Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Marion and Mattapoisett - 12/7/2014

   About 25 people showed up on this overcast and very blustery day down on the south coast of Massachusetts. During a scouting trip in this area a week prior, I found a Townsend's Solitaire at Evergreen Cemetery in Marion. Townsend's Solitaire is a rare vagrant from western North America and was a very nice surprise, hence the large crowd for this morning's trip! The pressure was on to refind it, but eventually the bird appeared and all had wonderful views as it perched on a bush eating berries. It's continued presence was a big sigh of relief for the leader! Also of note during our time at the cemetery were hundreds of Am. Robins flying over in steady groups of between 10-30 birds.

   Next stop was the Marion waste water treatment plant and town composting site. This a great spot for ducks and a variety of sparrows. Waterfowl highlights included 11 Northern Shovelers, 100+ Gadwall and American Wigeon and a few Green-winged Teal. In addition, the weedy areas of the composting area held large numbers of Song Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos with a Fox Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow mixed in.
   The dwindling group fought the high winds and cold the rest of the day as we made stops along the bays and coastal thickets. Along the way were 200+ Greater Scaup, a couple of lingering Greater Yellowlegs, and flocks of Cedar Waxwings. Some of the more productive thickets held a Gray Catbird and a few Eastern Towhees.
   We ended up heading north on Rte. 105 into the town of Rochester to see if we could track down a Cackling Goose that was found a few days prior by one in our group. It had been seen with a flock of about 300 Canada Geese in a large agricultural field. In the fading light, the much smaller sized Cackler was spotted amongst this flock. In addition to it's small the size, this bird's lighter gray plumage was noticeable as well as it's short, stubby bill and square-shaped head.
   Two great birds to "bookend" the day!

Vin Zollo