Friday, July 24, 2015

Southfield - Weymouth 7/19/2015

   Five of us managed to get up early (6AM) to catch the morning bird activity and beat the mid-summer heat at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Base. Conditions were warm and muggy even at this hour, and by the time we finished (9AM) the temps were already into the eighties.

   This grassland habitat is rare for the metropolitan Boston area. We walked the old runways and saw grassland birds like Savannah Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark. Swallows are beginning to flock up now that their nesting season is ending and it was evident here as there were close to one hundred Tree and Barn Swallows roosting on one of the runways early on. Their numbers will continue to build especially in coastal areas into the thousands in the next month.

Juvenile Killdeer
   Numbers of birds can be high at this time of season. We encountered several juvenile birds of several species throughout our walk.

Juvenile Brown Thrashers

   Also of note were four Monarch Butterflies, which have been nearly absent the past few years.

41 species

Wild Turkey 15 Several juveniles
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Killdeer 4 Adult with 3 small young ones.
Herring Gull (American) 4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 17
Mourning Dove 40 Estimate
Chimney Swift 7
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Downy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Eastern Kingbird 4
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 4
Fish Crow 1
Tree Swallow 75
Barn Swallow 15
House Wren 1
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 25
Gray Catbird 12
Brown Thrasher 2 Juveniles
Northern Mockingbird 4
European Starling 13
Cedar Waxwing 5
Common Yellowthroat 4
Yellow Warbler 3
Prairie Warbler 1
Eastern Towhee 12
Field Sparrow 6
Savannah Sparrow 20
Song Sparrow 8
Red-winged Blackbird 28
Eastern Meadowlark 10
Common Grackle 6
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Orchard Oriole 2
Baltimore Oriole 4
American Goldfinch 3
House Sparrow 2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Vin Zollo

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Whale and Seabird Watch, July 11, 2015

It is always a crap-shoot when heading out on a Whale watch boat as naturally the whales take precedence over the birds. Some years the birding is slow, limited to far off views.

But more times than not, we get to view a lot of interaction between the species. When the whales are actively feeding, the birds tend to join in, picking over the "scraps". Other times, we find large rafts of shearwaters just floating about.

This year, twelve individuals join the club trip as we headed out on the Captain John from Plymouth Harbor to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary for a morning of seabird watching.

With clear blue skies and calm seas (always my favorite!), we headed out past Plymouth beach on the high tide. The normally active tern colony appeared quite, but I am sure this related to the tide. A handful of terns were loafing at the end of the beach. At least one person, reported seeing a Black Skimmer, but I and a few other seasoned birdwatchers could not find it.

Aside from a few Common Terns coming and going from and to the colony and a few gulls, birds were lacking for over the first couple of hours. We motored right past a couple somewhat distant humpback whales, as more were being reported, north and east of P'town.

As we continued, east, a few Wilson's Storm-Petrels started to show up, then the show began.
We came upon two rafts of shearwaters, 30- 50 birds, but as we got closer, but not close enough, the birds tended to pick up and fly away from us. Were they Greats or Cory's Shearwaters? At this point, the light was not in our favor, so we could not be sure.

We then came upon the whales, other whale watching and pleasure boats and lots of bird action. Three to seven whales were actively feeding in the area, including three whales which ended up right next to our boat. For the next half hour, we enjoyed one of the wonders of nature as the birds and chased the whales as they surfaced bringing sandlance and other aquatics to the surface.

Several other rafts of Shearwaters were found with 95+% were Cory's Shearwaters.

Cory's Shearwater

We finally did manage to see Great and Sooty Shearwaters, along with more Storm-Petrels. As soon as the show began, we had to return to Plymouth.

On the way back, we did see Willets and Piping Plover on Plymouth beach.

Below is a full list of birds seen.

Canada Goose 7
Mallard 15
Cory's Shearwater 290
Great Shearwater 4
Sooty Shearwater 4
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 57
Great Blue Heron 1
Osprey 2
Piping Plover 1
Willet 2
Laughing Gull 2
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Least Tern 4
Common Tern 55
Black Skimmer 1
Rock Pigeon 5
American Crow 1
European Starling 1
Song Sparrow 1
House Sparrow 6

Mike Emmons


Friday, July 10, 2015

Quabbin Gate 10, July 3 2015

Ruffed Grouse, Moose tracks and Bear scat
Brown Creeper
Glenn has been leading this trip for both the SSBC and Brookline Bird Club many times. Over the years he has seen it all; sweltering heat and cool rain. We got lucky this year as the temps were in the seventies and there was no humidity to speak of. This was one of those perfect sunny summer days, and no better place to be than out in the beautiful woods around Quabbin. Nine birders thought the same and met at 7 am to walk the 6 mile loop from Gate 10 in Pelham.
Besides enjoying the long walk and diverse woodlands and great birding, we also found fresh Moose tracks and Bear scat. While seeing Moose bathing in a pond would have been nice, the bear sightings I prefer are from a car – so this was just fine by me!
A  birding highlight for me was encountering two broods of Ruffed Grouse flushed on or just off the path. One hen was obliging enough to hang around and perch on a branch for everyone to get a short look - rather than just a glimpse at rear ends.
From the website of the ruffed grouse society I learn that “The Ruffed Grouse is a hearty, snow-loving, bud-eating native which thrives during severe winters that decimate flocks of partridges, quail, pheasants and turkeys.”  We’ve certainly had a hard winter and I loved being compensated by this sighting of so many Ruffed Grouse!
Moths, butterflies, dragonflies and amphibians were also observed and we all broadened our knowledge of nature. For those interested, a partial list and some of Steven’s photos of the butterflies and dragonflies as well as the full lists of birds seen (or heard!) can be found below.
Green frog                                                          red Eft (terrestrial stage of the Red spotted Newt)
Some of us weren’t quite birded out after we returned to the cars and we carried on to Belchertown in search of the recent sighting of a Common Gallinule. No luck with that bird, but we did add a few species to our day list and discovered a pretty new place to end the day.
Many thanks to Glenn D’Entremont for leading this trip, Vin Zollo for his help with the Dragonfly ID and Steven Whitebread for the photos.
Christine Whitebread
List of some of the Butterflies seen:
Red spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis), Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton), Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta), Northern Pearlyeye (Enodia anthedon), Little Wood-Satyr (Megisto cymela), Great Spangled Fritillary Speyeria cybele, Silver spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus), Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna), Large Laceborder Moth (Scopula limboundata)
Silver spotted Skipper                                    Baltimore Checkerspot                  Large Laceborder Moth
List of some of the Dragonflies seen:
White Corporal (Ladona exusta), Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea), Spreadwing sp., Chalk-Fronted Corporal (Ladona Julia, ), Bluet sp.
White Corporal                                                 Spangled Skimmer                                       Bluet sp.
E-bird lists:
Quabbin Reservoir--Gate 10, Hampshire, Massachusetts, US
Jul 3, 2015 7:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.5 mile(s)
Comments:     BBC/SSBC trip
49 species

Ruffed Grouse  11
Broad-winged Hawk  3
Mourning Dove  1
Barred Owl  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  14
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  6
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  11
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  2
Blue-headed Vireo  3
Red-eyed Vireo  71
Blue Jay  7
American Crow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  16
Tufted Titmouse  3
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  9
Brown Creeper  3
Veery  21
Hermit Thrush  8
Wood Thrush  13
American Robin  5
Gray Catbird  16
Cedar Waxwing  5
Ovenbird  47
Northern Waterthrush  1
Black-and-white Warbler  5
Common Yellowthroat  34
American Redstart  4
Magnolia Warbler  1
Blackburnian Warbler  8
Chestnut-sided Warbler  18
Black-throated Blue Warbler  28
Pine Warbler  16
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  5
Black-throated Green Warbler  11
Eastern Towhee  33
Chipping Sparrow  6
Scarlet Tanager  15
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  3
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Common Grackle  2
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Baltimore Oriole  1
American Goldfinch  1

View this checklist online at
Belchertown, Hampshire, Massachusetts, US
Jul 3, 2015 2:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:     BBC/SSBC trip
17 species

Canada Goose  18
Wood Duck  6
Hooded Merganser  9     1 female, 8 young
Green Heron  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  3
Eastern Kingbird  2
Warbling Vireo  1
Tree Swallow  10
House Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3
Eastern Bluebird  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  X
Cedar Waxwing  10
Song Sparrow  2
Red-winged Blackbird  5

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (