow Warbler 1 
Black-throated Blue Warbler 18 
Blackburnian Warbler 4 
Chestnut-sided Warbler 17 
Pine Warbler 12 
Eastern Towhee 23 
Chipping Sparrow 14 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 6 
Scarlet Tanager 10 
Red-winged Blackbird 3 
Common Grackle 3 
Baltimore Oriole 2 
Purple Finch 1 

42 species  

Glenn d'Entremont