Friday, March 21, 2014

Member's Night Photo Sharing

Saturday March 22nd 7 pm to 9:30 pm

Shawn Carey will once again be available to enable us to see our bird photos on a big screen.
Shawn will also share some of his fantastic pictures with us.

Here is what you need to do if you plan to show photos:

- Please name your images with your name (esmith) and a number.  Make sure there are at least always 2 digits even for the single digit numbers.  
Like this:
this will make sure that the images are ordered correctly when I go to display them (because I'll sort them by name.)  Lightroom can easily do this.

- I would recommend resizing your images to match the projector that we are using.  It has a resolution of 1920 x 1200.  It isn't required, but I can't guarantee the quality of the image if you
don't - I've seen some programs automatically resize images when displaying them and really mangle images.  
- The easiest way to bring images is on a thumb-drive, DO NOT arrive with files on a disk.

Shawn P. Carey
Migration Productions
work # 617-254-0770  x227
cell # 617-799-9894

Visit our web site for information on bird/wildlife photography workshops, live presentations and videos about birders, birds and

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Woodcocks and Dinner at Squantum Point Park, March 14th 2014

On Friday night four hardy birders met to brave the cold wind and we were rewarded with great views of woodcocks displaying against the backdrop of a full moon.
Not much else out there  - certainly no owl sp. which had been seen flying over the fields earlier in the week.

We were all happy to have been treated with such wonderful looks at the target bird though - and even happier once we sat down for a tasty dinner!

Great Cormorant  2
American Woodcock  4
Ring-billed Gull  6
Herring Gull  2
American Robin  10
American Tree Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  3
Common Grackle  3

Christine Whitebread

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rusty Blackbird Migration Blitz

Rusty Blackbird Migration Blitz
It is estimated that the global population of Rusty Blackbirds has declined by an astounding 85-95% since the mid 1990s.  Reasons for this decline are somewhat unclear and very little is known about the habitat requirements of this species during migration.  In an effort to learn more about their migration ecology, a multi-state effort is underway to report sightings of Rusty Blackbirds this spring.  This citizen science project is called the Rusty Blackbird Migration Blitz and represents a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.  This is a great opportunity for birders to directly contribute to the conservation of an imperiled species.
Getting involved in the study is rather straight forward.  Birders can go out, look for Rusties anywhere they like, and report their sightings (or lack thereof) to eBird under the "Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz" survey type.  Remember that reporting an effort that didn’t turn up any Rusties is just as important as reports with sightings.  For birders who'd like a bit more guidance, or for anyone who is willing to collect additional information that will be highly valuable to our efforts, there is an optional Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz protocol document. This document ( details how to record and report field observations and indicates the "extras" that birders can do to help our effort (take photos, record information about local habitat, etc).   Additional information on Rusty Blackbirds and the Migration Blitz can be found through this link (  The target dates for the count in Massachusetts are between March 15-April.  Please pass this along to anyone you think is interested and post information on social media outletsThere have been a lot of reports already generated from the southern states, and let's get Massachusetts well represented on the map in reporting migrating Rusty Blackbirds.  I am the Migration Blitz state coordinator for Massachusetts, so please feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions related to the survey.
Happy birding!  Drew
Andrew Vitz
State Ornithologist
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
100 Hartwell Street, Suite 230
West Boylston, MA 01583
Tel: 508-389-6394; Fax:508-389-7890

Monday, March 10, 2014

Winter Raptors - 3/9/2014

Can you identify this blurry speck?
   Eleven of us gathered at the Cumberland Farm Fields in Halifax/Middleboro at dawn to start our search for winter raptors (birds of prey). Weather conditions were clear with light winds, great for scanning the fields and listening for birds as they came off their roosts. We started early with hopes that we could observe Short-eared Owl and hear Great Horned Owl, but alas, no sign of either! In most years at this date, American Woodcock is usually found displaying here. This early migrant was not seen or heard either, probably related to the prolonged, cold weather that has extended into March.
   Diurnal raptors however were in evidence. Red-tailed hawks were perching, Northern Harriers coursing low, and Rough-legged Hawks (2 light and 2 dark morphs) hovering. Nice to see 3 different hunting techniques in action. Other highlights from the fields included a couple of thousand Canada Geese arriving and dropping onto the open ground with lesser numbers of Am. Black Ducks and a half dozen Northern Pintails among them.  A few thousand blackbirds were "working " the corn stubble which has sustained the flock since back in the fall season.

   In an effort to add  to our hawk diversity we planned on making several stops at inland locations in Plymouth County. This brought us over to Lake Assawompsett in Lakeville where we recorded our target: Bald Eagle. This is one of only a couple of sites in Southeastern Massachusetts where these "big boys" nest.
   Probably the raptor of the day was an American Kestrel  that was seen at the Boyden Colony Rec. Area, a little known location in Raynham. Over the past several years I have recorded Am. Kestrel here during the Taunton/Middleboro Christmas Bird Count. I'm guessing this could be an individual that has overwintered regularly here, given the scarcity in recent years of kestrels at other open habitats in MA.

American Kestrel

  Our big loop included stops at the Model Airplane Field in W. Bridgewater, Burrage Pond WMA in Hanson, Monponsett Ponds in Halifax, Sawchuck Farm Field in Plympton, and a second look at the Cumberland Farm Fields. Along the way we added a Cooper's Hawk, 2 Red-shouldered Hawks (very distant looks), and a couple of Turkey Vultures.
  The last raptor of the day was an accipiter perched in a tree at close range. As is often the case, many field marks were noted and opinions made, but ultimately no consensus as to Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk. Maybe you have hear that one before!

3209 Canada Goose
5 Mute Swan
164 American Black Duck
151 Mallard
7 Northern Pintail - Cumberland Farm Field
42 Ring-necked Duck
1 Lesser Scaup
6 Greater/Lesser Scaup
7 Bufflehead
7 Common Goldeneye
5 Hooded Merganser
17 Common Merganser
2 duck sp.
15 Wild Turkey
2 Great Blue Heron
2 Turkey Vulture - Cumberland Farm Field
5 Northern Harrier
1 Cooper's Hawk - Burrage Pond WMA
1 Accipiter sp.
3 Bald Eagle - Lakeville
2 Red-shouldered Hawk - Plympton
12 Red-tailed Hawk
5 Rough-legged Hawk - 4 Cumberland Farm Field, 1 Plympton
239 Ring-billed Gull
614 Herring Gull (American)
1 Great Black-backed Gull
3 Rock Pigeon
15 Mourning Dove
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 Downy Woodpecker 
1 Hairy Woodpecker
4 Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 
1 American Kestrel - Boyden Colony Rec. Area, Raynham
7 Blue Jay
102 American Crow
2 Fish Crow
100 Horned Lark
4 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Carolina Wren
1 Hermit Thrush
85 American Robin
3 Northern Mockingbird
40 European Starling
150 Snow Bunting
1 American Tree Sparrow
9 Song Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrow
25 Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
12 Northern Cardinal
3200 Red-winged Blackbird
6 Eastern Meadowlark - Cumberland Farm Fields
15 Common Grackle
250 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 House Finch
12 House Sparrow

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

Vin Zollo