May 22, 2020

Field Ornithology Journal 5: Good Birding Spot 2

On May 22, 2020, I went to three locations for birding from 6:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Throughout the day it was sunny with partially cloudy skies in the high 70 Fºs range with slight northwest winds. My first location was Bolton Flats Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in Lancaster, MA where I traveled 0.9 miles over 1.3 hours (6:00 AM – 7:20 AM). Bolton Flats WMA is a flooded marshland between the Nashua and Still River consisting of cattail marshes, silver maple swamps, and agricultural fields that act as mudflats. For birding Bolton Flats WMA consists only of a 0.5 mile straightaway cutting through these three habitat types. Starting at 6:00 AM I started with the check-in call listening in and also listening to the marshes for American Bittern. Sadly, I did not hear any American Bittern, yet rather Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, and Canada Geese. Once the call ended I proceed to the straightaway with silver maple swamps to my left and the flooded cattail marsh to my right. Being in a rich nutrient site between the Nashua and Still River there was abundant vegetation limiting me seeing the majority of the birds. One notable mention that I had to rely on for songs was that of the Willow Flycatcher. As part of the empids song is crucial to distinguish these similar-looking species hence I was waiting for “Fee-bee-oh”. Patiently waiting with the noise of Common Yellowthroats and Red-winged Blackbirds I soon heard a not one, but two Willow Flycatchers. Luckily I was able to see the silhouette of one of them. Moving forward I reached a transition spot where the silver maple swamp to my left transitioned to an agricultural site acting as mudflats for some inland shorebirds. Located 400 M away from me I had to peer at the small brown dots of Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, and Killdeer. My biggest challenge was between Killdeer and Semipalmated Plover. It is easy to tell the difference between these species by the number of black bands on the breast, yet for 400 M away I had to make a lot of double checks. Finishing up the rest of the trail on my way back a Yellow-billed Cuckoo was about to land right in front of me. Scared in my presence it immediately took off showcasing its yellow bill and long tail feathers. Overall at Bolton Flats WMA I saw 31 species and 146 individuals.

Moving on I wanted to go to Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) a new location for me located in Harvard, MA. From 7:30 AM – 10: 00 PM over 2.5 miles I observed this cattail wetland and mixed silver maple-oak forest adjacent to the Nashua River. Once leaving the parking lot I was greeted by a singing Red-eyed Vireo. After meeting this lively individual, I continued to the River Side Trail. River Side Trail is a heavily shaded out area by oaks and silver maples making it an ideal habitat for forest interior species such as Black-throated Green Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and especially Veery. Along this trail I was following a very social Veery hoping between the trail and the surrounding vegetation. Besides this one special Veery I was able to both hear and see four Veery’s up close. Following the Veery down River Side Trail I made my way to Turnpike Road where the canopy started to open due to this area being more flooded with open water. Being flooded Turnpike Trail is filled with snags and wetlands. One notable resident of this flooded trail was a family of Pileated Woodpeckers. Seen off a bridge over a small stream a snag with an approximately 10-inch diameter cavity held a nesting and parent Pileated Woodpecker. Sadly, I interrupted the parent feeding this lone nesting and flew off giving a loud whinny. To avoid any further disruptions, I took a quick photo and proceeded to reach Tank Road. Unlike the rest of Oxbow NWR Tank Road was an eastern white pine stand with little canopy cover filled with the trillings of Chipping Sparrow. Meeting the end of Tank Road intersecting with River Side Trail I finally met a meadow with grazing Brown-headed Cowbirds and a lively Indigo Bunting. Overall, I saw 41 species and 118 individuals.

Starting at 10:30 at Westborough WMA I was at my third spot. Yesterday I went to Westborough WMA and to quickly summarize from yesterday’s journal Westborough WMA is a mosaic of habitats such as open water/wetlands, cornfields, and oak-maple forests. Excited I started down the straightaway with Lake Chauncy to my left and a stretch of flowering red oaks to my right to find Yellow-throated and Warbling Warblers. On the straightaway I was soon stunned by a Pileated Woodpecker flying down the trail in an open exposed area. Honestly, I would never expect a Pileated in such an open space, but it situated itself 2 ft. off the trail on the ground pecking at a tree stump. Thrilled I sat down to take some photos, but soon I was shocked again to see another Pileated flying in the other direction! Most likely this was a mating Pileated Woodpecker pair making through the area. Despite how strange and unlikely this was I very much enjoyed myself and hope these Pileated Woodpeckers breed here as in Oxbow NWR. At the end of the straightaway I went through the oak-maple forest to see an array of migrants such as Scarlet Tanager, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Red-eyed Vireo. Leaving the oak-maple forest into the cornfields I saw an Orchard Oriole. Perched in a black oak along the edge of the cornfields I saw a female Orchard Oriole feeding on the oak flowers while below Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles grazing on the field below. By 12 PM I found 37 species and 126 individuals. Overall today was a great day observing new migrants, breeding birds, and exploring biodiversity finding 62 species and 390 individuals. As of writing this journal I have reviewed my checklists during my time in field ornithology to find I have seen 107 species this week (listed below)! I have very much enjoyed this week learning and growing as a birder and cannot wait to continue to explore the avian diversity of the northeast this summer!

Species Observed
1. Canada Goose- 25
2. Wood Duck- 3
3. Mallard- 5
4. Mourning Dove- 8
5. Yellow-billed Cuckoo- 1
6. Chimney Swift- 6
7. Ruby-throated Hummingbird- 1
8. Semipalmated Plover- 3
9. Killdeer- 2
10. Least Sandpiper 16
11. Greater Yellowlegs- 4
12. Lesser Yellowlegs- 2
13. Turkey Vulture- 1
14. Red-shouldered Hawk- 1
15. Red-bellied Woodpecker- 1
16. Downy Woodpecker- 5
17. Pileated Woodpecker- 4
18. Northern Flicker- 1
19. Eastern Wood-Pewee- 1
20. Alder Flycatcher- 1
21. Willow Flycatcher- 3
22. Least Flycatcher- 2
23. Eastern Phoebe- 1
24. Eastern Kingbird- 3
25. Yellow-throated Vireo- 2
26. Warbling Vireo- 7
27. Red-eyed Vireo- 4
28. Blue Jay- 4
29. American Crow- 1
30. Common Raven-1
31. Black-capped Chickadee- 6
32. Tufted Titmouse- 5
33. Tree Swallow- 9
34. White-breasted Nuthatch- 4
35. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 3
36. House Wren- 1
37. European Starling- 2
38. Gray Catbird- 12
39. Veery- 4
40. Wood thrush- 1
41. American Robin- 14
42. American Goldfinch- 4
43. Chipping Sparrow- 3
44. Song Sparrow- 10
45. Swamp Sparrow- 1
46. Eastern Towhee- 1
47. Orchard Oriole- 1
48. Baltimore Oriole- 4
49. Red-winged Blackbird- 27
50. Brown-headed Cowbird- 10
51. Common Grackle- 24
52. Ovenbird- 8
53. Black-and-white Warbler- 4
54. Common Yellowthroat- 14
55. American Redstart- 5
56. Northern Parula- 1
57. Yellow Warbler- 11
58. Black-throated Green Warbler- 3
59. Scarlet Tanager- 2
60. Northern Cardinal- 2
61. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 2
62. Indigo Bunting- 1

Bolton Flats WMA
1. Canada Goose- 3
2. Mallard- 1
3. Mourning Dove- 3
4. Yellow-billed Cuckoo- 1
5. Chimney Swift- 3
6. Semipalmated Plover- 3
7. Killdeer- 2
8. Least Sandpiper 16
9. Greater Yellowlegs- 4
10. Lesser Yellowlegs- 2
11. Turkey Vulture- 1
12. Downy Woodpecker- 1
13. Willow Flycatcher- 2
14. Eastern Phoebe- 1
15. Eastern Kingbird- 2
16. Warbling Vireo- 1
17. Tree Swallow- 5
18. White-breasted Nuthatch- 1
19. Gray Catbird- 2
20. American Robin- 2
21. American Goldfinch- 1
22. Song Sparrow- 8
23. Swamp Sparrow- 3
24. Eastern Towhee- 1
25. Baltimore Oriole- 2
26. Red-winged Blackbird- 28
27. Brown-headed Cowbird- 1
28. Common Grackle- 32
29. Common Yellowthroat- 8
30. Yellow Warbler- 4
31. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 2

Oxbow NWR
1. Canada Goose- 4
2. Wood Duck- 3
3. Mallard- 4
4. Mourning Dove- 1
5. Ruby-throated Hummingbird- 1
6. Red-shouldered Hawk- 1
7. Downy Woodpecker- 2
8. Pileated Woodpecker- 2
9. Northern Flicker- 1
10. Eastern Wood-Pewee- 1
11. Alder Flycatcher- 1
12. Least Flycatcher- 2
13. Eastern Kingbird- 1
14. Warbling Vireo- 3
15. Red-eyed Vireo- 2
16. Blue Jay- 3
17. Common Raven-1
18. Black-capped Chickadee- 3
19. Tufted Titmouse- 3
20. Tree Swallow- 1
21. White-breasted Nuthatch- 2
22. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 1
23. Gray Catbird- 5
24. Veery- 4
25. Wood thrush- 1
26. American Robin- 6
27. Chipping Sparrow- 1
28. Song Sparrow- 4
29. Baltimore Oriole- 1
30. Red-winged Blackbird- 9
31. Brown-headed Cowbird- 8
32. Common Grackle- 10
33. Ovenbird- 5
34. Black-and-white Warbler- 2
35. Common Yellowthroat- 7
36. American Redstart- 2
37. Northern Parula- 1
38. Yellow Warbler- 4
39. Black-throated Green Warbler- 3
40. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 1
41. Indigo Bunting- 1

Westborough WMA
1. Canada Goose- 18
2. Mourning Dove- 4
3. Chimney Swift- 3
4. Red-bellied Woodpecker- 1
5. Downy Woodpecker- 2
6. Pileated Woodpecker- 2
7. Willow Flycatcher- 1
8. Eastern Kingbird- 2
9. Yellow-throated Vireo- 2
10. Warbling Vireo- 7
11. Red-eyed Vireo- 4
12. Blue Jay- 3
13. American Crow- 1
14. Black-capped Chickadee- 3
15. Tufted Titmouse- 2
16. Tree Swallow- 3
17. White-breasted Nuthatch- 1
18. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 2
19. House Wren- 1
20. European Starling- 2
21. Gray Catbird- 4
22. American Robin- 6
23. American Goldfinch- 3
24. Chipping Sparrow- 2
25. Song Sparrow- 4
26. Orchard Oriole- 1
27. Baltimore Oriole- 2
28. Red-winged Blackbird- 16
29. Brown-headed Cowbird- 1
30. Common Grackle- 8
31. Ovenbird- 3
32. Black-and-white Warbler- 2
33. Common Yellowthroat- 4
34. American Redstart- 3
35. Yellow Warbler- 5
36. Scarlet Tanager- 2
37. Northern Cardinal- 2

107 Species Seen in Field Ornithology 2020
1. Canada Goose
2. Mute Swan
3. Wood Duck
4. Mallard
5. Hooded Merganser
6. Wild Turkey
7. Mourning Dove
8. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
9. Chimney Swift
10. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
11. Virginia Rail
12. Semipalmated Plover
13. Killdeer
14. Least Sandpiper
15. Semipalmated Sandpiper
16. Spotted Sandpiper
17. Solitary Sandpiper
18. Greater Yellowlegs
19. Lesser Yellowlegs
20. Double-crested Cormorant
21. Great Blue Heron
22. Turkey Vulture
23. Osprey
24. Cooper's Hawk
25. Red-shouldered Hawk
26. Red-tailed Hawk
27. Belted Kingfisher
28. Red-bellied Woodpecker
29. Downy Woodpecker
30. Hairy Woodpecker
31. Pileated Woodpecker
32. Northern Flicker
33. American Kestrel
34. Eastern Wood-Pewee
35. Alder Flycatcher
36. Willow Flycatcher
37. Least Flycatcher
38. Eastern Phoebe
39. Great Crested Flycatcher
40. Eastern Kingbird
41. Yellow-throated Vireo
42. Blue-headed Vireo
43. Warbling Vireo
44. Red-eyed Vireo
45. Blue Jay
46. American Crow
47. Common Raven
48. Black-capped Chickadee
49. Tufted Titmouse
50. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
51. Tree Swallow
52. Barn Swallow
53. White-breasted Nuthatch
54. Brown Creeper
55. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
56. House Wren
57. Marsh Wren
58. Carolina Wren
59. European Starling
60. Gray Catbird
61. Brown Thrasher
62. Northern Mockingbird
63. Eastern Bluebird
64. Veery
65. Hermit Thrush
66. Wood Thrush
67. American Robin
68. Cedar Waxwing
69. House Sparrow
70. House Finch
71. American Goldfinch
72. Grasshopper Sparrow
73. Chipping Sparrow
74. Field Sparrow
75. Vesper Sparrow
76. Savannah Sparrow
77. Song Sparrow
78. Swamp Sparrow
79. Eastern Towhee
80. Bobolink
81. Orchard Oriole
82. Baltimore Oriole
83. Red-winged Blackbird
84. Brown-headed Cowbird
85. Common Grackle
86. Ovenbird
87. Northern Waterthrush
88. Blue-winged Warbler (plus Lawrence Warbler)
89. Black-and-white Warbler
90. Nashville Warbler
91. Common Yellowthroat
92. American Redstart
93. Northern Parula
94. Bay-breasted Warbler
95. Yellow Warbler
96. Chestnut-sided Warbler
97. Blackpoll Warbler
98. Black-throated Blue Warbler
99. Pine Warbler
100. Yellow-rumped Warbler
101. Prairie Warbler
102. Black-throated Green Warbler
103. Wilson's Warbler
104. Scarlet Tanager
105. Northern Cardinal
106. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
107. Indigo Bunting

Posted on May 22, 2020 23:42 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 56 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 21, 2020

Field Ornithology Journal 4: Good Birding Spot 1

On May 21, 2020, I went to two locations for birding from 6:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Throughout the day it was sunny with clear skies in the 70 Fºs range with moderate west winds. My first location was Westborough Wildlife Management Area (WMA), otherwise known as Lake Chauncey, is a mosaic habitat of open water/wetlands, cornfields, and oak-maple forests. I have been to Westborough Wildlife Management Area before were on 5/16/20 I saw 62 species, yet today was astonishingly quiet. Despite species moving north or deciding to be quiet I still enjoyed my time in the field. Starting at 6:00 AM with the check-in call I parked towards Lake Chauncey peering at meandering Double-crested Cormorant and a pair of Mute Swans. At 6:20 when the call ended I started by going down a straightaway with Lake Chauncy to the left of me and to the right of me a stretch of flowering black oaks being fed by Baltimore Orioles. Further down this straightaway there was a commotion of singing Warbling and Yellow-throated Vireo, which was a great opportunity to compare their songs. Meeting at the end of the straightaway I soon entered the flowering maples and oak stands to witness a warbler hotspot where last time I saw twelve warbler species, yet today I barely heard a peep. Despite this silence I was able to see some warblers. Most notably I did see a female American Redstart caring for her nest in a northern red oak. I wanted to see if there were eggs, yet instead kept my distance to not disturb the nest.

Moving past her nest another amazing duo! This duo is the banter of Red-eyed and Blue-headed Vireo on opposite sides of the trail. At first, I was confused thinking two Red-eyed Vireo, two Blue-headed Vireo, both, and if so which side. Again, this was a great exercise to learn their calls, yet I was able to see both of them as well! Soon after I head towards a trail more interior where prior I have heard many of the migrant thrushes. However once again silence, yet only rather the sounds of the year-round residents (Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, and more). By the end of the trail I met a pair of Ovenbirds hopping around a babbling brook and disappeared into the brush as I approached. Now leaving the forest habitat I encountered the massive corns fields being fed on by tens of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles, sadly no Rusty Blackbirds in the bunch. Walking beside the corn fields I encountered edge habitat species such as Song Sparrows and the constant singing of Gray Catbirds. Reaching the end of the corn fields I went down another straightaway of staghorn sumacs. Other than being one of my favorite trees they are also a great food source for Black-capped Chickadees and weird enough a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. By the end of the trail of sumacs I was able to get one last notable mention, Least Flycatcher singing insensately to anyone walking by. Overall this location was a great day for flycatchers (Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, and Great Crested Kingbird), yet sadly no Eastern Wood-Pewee. Overall despite it being a quiet day I spent 3.25 hours (6:00 AM - 9:15 AM) over 3.4 miles to find 45 species and 167 individuals. Still wanting Eastern Wood-Pewee I went to Desert Natural Area.

Desert Natural Area was my next location located twenty minutes northeast located in Marlborough, MA. Desert Natural Area may not be a desert, yet rather has sandy soils allowing only trees that do well in well-drained environments to thrive. Despite the sandy soils there are some heavy saturated soils made by Cranberry Brook allowing pignut hickory and black birch to grow. Starting off at this location once again there was silence and the only bird calling was that of a neighbor’s chicken for the first five minutes. Despite the chicken I was soon met by another red bird more specifically a male Scarlet Tanager. Held upright in a maple this Scarlet Tanager was in the middle of the trail on an overhanging branch. Soon enough though a pair of hikers spooked off the Scarlet Tanager. Trying to hide my frustration I continued to find a flooded region of the Cranberry Brook filled with snags and speckled alder. Expectantly I saw Common Yellowthroat, Belted Kingfisher, Tree Swallow, and a “Pewee”! Excitingly at the opposite end of the flooded region there a perched Eastern Wood-Pewee achieving my species goal of the day. Moving forward from the Eastern-Wood Pewee I continued south to the more desert region of pitch, red, and eastern white pine. Here I observed another duo of the trilling’s of Pine Warbler and Chipping Sparrow . Another song I observed in this stand was that of a peculiar Eastern Towhee rearranging the typical notes of “Drink your tea” to “Tea you drink”, despite all the other Eastern Towhees singing the tradition “Drink your tea”. Besides Eastern Towhee, Pine Warbler, and Chipping Sparrow I did not hear that much besides the occasional Black-capped Chickadee or Northern Cardinal. At the end of the pine stands I reached a maple-black birch stand to hear a somewhat familiar song of maybe Blue-winged Warbler. The song had familiar notes and different notes to the Blue-winged Warbler making me think it’s probably another yellow-colored warbler. Working between the other yellow warblers I concluded the song to be Nashville Warbler to have it later confirmed by Allan. The Nashville Warbler is how I ended my time at Deseret Natural Area spending 2.5 hours (9:40 AM - 12:10 PM) over 3.6 miles to find 26 species and 61 individuals. Today may have not been great for total species count, yet rather day to practice my song memorization and deduction. Overall today I saw 52 species and 228 individuals.

Species Observed
1. Canada Goose- 9
2. Mute Swan- 2
3. Mallard- 2
4. Mourning Dove- 2
5. Chimney Swift- 3
6. Double-crested Cormorant- 1
7. Great Blue Heron- 1
8. Cooper’s Hawk- 1
9. Belted Kingfisher- 1
10. Red-bellied Woodpecker- 1
11. Downy Woodpecker- 2
12. Hairy Woodpecker- 1
13. Pileated Woodpecker- 2
14. Northern Flicker- 1
15. Eastern Wood-Pewee- 1
16. Least Flycatcher- 1
17. Eastern Phoebe- 1
18. Great Crested Flycatcher- 3
19. Eastern Kingbird- 3
20. Yellow-throated Vireo- 2
21. Blue-headed Vireo- 1
22. Warbling Vireo- 4
23. Blue Jay- 6
24. American Crow- 1
25. Black-capped Chickadee- 12
26. Tufted Titmouse- 5
27. Tree Swallow- 4
28. White-breasted Nuthatch- 8
29. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 1
30. House Wren- 3
31. Carolina Wren- 1
32. Gray Catbird- 10
33. American Robin- 14
34. Cedar Waxwing- 3
35. Chipping Sparrow- 6
36. Song Sparrow- 8
37. Eastern Towhee- 4
38. Baltimore Oriole- 4
39. Red-winged Blackbird- 24
40. Brown-headed Cowbird- 3
41. Common Grackle- 20
42. Ovenbird- 5
43. Black-and-white Warbler- 5
44. Nashville Warbler- 1
45. Common Yellowthroat- 10
46. American Redstart- 4
47. Yellow Warbler- 4
48. Blackpoll Warbler- 5
49. Pine Warbler- 3
50. Scarlet Tanager- 1
51. Northern Cardinal- 9
52. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 1

Westborough WMA
1. Canada Goose- 9
2. Mute Swan- 2
3. Mallard- 2
4. Mourning Dove- 2
5. Chimney Swift- 3
6. Double-crested Cormorant- 1
7. Great Blue Heron- 1
8. Cooper’s Hawk- 1
9. Red-bellied Woodpecker- 1
10. Downy Woodpecker- 2
11. Hairy Woodpecker- 1
12. Pileated Woodpecker- 1
13. Northern Flicker- 1
14. Least Flycatcher- 1
15. Eastern Phoebe- 1
16. Great Crested Flycatcher- 3
17. Eastern Kingbird- 3
18. Yellow-throated Vireo- 2
19. Blue-headed Vireo- 1
20. Warbling Vireo- 4
21. Blue Jay- 3
22. American Crow- 1
23. Black-capped Chickadee- 6
24. Tufted Titmouse- 4
25. Tree Swallow- 2
26. White-breasted Nuthatch- 4
27. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 1
28. House Wren- 2
29. Gray Catbird- 8
30. American Robin- 9
31. Cedar Waxwing- 3
32. Chipping Sparrow- 2
33. Song Sparrow- 6
34. Baltimore Oriole- 3
35. Red-winged Blackbird- 21
36. Brown-headed Cowbird- 3
37. Common Grackle- 20
38. Ovenbird- 2
39. Black-and-white Warbler- 3
40. Common Yellowthroat- 6
41. American Redstart- 3
42. Yellow Warbler- 4
43. Blackpoll Warbler- 1
44. Northern Cardinal- 9
45. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 1

Desert Natural Area
1. Belted Kingfisher- 1
2. Pileated Woodpecker- 1
3. Northern Flicker- 1
4. Blue Jay- 3
5. Black-capped Chickadee- 6
6. Tufted Titmouse- 1
7. Tree Swallow- 2
8. White-breasted Nuthatch- 4
9. House Wren- 1
10. Carolina Wren- 1
11. Gray Catbird- 2
12. American Robin- 5
13. Chipping Sparrow- 3
14. Song Sparrow- 2
15. Eastern Towhee- 4
16. Baltimore Oriole- 1
17. Red-winged Blackbird- 3
18. Ovenbird- 3
19. Black-and-white Warbler- 2
20. Nashville Warbler- 1
21. Common Yellowthroat- 4
22. American Redstart- 1
23. Blackpoll Warbler- 5
24. Pine Warbler- 3
25. Scarlet Tanager- 1
26. Northern Cardinal- 4

Posted on May 21, 2020 23:40 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 58 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 20, 2020

Field Ornithology Journal 3: Forest Interior Birds

On May 20, 2020, I went to two locations to observe woodland habitats from 6:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Throughout the day it was sunny with partial clouds at 50Fº - 60Fºs range with slight wings. My first location was Crane Swamp Conservation Area located in Marlborough, MA where I traveled 2.77 miles over 3 hours from 6:00 AM -9:00 AM. Crane Swamp Conservation Area is mostly a riparian forest with wetlands, shrublands, and meadows. However, I starting off my birding in the parking lot. At 6:00 AM taking the morning check-in call, I observed parking lot birds such as Northern Mockingbird, Blue Jay, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, and a Gray Catbird reacting to the phone call. Once the call ended I exited my vehicle to find a stretch of shrublands of primarily Staghorn Sumac and a cattail marsh. To no surprise, I saw a pair of Warbling Vireos, Swamp Sparrow, Prairie Warbler, and the full variety of Swallows (Tree, Barn, and Northern Rough-winged). In addition, I saw flyover events by Canada Goose and Wood Ducks oh my. The shrubland was a busy spot, yet I needed to spend most of my time in the forested area so I proceeded into the oak-red maple stand. Here I listened to my first forest species such as American Redstart, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, and Yellow Rumped-Warbler. Being excited at this concert of songbirds they still remained hidden among the newly emerged leaves. Continuing forward I entered another cattail marsh where I met Common Yellowthroat, Osprey, Northern Waterthrush, and Marsh Wren. This was marsh most likely a forest that flooded as marked by the standing snags and dams (most likely done by seen beaver and muskrats). Fed by Road Brook this wetland acts as prime habitat as seen by Black-capped Chickadees picking the fluff of cattails for their nests (no rookeries sadly). Passing this wetland, I met the source, Road Brook. Road Brook has been managed into a canal for water treatment making it clear open water habitat for Great-Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, and Spotted Sandpiper. Marking near the treatment site there was a small meadow with Eastern Bluebird, House Wren, and American Goldfinch. Wanting to make way to the forest habitat I soon entered the main forested block comprised of black and red oak, pignut hickory, red and sugar maple, and eastern white pine. Here I fixated on Veery, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Red-eyed Vireo. My favorite of the three was Red-eyed Vireo for its monotonous song giving me enough time to find it high in a black oak presenting its black eye stripe. From there on I continued to hear birds, yet it was more difficult to see them. Wanting to see more of these beautiful songbirds I moved to Wayne McCallum Wildlife Management Area. Overall, I saw 49 species and 179 individuals at Crane Swamp Conservation Area.

Wayne McCallum Wildlife Management Area, named after the former director of Mass Wildlife, is a mosaic of different managed habitat types including meadows, ponds, wetlands, shrublands, and forests. At this location, I traveled 3.45 miles over 2.5 hours from 9:30 AM-12:00 PM. Once again, I primarily focused on forested habitats, yet I did indulge in some of the other habitats. First starting off with the open water there were two isolated ponds that held Great Blue Heron, Chimney Swift, and Belted Kingfisher. At the first pond, there was a surrounding red maple wetland filled with singing Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Mourning Dove, Eastern Phoebe, and Blue-winged Warbler. Taking all the sights with less leaf cover, I later moved uphill to the meadows with the second pond being surrounded by sprouting goldenrod and grasslands. I have been here in the past to once again see Song Sparrow, House Wren, Tree Swallows, Eastern Towhee, and now for a first time BOBOLINKS! Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallows breed here so I hope this trend continues here with Bobolinks. However, I did not want to get side trekked so I proceeded to the forest block made up of a regenerated younger forest stand and a mature stand. This transition is seen as in the younger stand I saw Black-and-white Warbler and American Redstart, yet as I entered the mature stand I saw Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, and Black-throated Bluebird. Other forest species I found included: Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Chipping Sparrow, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Black-capped Chickadee (they mobbed me while looking at the Scarlet Tanager). Finally seeing all the species I aimed for I moved to the parking lot to meet one last Blue-winged Warbler. For practice I searched for it, yet to my surprise it was a LAWRENCE WARBLER marked by its black chin making. What a great end to a morning of birding. Overall, I saw 40 species (including Lawrence Warbler) and 154 individuals at Wayne McCallum Wildlife Management Area and for the day 58 species and 33 individuals.

Species Observed
1. Canada Geese- 2
2. Wood Duck- 2
3. Mallard- 4
4. Mourning Dove- 12
5. Chimney Swift- 1
6. Ruby-throated Hummingbird- 2
7. Spotted Sandpiper- 2
8. Double-crested Cormorant- 1
9. Great Blue Heron- 2
10. Osprey- 1
11. Red-tailed Hawk- 1
12. Belted Kingfisher- 1
13. Downy Woodpecker- 3
14. Northern Flicker- 3
15. Eastern Pheobe- 1
16. Warbling Vireo- 2
17. Red-eyed Vireo- 2
18. Blue Jay- 5
19. American Crow- 2
20. Black-capped Chickadee-13
21. Tufted Titmouse- 4
22. Northern Rough-winged Swallow- 2
23. Tree Swallow- 20
24. Barn Swallow- 3
25. White-breasted Nuthatch- 1
26. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 2
27. House Wren- 3
28. Marsh Wren- 1
29. Gray Catbird- 8
30. Northern Mockingbird- 4
31. Eastern Bluebird- 3
32. Veery- 2
33. Wood Thrush- 3
34. American Robin- 15
35. American Goldfinch- 6
36. Chipping Sparrow- 10
37. Song Sparrow- 19
38. Swamp Sparrow- 2
39. Eastern Towhee- 3
40. Bobolink- 3
41. Baltimore Oriole- 5
42. Red-winged Blackbird- 44
43. Brown-headed Cowbird- 7
44. Common Grackle- 37
45. Ovenbird- 3
46. Northern Waterthrush- 2
47. Blue-winged Warbler- 7
48. Lawrence Warbler- 1
49. Black-and-white Warbler-5
50. Common Yellowthroat- 12
51. American Redstart- 7
52. Yellow Warbler- 10
53. Black-throated Blue Warbler- 1
54. Yellow-rumped Warbler- 1
55. Prarie Warbler- 1
56. Black-throated Green Warbler- 1
57. Scarlet Tanager- 2
58. Northern Cardinal- 5
59. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 5

Crane Swamp Conservation Area
1. Canada Geese- 2
2. Wood Duck- 2
3. Mallard- 3
4. Mourning Dove- 6
5. Ruby-throated Hummingbird- 1
6. Spotted Sandpiper- 2
7. Double-crested Cormorant- 1
8. Great Blue Heron- 1
9. Osprey- 1
10. Downy Woodpecker- 2
11. Northern Flicker- 2
12. Warbling Vireo- 2
13. Red-eyed Vireo- 2
14. Blue Jay- 2
15. American Crow- 1
16. Black-capped Chickadee-5
17. Tufted Titmouse- 3
18. Northern Rough-winged Swallow- 2
19. Tree Swallow- 8
20. Barn Swallow- 3
21. White-breasted Nuthatch- 1
22. House Wren- 3
23. Marsh Wren- 1
24. Gray Catbird- 5
25. Northern Mockingbird- 3
26. Eastern Bluebird- 1
27. Veery- 2
28. American Robin- 6
29. American Goldfinch- 5
30. Chipping Sparrow- 5
31. Song Sparrow- 11
32. Swamp Sparrow- 2
33. Eastern Towhee- 2
34. Baltimore Oriole- 3
35. Red-winged Blackbird- 21
36. Brown-headed Cowbird- 5
37. Common Grackle- 19
38. Ovenbird- 3
39. Northern Waterthrush- 2
40. Blue-winged Warbler- 2
41. Black-and-white Warbler-3
42. Common Yellowthroat- 8
43. American Redstart- 2
44. Yellow Warbler- 6
45. Yellow-rumped Warbler- 1
46. Prarie Warbler- 1
47. Black-throated Green Warbler- 1
48. Northern Cardinal- 3
49. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 3

Wayne McCallum Wildlife Management Area
1. Mallard- 1
2. Mourning Dove- 6
3. Chimney Swift- 1
4. Ruby-throated Hummingbird- 1
5. Great Blue Heron- 1
6. Red-tailed Hawk- 1
7. Belted Kingfisher- 1
8. Downy Woodpecker- 1
9. Northern Flicker- 1
10. Eastern Pheobe- 1
11. Blue Jay- 3
12. American Crow- 1
13. Black-capped Chickadee-8
14. Tufted Titmouse- 1
15. Tree Swallow- 12
16. House Wren- 2
17. Gray Catbird- 3
18. Northern Mockingbird- 1
19. Eastern Bluebird- 2
20. Wood Thrush- 3
21. American Robin- 9
22. American Goldfinch- 1
23. Chipping Sparrow- 5
24. Song Sparrow- 8
25. Swamp Sparrow- 2
26. Eastern Towhee- 2
27. Bobolink- 3
28. Baltimore Oriole- 2
29. Red-winged Blackbird- 23
30. Brown-headed Cowbird- 2
31. Common Grackle- 18
32. Blue-winged Warbler- 4
33. Lawrence Warbler- 1
34. Black-and-white Warbler-2
35. Common Yellowthroat- 4
36. American Redstart- 5
37. Yellow Warbler- 4
38. Black-throated Blue Warbler- 1
39. Northern Cardinal- 2
40. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 2

Posted on May 20, 2020 23:36 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 61 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 19, 2020

Field Ornithology Journal 2: Grassland and Shrubland Birds

On May 19, 2020, I went to three locations to observe water body and wetland habitats from 6:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Throughout the day it was clear sunny skies in the 50Fº -60Fºs range and strong western winds. My first location was Pine Hill Road in Lancaster, MA where I travelled 1.55 miles over 2.5 hours. Here my primary goal was to see the endangered Grasshopper Sparrows that is an obligate grassland species. Pine Hill Road is ideal for Grasshopper Sparrow for there is a grassland trip made up of gravel-like soil and early successional vegetation (sapling gray birch, pitch pine, quaking aspen, sweet fern, and grasses) surrounded by a aspen-oak forest. Leaving first from my car I encountered a pond with thick vegetation where Great Blue Heron, Mallard, Gray Catbird, Common Grackle, Yellowthroat, and American Robin were found. Moving away from the pond site I walked towards the grasslands. Before reaching the grasslands I went through a stand of aspen-pine forest where I found Black-capped Chickadee, Wild Turkey, American Goldfinch, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Baltimore Oriole, Bay-breasted Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and Brown-headed Cowbird. This area marked as a transition area between the forest stand and grasslands, yet as I soon moved to the grasslands I only saw grasslands species. Moving past the forest stand I reached the grasslands to be meet with a concert of songs and calls of Field Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Barn Swallow, American Kestrel, and Mourning Dove. Investigating each call and song I soon heard a high-pitched call. Excited I peered every plant to find a Grasshopper Sparrow perched ontop of a sapling pitch pine long large than one foot! Ecstatic I sat on the ground and just admired this Grasshopper Sparrow for twenty minutes. Soon getting photos and recordings I moved on to find another high-pitch call of the Vesper Sparrow. To my disappointment the Vesper Sparrow perched for a couple of moments for me to ID it, yet soon disappeared in the vegetation. Soon after the Vesper Sparrow disappeared I truck came my way to do maintenance. With these workings disturbance and me seeing the species I wanted to see I moved on. Overall I saw 26 species and 62 individuals.

My next location was Chestnut Hill Farm where I drove twenty minutes southeast while listening to birding by ear. Chestnut Hill Farm is an operating farm with grasslands, shrublands, and surrounding oak-pine forest. Starting in the parking lot I was meet with a mob filled with House Sparrow, Killdeer, American Robin, European Starling, House Finch, Chipping Sparrow, Mourning Dove, and a singing HouseWren. Soon tired of the parking lot birds I moved to aptly named Bobolink Trail to see some grassland birds. To no surprise, I saw a group of Bobolinks center of the grass fields no taller than 10 inches. Observing the brilliant males perched on the tallest grass stem I marveled at their bubbly song and the songs of their grasslands neighbors. In addition to Bobolinks, I observed Song Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Eastern Bluebird, and Eastern Kingbird. Observing as many grassland species I moved to the top of the hill of the grasslands to observe flyovers by Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Blue Jay, and American Crow. After. Witnessing these flyovers I wandered off to a shrubland of grasses and flowering crabapples to find Brown-headed Cowbird, Yellow Warbler, Black-capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, Baltimore Oriole, and “Bee BUZZ”! Still working on my calls I was puzzled, yet pull apart this two phrase call to “Bee” and “BUZZ” to figure out Blue-winged Warbler then spotted the species and got a recording. After I finally moved to the oak-pine forest. Here I saw many forest interior species such as Common Yellowthroat (wetland also), Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Wood Thrush, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Ovenbird, and Black-and-white Warbler. However, these species were not a priority so I made through promptly to visit the grassland and shrublands for a second time. Overall I traveled 2.26 miles over 2 hours and saw 41 species and 114 individuals. I still had an hour left so I drove ten minutes west for Heirloom Harvest CSA Fields.

Heirloom Harvest CSA Fields is another grassland for 1 hour over 1.2 miles, yet this time this grassland surrounded by Cedar Bog. Here I could have explored the bog, yet I choose to observe the grassland species here. I really tried looking at the field marks of American Kestrel, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Kingbird House Wren, and to a shocking distance Bobolinks. With strong winds, Bobolinks could hardly fly against the winds and perched closer to me than at Chestnut Hill Farm. Still, I wanted to maintain a safe distance, yet able to listen to their bubbly song. Other species I found here included Turkey Vulture, American Crow, Common Grackle, Tufted Titmouse, Chipping Sparrow, Tree Swallow (performed mating), House Sparrow, and a pair of Baltimore Orioles. This might be a limited count of 14 species and 40 individuals, yet I wanted to focus on vocalizations more here. This was a great day of birding in grasslands and shrubs with one new lifer of the Grasshopper Sparrow. In total, I found 51 species.

PS Here is the Scavenger Hunt Points: 52 Points Total
Eastern Kingbird- 2
Eastern Bluebird- 6
Bobolink- 5
Savanah Sparrow- 3
Killdeer- 5
House Wren- 2
Gray Catbird-1
Song Sparrow-1
Yellow Warbler-1
Blue-winged Warbler-9
Chestnut-sided Warbler-6
Eastern Towhee- 5
Field Sparrow-6

Species Observed
1. Canada Goose- 11
2. Mallard- 2
3. Wild Turkey- 2
4. Mourning Dove- 3
5. Killdeer- 1
6. Great Blue Heron- 2
7. Turkey Vulture- 2
8. Red-tailed Hawk- 1
9. Downy Woodpecker- 2
10. Pileated Woodpecker- 1
11. Northern Flicker- 1
12. American Kestrel- 3
13. Eastern Kingbird- 2
14. Blue Jay- 3
15. American Crow- 3
16. Black-capped Chickadee- 6
17. Tufted Titmouse- 4
18. Tree Swallow- 14
19. Barn Swallow- 15
20. White-breasted Nuthatch- 2
21. Brown Creeper- 1
22. House Wren- 4
23. European Starling- 5
24. Gray Catbird- 5
25. Eastern Bluebird- 6
26. Wood Thrush- 2
27. American Robin- 10
28. House Sparrow- 6
29. House Finch- 2
30. American Goldfinch- 6
31. Grasshopper Sparrow- 2
32. Chipping Sparrow- 8
33. Field Sparrow- 3
34. Vesper Sparrow- 1
35. Savannah Sparrow- 3
36. Song Sparrow- 8
37. Eastern Towhee- 4
38. Bobolink- 7
39. Baltimore Oriole- 6
40. Red-winged Blackbird- 19
41. Brown-headed Cowbird- 5
42. Common Grackle- 20
43. Ovenbird- 3
44. Common Yellowthroat- 2
45. Yellow Warbler- 1
46. Blue-winged Warbler- 2
47. Black-and-white Warbler- 2
48. Bay-breasted Warbler- 2
49. Chestnut-sided Warbler- 1
50. Prairie Warbler- 7
51. Northern Cardinal- 1

Pine Hill Road
1. Canada Goose- 9
2. Wild Turkey- 2
3. Mourning Dove- 1
4. Great Blue Heron- 1
5. American Kestrel- 1
6. Eastern Kingbird- 1
7. American Crow- 2
8. Black-capped Chickadee- 2
9. Barn Swallow- 1
10. Gray Catbird- 2
11. Eastern Bluebird- 2
12. American Robin- 1
13. American Goldfinch- 2
14. Grasshopper Sparrow- 2
15. Chipping Sparrow- 5
16. Field Sparrow- 3
17. Vesper Sparrow- 1
18. Song Sparrow- 4
19. Eastern Towhee- 4
20. Baltimore Oriole- 2
21. Brown-headed Cowbird- 1
22. Common Grackle- 2
23. Common Yellowthroat- 1
24. Bay-breasted Warbler- 2
25. Chestnut-sided Warbler- 1
26. Prairie Warbler- 7

Chestnut Hill Farm
1. Canada Goose- 2
2. Mourning Dove- 2
3. Killdeer- 1
4. Great Blue Heron- 1
5. Turkey Vulture- 1
6. Red-tailed Hawk- 1
7. Downy Woodpecker- 2
8. Pileated Woodpecker- 1
9. Northern Flicker- 1
10. Eastern Kingbird- 1
11. Blue Jay- 3
12. American Crow- 2
13. Black-capped Chickadee- 4
14. Tufted Titmouse- 2
15. Tree Swallow- 2
16. Barn Swallow- 4
17. White-breasted Nuthatch- 2
18. Brown Creeper- 1
19. House Wren- 1
20. European Starling- 5
21. Gray Catbird- 3
22. Eastern Bluebird- 3
23. Wood Thrush- 2
24. American Robin- 9
25. House Sparrow- 4
26. House Finch- 2
27. American Goldfinch- 3
28. Chipping Sparrow- 5
29. Savannah Sparrow- 3
30. Song Sparrow- 4
31. Bobolink- 4
32. Baltimore Oriole- 2
33. Red-winged Blackbird- 9
34. Brown-headed Cowbird- 4
35. Common Grackle- 8
36. Ovenbird- 3
37. Common Yellowthroat- 1
38. Yellow Warbler- 1
39. Blue-winged Warbler- 2
40. Black-and-white Warbler- 2
41. Northern Cardinal- 1

Heirloom Harvest CSA Fields
1. Turkey Vulture- 1
2. American Kestrel- 2
3. American Crow- 1
4. Tufted Titmouse- 2
5. Tree Swallow- 12
6. House Wren- 3
7. Eastern Bluebird- 1
8. House Sparrow- 2
9. American Goldfinch- 1
10. Chipping Sparrow- 3
11. Song Sparrow- 4
12. Savannah Sparrow- 2
13. Bobolink- 3
14. Baltimore Oriole- 2

Posted on May 19, 2020 22:38 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 52 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 18, 2020

Field Ornithology Journal 1: Water Birds

On May 18, 2020, I went to three locations to observe water body and wetland habitats from 6:00 AM - 12:30 PM. Throughout the day it was overcast with no visible sun in the 50Fº -60Fºs range and slight northeastern winds. My first location was Great Meadow National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, MA where I traveled 3.05 miles over 2.5 hours. Despite its name, there were no meadows, yet rather two pools separated by a dike lined with cattail marshes, silver maple floodplains, and an oak stand. Starting at 6:00 AM with the check-in call, I stood atop an observation tower looking at the upper and lower pools, while listening to Allan and Jim's announcements. During the call, I was counting large avifauna such as Canda Geese, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, and Mallards. Once the call ended I descended the observation tower and walked into the refuge via Dike Trail. Starting at the beginning of Dike Trail there was an edge habitat of an oak thicket and wetland. Here I was greeted with a mob of Downy Woodpecker, Song Sparrows, Yellow Warblers, American Goldfinches, Mourning Doves, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Northern Waterthrush, and a Wilson's Warbler! These species tend to do well in main body habitats such as forested and wetland habitats, yet they can thrive in these edge environments too. The most notable species here was the Wilson's Warbler marked by its yellow body and black cap.

Moving along the Dike Trail I found myself on the dike platform which was lined with cattails peering into the adjacent pools. Here I saw Wood Ducks (open water), Semipalmated Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers (mudflats), Eastern Kingbirds, Common Yellowthroats, Swamp Sparrow (emergent vegetation), Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows (open water) and especially the Marsh Wrens. Marked by its sewing machine-like song, the Marsh Wrens were quite vocal moving between the cattails. A notable observation was the nest-building behaviors of the Marsh Wren where males make dummy nests to court potential mates. Across the dike, I continued along the Dike Trail to meet the edge of a silver maple floodplain, which consisted of an established tree stand with plenty of brush and standing water. From canopy to forest floor I saw Red-eyed Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, and Virginia Rail (hidden but giving rattle calls). Turning away from the silver maple floodplain stands I looked at the open water of the lower pool. With a lesser amount of cattails, I could better see the lesser pool seeing Hooded Merganser and a nesting Mute Swan and in the sky flyovers by Double-crested Cormorants and American Crows. Finally finishing up the Dike Trail, I made it to the Timber Trail which consisted of an oak forest (black and red oak, eastern white pine, shagbark hickory). This forest was less flooded, yet adjacent to the lower pool allowing me to see both wetland and forest interior species such as Great-Crested Flycatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-tailed Hawk, Hairy Woodpecker, and Blue Jays. Overall I saw 44 species and 263 individuals.

Deciding to move to another water body I drove 40 minutes southwest to Farm Pond in Framingham, MA, while listening to Birding by Ear. At Farm Pond, I traveled 2.3 miles over 1.5 hours. Unlike Great Meadow National Wildlife Refuge, Farm Pond was a water body in a more urban area where accompanying the shores to the east were industrial buildings and to the west a public park with a matrix of different habitat types. I avoided the eastern side for one it's blocked off by fences marking off railroad tracks. In addition, my camera battery was now charged so I was able to take some photos with my camera. Walking straight to the water I counted every waterfowl (Mallards, Canada Geese, and Mute Swans). Most notably I counted 74 mute swans which were seen all side by side each other with 8 of them being goslings. In addition, at the open water, I saw Double-Crested Cormorants, Tree Swallows, and a Chimney Swift. From there on I walked through the matrix of the park which consisted of a trembling aspen straightaway, pine stand, oak-red maple stand, and lawn fields. At the trembling aspen straightaway, this patch lined the western shore of the pond with accompanying cattails by the water's edge. Here Great Blue Heron, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Gray Catbird, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Baltimore Oriole, and Common Yellowthroat were found. Moving to the mixed oak-red maple stand I saw more forest interior species such as White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jays, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Swainson's Thrush. Next was the pine stand which was solely made up of widely spaced planted eastern white pines where Pine Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, and American Robin were found. Lastly was the lawn fields which provided great grazing for American Robin, Killdeer, and European Starlings. In total, I found 30 species and 219 individuals.

Being 11:20 now I still had some time so I decided to go west to Little Lake Chauncey and once again listened to Birding by Ear while driving there. Arriving at 11:50 I traveled 1 mile over 40 minutes at Little Lake Chauncy. Little Lake Chauncey was both different than Great Meadows NWR and Farm Pond for its surrounded by shrublands (primarily new growth trembling aspen) and grasslands. This was apparent for Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, and Eastern Bluebird were found here and are associated with these field and shrubby environments. However, still being a water body with accompanying cattails there was Swamp Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper, and other associated species. Overall I found 18 species and 105 individuals.

Across these different areas, it was a great day of birding and more notably observing water body and wetland habitats with the different surrounding vegetation. I was able to observe different microhabitats of open water, mudflats, emergent vegetation, and airspace with their associated species. In total, I saw 54 species and 587 individuals. Below are my checklists of what I saw in total and of each area observed.

Species Observed
1. Common Goose- 56
2. Mute Swan- 76
3. Wood Duck- 22
4. Mallard- 22
5. Hooded Merganser- 2
6. Mourning Dove 12
7. Chimney Swift- 1
8. Virginia Rail- 1
9. Killdeer- 4
10. Spotted Sandpiper- 3
11. Solitary Sandpiper- 2
12. Semipalmated Sandpiper- 3
13. Double-crested Cormorant- 7
14. Great Blue Heron- 5
15. Osprey- 1
16. Red-tailed Hawk- 1
17. Belted Kingfisher- 1
18. Downy Woodpecker- 6
19. Hairy Woodpecker- 1
20. Northern Flicker- 3
21. Eastern Kingbird- 3
22. Red-eyed Vireo- 1
23. Blue Jay- 6
24. American Crow- 3
25. Black-capped Chickadee- 15
26. Tufted Titmouse- 6
27. Tree Swallow- 33
28. Barn Swallow- 2
29. White-breasted Nuthatch- 3
30. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 1
31. Marsh Wren-7
32. European Starling- 7
33. Gray Catbird- 11
34. Brown Thrasher- 1
35. Eastern Bluebird- 1
36. Swainson's Thrush- 1
37. American Robin- 39
38. American Goldfinch- 7
39. Chipping Sparrow- 2
40. Song Sparrow- 31
41. Swamp Sparrow- 5
42. Eastern Towhee- 1
43. Baltimore Oriole- 5
44. Red-winged Blackbird- 69
45. Common Grackle 58
46. Northern Waterthrush- 1
47. Black-and-white Warbler- 2
48. Common Yellowthroat- 14
49. Yellow Warbler- 11
50. Pine Warbler 3
51. Yellow-rumped Warbler- 3
52. Wilson's Warbler- 1
53. Northern Cardinal- 1
54. Rose-breasted Grosbeak- 1

Great Meadow National Wildlife Refuge
1. Common Goose- 40
2. Mute Swan- 2
3. Wood Duck- 22
4. Mallard- 9
5. Hooded Merganser- 2
6. Mourning Dove 6
7. Virginia Rail- 1
8. Spotted Sandpiper- 2
9. Solitary Sandpiper- 2
10. Semipalmated Sandpiper- 3
11. Double-crested Cormorant- 5
12. Great Blue Heron- 3
13. Osprey- 1
14. Red-tailed Hawk- 1
15. Belted Kingfisher- 1
16. Downy Woodpecker- 4
17. Hairy Woodpecker- 1
18. Northern Flicker- 1
19. Eastern Kingbird- 3
20. Red-eyed Vireo- 1
21. Blue Jay- 3
22. American Crow- 1
23. Black-capped Chickadee- 8
24. Tufted Titmouse- 4
25. Tree Swallow- 11
26. Barn Swallow- 2
27. White-breasted Nuthatch- 1
28. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 1
29. Marsh Wren-7
30. Gray Catbird- 2
31. American Robin- 11
32. American Goldfinch- 3
33. Song Sparrow- 12
34. Swamp Sparrow- 3
35. Baltimore Oriole- 2
36. Red-winged Blackbird- 37
37. Common Grackle 22
38. Northern Waterthrush- 1
39. Black-and-white Warbler-2
40. Common Yellowthroat- 11
41. Yellow Warbler- 6
42. Wilson's Warbler- 1
43. Northern Cardinal- 1
44. Rose-breasted Grosbeak-1

Farm Pond
1. Common Goose- 9
2. Mute Swan- 74
3. Mallard- 8
4. Mourning Dove- 4
5. Chimney Swift- 1
6. Killdeer- 4
7. Double-crested Cormorant- 2
8. Great Blue Heron- 2
9. Downy Woodpecker- 2
10. Northern Flicker- 1
11. Blue Jay- 3
12. American Crow- 2
13. Black-capped Chickadee- 4
14. Tufted Titmouse- 2
15. Tree Swallow- 10
16. White-breasted Nuthatch- 2
17. European Starling- 7
18. Gray Catbird- 3
19. Swainson's Thrush- 1
20. American Robin- 16
21. American Goldfinch- 4
22. Chipping Sparrow- 2
23. Song Sparrow- 12
24. Baltimore Oriole- 3
25. Red-winged Blackbird- 16
26. Common Grackle-15
27. Common Yellowthroat- 3
28. Pine Warbler 3
29. Yellow-rumped Warbler- 3
30. Northern Cardinal- 1

Little Lake Chauncy
Great Meadow National Wildlife Refuge
1. Common Goose- 7
2. Mallard- 5
3. Mourning Dove- 2
4. Spotted Sandpiper- 1
5. Northern Flicker- 1
6. Black-capped Chickadee- 3
7. Tree Swallow- 12
8. Gray Catbird- 6
9. Brown Thrasher- 1
10. Eastern Bluebird- 1
11. American Robin- 12
12. Song Sparrow- 7
13. Swamp Sparrow- 2
14. Eastern Towhee- 1
15. Red-winged Blackbird- 16
16. Common Grackle- 21
17. Yellow Warbler- 5
18. Northern Cardinal- 1

Posted on May 18, 2020 22:16 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 27 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 30, 2020

April 29 BIG DAY Journal 7 (Westborough WMA, Assabet NWR, Desert Natural Area)

On April 29, 2020 for my last birding observation I decided to have a Big Day trying to identify at least 50 bird species from 9-3 hiking approximately 10 miles. It was a sunny day with clear skies and low winds at a temperatures roughly 50-60 Fº. To accomplish this goal, I went to Westborough Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and Desert Natural Area all roughly located at the border between Worcester and Middlesex County in Massachusetts. Westborough WMA was the only previous location I have made observations from, while Assabet River NWR, and Desert Natural area were new locations for me. Over this big day I identified 52 species of birds and 276 individual birds meeting my goal and more!

As previous reported Westborough WMA is mosaic made up of agricultural fields, disturbed mixed pine-oak forests, wetlands and ponds, and human developed areas (lawns and buildings). The variety of habitat types made this area ideal to see many different bird species. Starting a 9 AM I drove through the human developed areas to see American Robin, European Starling, and Brown-headed Cowbirds. Looking at all of the lawn birds I then parked my car near the shore of Lake Chauncy to view waterfowl to only see Bufflleheads, Mute Swans, Ring-billed Gull, and a lone Double-crested Cormorant. At 9:30 I then got on call for lecture for WFB 130 till 10:30. After lecture I then resumed birding till 11:00 and saw a total of 31 species and 112 individuals. The most notable mentions were a yellow warbler and savannah sparrows, both cute little yellow birds returning to breed. At noon I then travelled to Assabet NWR in search of warblers.

Assabet NWR is a large natural preserve made up mostly by mature eastern white pine stands and wetlands. Due to the immense size of the preserve birds were heavily spread out and were mostly identify through call. Between the trills of Palm and Pine Warbler in the towering pines I was able to see and hear both and was able to record a Pine Warbler call. Moving through the pines of singing Pine and Palm Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Brown Creeper, and Northern Cardinal I reached Puffer Pond and the general wetland habitat of the refuge. At the wetlands there was an abundance of paired birds. In the snags standing in the water there was a pair of Ospreys with the female sitting on the nest and a male sitting on an adjacent branch. Looking at the water bellow Canada Geese were seen where a breeding pair was grazing with goslings. Astonished to see these breeding a pairs a Sharp-shinned Hawk randomly appeared from the nearby tree stand as seen by round head, square tail feathers, and small body size. Sadly this hawk’s appearance was too random for me to get a photo quick enough. In total from 11:20-2:30 I saw 25 species and 131 individuals.

Lastly, I went to Desert Natural Area eight minutes south of Assabet NWR. Unlike Assabet NWR, Natural Desert Area was a well-drained forest with apparently more tree diversity of not only mature eastern white pines, but also pitch pine, oak species, shagbark hickory, and red maple. From 2:40-3:40 I needed 6 more species to reach 50 species. Walking in I heard the chirps of residential House Sparrows, the rattling of a Belted Kingfisher, the song of a Winter Wren, the drums and squeal of Pileated Woodpecker, the calls of a Tufted Titmouse, and the yelling of some Blue Jays. I have seen Blue Jays at the other locations, yet these Blue Jays were quite persistent. Curious I investigated these insistent Jays to see them mobbing a Barred Owl number 50! Sitting in an eastern white pine facing the sun the barred owl perch hunched over and then was startled and flew away due to the obnoxious Blue Jays with enough time for me to get a photo. Happy at number 50 and it being a long day I hiked back to then see a two Chipping Sparrow hop between overhead branches giving me species 51! In total I saw 15 species and 33 individuals at Desert Natural Area.

My big day was a large success. For me I was proud of meeting my goal, going over my goal, taking photos of nearly half of the species found, and most importantly being able to identify nearly all of these birds by call. As summer foliage approaches I will need to rely more on hearing for identification and glad I used this day as an exercise. I plan to continue to learn more call identifications and hopefully have another big day as more spring migrants arrive. In total these series of observations have been a great learning opportunity and I still plan to continue birding and now share my findings on iNaturalist and other citizen science platforms.

Big Day April 29, 2019 9:00- 3:30 List
1. Canada Goose- 24
2. Mute Swan- 2
3. Wood Duck- 2
4. Mallard- 9
5. Bufflehead- 2
6. Mourning Dove- 3
7. Ring-billed Gull- 4
8. Double-breasted Cormorant- 1
9. Great Blue Heron- 3
10. Turkey Vulture- 1
11. Osprey- 2
12. Sharp-shinned Hawk- 1
13. Red-tailed Hawk- 1
14. Barred Owl- 1
15. Belted Kingfisher -1
16. Red-bellied Woodpecker- 3
17. Downy Woodpecker- 7
18. Hairy Woodpecker- 1
19. Pileated Woodpecker- 1
20. Eastern Phoebe- 4
21. Blue Jay- 12
22. American Crow- 4
23. Black-capped Chickadee- 24
24. Tufted Titmouse- 1
25. Tree Swallow-36
26. Barn Swallow-4
27. White-breasted Nuthatch- 6
28. Brown Creeper- 1
29. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 1
30. Winter Wren- 1
31. Carolina Wren- 1
32. European Starling- 3
33. Northern Mockingbird- 1
34. Eastern Bluebird- 1
35. Hermit Thrush- 1
36. American Robin- 7
37. House Sparrow- 3
38. House Finch- 3
39. American Goldfinch- 8
40. Chipping Sparrow- 2
41. Savannah Sparrow- 6
42. Song Sparrow- 10
43. Swamp Sparrow- 1
44. Eastern Towhee- 2
45. Red-winged Blackbird -27
46. Brown-headed Cowbird- 3
47. Common Grackle- 19
48. Palm Warbler- 2
49. Pine Warbler- 6
50. Yellow Warbler- 1
51. Northern Cardinal- 7

Westborough WMA April 29, 2019 9:00-9:30 and 10:30-11:00 List
1. Canada Goose- 2
2. Mute Swan- 2
3. Bufflehead- 2
4. Mourning Dove- 3
5. Ring-billed Gull- 4
6. Double-breasted Cormorant- 1
7. Great Blue Heron- 1
8. Turkey Vulture- 1
9. Red-tailed Hawk- 1
10. Downy Woodpecker- 1
11. Blue Jay- 1
12. American Crow- 1
13. Black-capped Chickadee- 3
14. Tree Swallow-24
15. Barn Swallow-4
16. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher- 1
17. Carolina Wren- 1
18. European Starling- 3
19. Northern Mockingbird- 1
20. American Robin- 5
21. House Finch- 3
22. Savannah Sparrow- 6
23. Song Sparrow- 7
24. Swamp Sparrow- 1
25. Eastern Towhee- 2
26. Red-winged Blackbird -14
27. Brown-headed Cowbird- 3
28. Common Grackle- 10
29. Yellow Warbler- 1
30. Northern Cardinal- 2

Assabet NWR April 29, 2019 11:20-2:30 List
1. Canada Goose- 22
2. Wood Duck- 2
3. Mallard- 9
4. Great Blue Heron- 2
5. Osprey- 2
6. Sharp-shinned Hawk- 1
7. Red-bellied Woodpecker- 2
8. Downy Woodpecker- 3
9. Eastern Phoebe- 3
10. Blue Jay- 7
11. American Crow- 3
12. Black-capped Chickadee- 10
13. Tree Swallow-12
14. White-breasted Nuthatch- 3
15. Brown Creeper- 1
16. Eastern Bluebird- 1
17. Hermit Thrush- 1
18. American Robin- 2
19. American Goldfinch- 8
20. Song Sparrow- 3
21. Red-winged Blackbird -13
22. Common Grackle- 9
23. Palm Warbler- 2
24. Pine Warbler- 5
25. Northern Cardinal- 7

Desert Natural Area April 29, 2019 2:40-3:40 List
1. Mourning Dove- 1
2. Barred Owl- 1
3. Belted Kingfisher -1
4. Red-bellied Woodpecker- 1
5. Downy Woodpecker- 3
6. Pileated Woodpecker- 1
7. Eastern Phoebe- 1
8. Blue Jay- 3
9. Black-capped Chickadee- 20
10. Tufted Titmouse- 1
11. White-breasted Nuthatch- 3
12. Winter Wren- 1
13. House Sparrow- 3
14. Chipping Sparrow- 2
15. Pine Warbler- 1

Posted on April 30, 2020 16:32 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 33 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 22, 2020

April 11 Squantum, MA Journal 6

On April 11 from 1 PM - 3PM I went to Squantum, MA and went birding along East Squantum Street starting from Mosswetusset Hummock to Nickerson Beach. It was a warm day at 60º F, scattered clouds, and slight southwest winds. This was a unique area observing coastal salt marshes in a highly developed area near roads and residential homes. The prominent vegetation was common reeds with scattered trees such as pitch pine, oaks, gray birch, and ornamental tree species. Another notable feature was a sand peninsula seen across the bay with little nearby development. Bird species found were looking for mates, nesting, or defending territory. In total there were 20 species identified and 146 individuals found.

Starting at Mosswetusset Hummock this was a small forested red oak family woodlot around .25 square miles. Mosswetusset Hummock is most likely too small to sustain an entire songbird territory, but likely to be a supplement territory where nesting or foraging to occur. Mosswetusset Hummock protrudes out into the bay allowing a better view of the open water and adjacent salt marshes along the coast. Looking at the open water and salt marshes there was flying Double-crested Cormorants and gull species, rafting American Black Ducks and Buffleheads, and fishing egret species. Both Snowy and Great Egrets were observed fishing at least 300 meters away from each other. If an egret, despite the species, came in the vicinity of another egret it was called or chased away. This aggressive behavior indicates that these egrets are defending these salt marshes as territory for the breeding season. These egrets did not perform any breeding behaviors, yet were physically showcasing their reproductive fitness. The Snowy Egret’s yellow and the Great Egret’s green faces were vibrantly colored and both possessed long semiplumes unlike their female counterparts. These egrets are using these salt marshes for nest (common reed and twigs) and food (fish and invertebrates) resources. These egrets are most likely part of a colony and this is a common fishing site. Compared to the rest of the distribution of Snowy and Great Egret colonies in Massachusetts, Squantum is probably considered a poor quality colony. The majority of Snowy and Great Egrets colonies breed at Plum Island or Cape Cod for their plentiful resources and distance from development. Squantum is heavily near human development with disturbance, pollution, and habitat fragmentation. In theory, the Squantum colony is made up of egrets less fit than their counterparts at Plum Island and Cape Cod. These less fit egrets are most likely young reproductive egrets or unfit mature egrets unable to compete with fit mature egrets. Despite the poor quality of territory this colony will still be able to breed and some individuals in following years might be able breed in colonies at Plum Island or Cape Cod.

Moving a half a mile north of Mosswetusset Hummock on East Squantum Street there was a nesting Osprey. Despite the busy calls of Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, American Crows, and cars honking this lone mother was incubating her eggs. From contact to another local birder he told me he was able to see at least one egg in her nest prior last week. This Osprey was nesting on a reused four-foot diameter nest made from large twigs and grasses (most likely from Mosswetusset Hummock) built on a human made nest platform. This female has laid her eggs relatively early in the breeding season indicating this is probably a seasoned reproductive female and maybe has nested in the same nest in prior years. While incubating her eggs her mate is most likely finding new nest building material to expand or repair the nest and finding food resources for her and eventually offspring. Osprey offspring are altricial, born without down feathers nor mobile. These offspring will need further incubation from the mother for they cannot fully thermal regulate and the father will provide food resources. In contrast, on the other side of the road there were breeding gulls on the previously mentioned sandy peninsula. Great Black-backed, Ring-billed, and mostly Herring Gulls were seen on the sandy peninsula and in the nearby water there were Red-breasted Merganser and Brant. Some herring gulls appeared to be incubating. Herring gulls unlike Ospreys nest on the ground making depressions in the sand and hide the eggs with grass and debris. Once their eggs hatch their offspring are precocial. Offspring have down feathers and are mobile, yet will still be with parents until they fledge. Despite these two different nesting choices and offspring development they are successful for each of these bird’s different natural histories.

After observing these nesting birds I walked 200 meters to the end of a straight away of East Squantum Street to do my sound map. (Sound Map is attached in this journal as an observation as Unknown Species). For ten minutes I wrote down both visual and audible signs of birds in a 360º view for ten minutes. In an audible range of 200 meters I heard calls from Song Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Northern Mockingbird, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, gull species, the splashing of a fishing Snowy Egret, peeps of Greater Yellowlegs, periodic screeches of the nesting Osprey, and Brants honking in the distance. Most of these calls were call notes, yet the Northern Cardinal and Song Sparrow were performing songs. These birds were singing continuously demonstrating to receptive females and rival males their reproductive health and claim of territory. Nonetheless these males are ready or in the process of breeding. After ten minutes I went out to search for the birds I heard. I was able to find all of the species I heard and found plenty of Song Sparrows pairs mixed with Red-winged Blackbirds and a lone male Northern Cardinal at Nickerson Beach.

Birds at Squantum are at various stages of breeding. Bird species are either unpaired trying to find mates, defending territory and accumulating food and nest resources, or currently nesting waiting for eggs to hatch. Not only was it great to see so many birds at different stages of breeding, but also so many diverse taxonomic birds breeding. For me my highlight was seeing Song Sparrows, Ospreys, gulls, and egret species all breeding now despite their different natural histories. I cannot wait to continue to see how each of these species progress during the breeding season and hopefully be able to see new offspring in the coming months!

1. Brant- 16
2. American Black Duck- 16
3. Red-breasted Merganser- 7
4. Bufflehead- 6
5. Greater Yellowlegs- 5
6. Ring-billed Gulls- 8
7. Herring Gull- 37
8. Great Black-backed Gull -3
9. Double-crested Cormorant- 7
10. Great Egret- 2
11. Snowy Egret- 4
12. Osprey- 1
13. American Crow- 2
14. European Starling- 4
15. Northern Mockingbird- 2
16. American Robin- 3
17. Song Sparrow- 4
18. Red-winged Blackbird- 12
19. Common Grackle- 8
20. Northern Cardinal- 1

Posted on April 22, 2020 17:15 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 9 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 15, 2020

April 14 Westborough Wildlife Management Area Journal 5

On April 14, 2020 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM I drove and hiked at Westborough Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Massachusetts. The weather was warm at a temperature of 60º F, partially cloudy, and no strong winds. Westborough WMA is a matrix made up of agricultural fields, eastern white pine forests, wetlands and ponds, and human developed areas (lawns and buildings). Besides being a WMA this area is also a recreational area filled with hikers and boaters. Usually, this area has abundant waterfowl and wading birds, yet with three boats on the lake they most likely scared off Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Mallard, Wood Ducks, Buffleheads, and Great Blue Heron populations. The most notable finds today were the Vesper Sparrow and the abundance of herps. Driving beside a thicket on the property I saw a Vesper Sparrow marked by a white eye-ring, checkered chest, and beige beak (also has been seen recently). In addition, there was an abundance of Garter and Northern Water Snakes (photographed in journal) basking and ready to prey upon avian offspring later on this season. In total I found 31 species and 140 individuals’ birds at Westborough WMA.

1. Mute Swan – 1
2. Mallard- 3
3. Bufflehead- 2
4. Mourning Dove- 3
5. Killdeer- 2
6. Double-crested Cormorant- 1
7. Coopers Hawk- 1
8. Red-tailed Hawk- 2
9. Red-bellied Woodpecker- 1
10. Turkey Vulture- 1
11. Downy Woodpecker- 3
12. Hairy Woodpecker- 1
13. Northern Flicker- 1
14. Eastern Phoebe- 3
15. Blue Jay- 3
16. American Crow- 1
17. Black-capped Chickadee- 12
18. Tufted Titmouse- 1
19. Tree Swallow- 4
20. Winter Wren-1
21. Carolina Wren- 1
22. Eastern Bluebird-1
23. American Robin- 12
24. House Sparrow- 4
25. White-throated Sparrow- 3
26. Vesper Sparrow- 1
27. Song Sparrow- 12
28. Red-winged Blackbird- 26
29. Brown-headed Cowbird- 2
30. Common Grackle- 32
31. Northern Cardinal- 2

Posted on April 15, 2020 01:15 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 16 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 08, 2020

April 7 Uxbridge Community Gardens and Soccer Fields Journal 4

On April 7, 2020 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM I hiked 2.5 miles at Uxbridge Community Gardens and Soccer Fields in Massachusetts. The weather was warm at a temperature of 60º F with clear skies and westward breeze. Uxbridge Community Gardens and Soccer Fields is a converted agricultural area that has undergone succession. Currently, the area is a meadow filled with invasive thorn species and ornamental bittersweet and a hardwood forest primarily made up of sweet birch and red oak family species. Bird species found were both yearlong residents and migrants of Massachusetts. At Uxbridge Community Gardens and Soccer Fields 26 species and 80 individuals’ birds were observed.

Pulling into the parking lot I was greeted by a singing Northern Mockingbird. Perched on overgrown ornamental bittersweet it was mimicking a singing male Song Sparrow. To my surprise, a rival male Song Sparrow appeared in response to the Northern Mockingbird. As amazing this interaction was, it represents the growing number of migrants traveling north and the start of the breeding season. Massachusetts is unique from Vermont in that some species that are migrants in Vermont are residents in Massachusetts as the Northern Mockingbird. Other notable resident Massachusetts species found included: Mallards, Mourning Doves, Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Carolina Wren, European Starling, American Robin, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, and Northern Cardinal. I visited this location prior on January 10, 2020 and saw all these resident species here. For me, the most notable resident species were the Northern Harriers. On both occasions, January 10 and April 7, I saw two Northern Harriers. The Northern Harrier pair has been able to survive here for there are plenty of resources. Migration is an energy-expensive behavior and being a resident is a more advantageous decision for these Northern Harriers.

Uxbridge Community Gardens and Soccer Fields have enough available resources to sustain this pair and being residents is less energy demanding task than migrating elsewhere. However, the Northern Harriers do face challenges being residents such as securing food resources and withstanding winter conditions. To address food resource security this pair has developed a feeding territory excluding other Northern Harriers and other raptors. There is plenty of food resources as seen by mammalian scat and sightings prey (Mallards, Eastern Chipmunk, Grey Squirrel, Racoons, and Deer Mice). As a response, the Northern Harrier pair were seen soaring at the boundary of the meadows appearing to defend the area and its resources. This can be seen as one of the Northern Harriers did chase off an American Kestrel on April 7, 2020 claiming exclusive usage of the area’s resources. To address harsh winter conditions, they undergo advantageous physiological changes regulated by their circannual cycles.
As daylengths get shorter this promotes Northern Harrier to promote dense winter plumages, reduce breeding behavior, and metabolic activity. Managing food resources and winter conditions Northern Harriers and other species of birds can be resident species in Massachusetts.

Not all bird species cannot be residents for they do not have access to food resources nor withstand winter conditions. Therefore, these species have developed migration routes to sustain themselves during the winter season and return to these resource-rich areas in the summer. Migrant species observed included: Killdeer, Turkey Vulture, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbird. Each of these species migrates, yet the scale of migration performed differs by species. Facultative migrants are one type of migrant that can migrant typically short distances, yet can stay in their breeding range. In Massachusetts Killdeer, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird are facultative migrants. These species most likely arrived from southern states from Texas to North Carolina or could have stayed in Massachusetts during the winter. Now in Massachusetts these species are either staying here or migrating further north to breed and use available resources. As the snow has melted and temperatures are rising food resources are becoming more available such as new plant growth and emerging insects. Another type of migrate observed is the Turkey Vulture which is an obligate migrant. Obligate migrants have to migrate and typically long distances and cannot withstand winter conditions of their breeding range. The Turkey Vulture seen most likely came from southern states or even Mexico and is now preparing to breed in Massachusetts or elsewhere in its northern range. Turkey Vultures arriving early can be advantageous for it allows them to establish territories before other rival conspecifics arrive. However, Turkey Vultures arriving early can be disadvantageous for environmental conditions may not be suitable for Turkey Vultures such as temperature and available food resources (carrion). Between all of the migrant species found an average total millage performed was 6600 miles (Turkey Vulture 2200 miles and Killdeer, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbird each 1100 miles).

Birding today was a unique experience to see Uxbridge Community Gardens and Soccer Fields both during the winter and now in spring migration. It was great to see familiar feathered faces of the Northern Harriers and also the new faces of migrants. Now is still early for spring migrants and as it gets closer to May more and more migrants, especially obligate migrants, will be arriving soon. I cannot wait to see both residents and migrants start to breed and interact with each other. The first interaction of the Northern Mockingbird and the Song Sparrow for me best symbolize the excitement I have for birding this summer.

1. Mallard- 3
2. Mourning Dove- 4
3. Killdeer- 1
4. Great Blue Heron- 1
5. Turkey Vulture- 1
6. Northern Harrier-2
7. Cooper's Hawk- 1
8. Red-tailed Hawk- 2
9. Downy Woodpecker- 2
10. Northern Flicker- 1
11. American Kestrel- 1
12. Blue Jay- 2
13. American Crow- 3
14. Black-capped Chickadee- 2
15. Carolina Wren- 2
16. European Starling- 2
17. Northern Mockingbird- 2
18. American Robin- 12
19. House Sparrow- 3
20. American Goldfinch- 1
21. Dark-eyed Junco- 4
22. White-throated Sparrow- 10
23. Song Sparrow- 8
24. Red-winged Blackbird- 5
25. Brown-headed Cowbird- 2
26. Northern Cardinal- 3

Posted on April 08, 2020 00:30 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 18 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 25, 2020

March 23 Broad Meadow Brook Journal 3

On March 23, 2020 from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM I hiked 4 miles at Broad Meadow Brook Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary to go birding. The weather was cold at a temperature of 29º F with cloudy skies and snow coming from the west. Broad Meadow Brook is a 400-acre hardwood oak and red maple forest located in the city of Worcester, MA making it the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in Massachusetts. One of the most notable features is the Broad Meadow Brook tributary that runs through the sanctuary that acts as part of the headwaters of the Blackstone Watershed. At Broad Meadow Brook 30 species and 383 individuals’ birds were observed at three notable locations which include: Frog Pond Trail, Wilson Meadow Swamp, and Heron Pond.

Frog Pond Trail is a transitional area from oak forest to red maple swamp consisting of vernal pools. In addition, this trail marks the edge between the sanctuary and the surrounding residential housing. Spaced between two radically different habitat Frog Pond Trail acts as an edge habitat for birds. Along the edge thorn bushes and red maples hosted House Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, American Robin, House Finches, and Northern Cardinals. The very active mixed flock was all concentrated along a 50 m stretch of the trail with shade provided by the red maples and brush and nearby bird feeders from the surrounding residential housing. Some notable bird behaviors were exchanged between themselves and myself. In the thorn bushes House Sparrows and House Finches were giving audible calls to each other. These birds were evenly spreading themselves apart from one another with some being the aggressor and some being the submissive. This was seen in both male House Finch and House Sparrow where those with the males with the darker red or black chest splotches were agonistic to lesser pigmented conspecifics. However, as I came closer to observe this interaction with the House Finches and House Sparrows a Carolina Wren gave an alarm call. Hiding the wren was alerting all nearby birds of my presence as a possible threat. Giving this alert call to this mixed species flock is a benefit in flocking which allows for increased predator vigilance. Sadly being on the short end of this behavioral stick the Carolina Wren’s alert calls called for the dispersal of this rich flock.

Moving on from Frog Pond Trail I arrive at Wilson Meadow Swamp. Here marks the end of the transition of an oak forest to a flooded red maple swamp and beaver pond. Active beaver and muskrat have built dams and lodges allowing for flooding of Broad Meadow Brook to make an extensive flooded marsh area. This swamp act had standing snags, speckled alder, bigtooth aspen, red maple, and plenty of brush cover. With all of these habitat features this acts as ideal breeding location for Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle. Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles were everywhere calling from the sky and perched on every snag. Overcast made it hard to identify each individual, yet there was at least over two-hundred of both species. Preparing for the approaching breeding season both these species are here in large numbers claiming territories and potential mates. This phenomenon can be explained by these bird’s circannual cycles. Circannual cycles control these birds to perform key behaviors throughout the year such as a breeding determined by length of daylight. As spring as arrived officially and daylengths are growing these birds are physiologically responding to this change in daylength and are responding to migrating north to places like Broad Meadow Brook to prepare for breeding. In addition, other species at Wilson Meadow Swamp are present awaiting to breed such as Mallards, Canada Geese, Wild Turkey, Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, American Robin, and Red-Shouldered Hawk.

Moving away from Wilson Meadow Swamp I moved to Heron Pond. To get to Heron Pond I trekked over a powerline trail created by National Grid. Along the powerline was short grassland meadows with sweet fern and small gray birch and cherry saplings. Flyover events by American Crows, Common Raven, Pileated Woodpecker, and Mourning Doves were observed here. In addition, an Eastern Bluebird was found perch in the samplings and retreated to the adjacent forest stand we threatened. Later on, I soon approached Heron Pond by going through a Gray Birch stand. Here I tried to use phishing to call in some nearby birds. Phishing mimics a Black-capped Chickadee alert call to a predator making other songbirds take notice of the threat. Phishing worked for me getting the attention of Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, and American Goldfinch.

Moving on I approached Heron Pond which is a manmade isolated pool which acts as a rookery site for Great Blue Herons. Sadly no herons were seen but Wood Ducks, Canada Geese, Hooded Merganser, Mallards, Eastern Phoebe, Northern Mockingbird, and Coopers Hawk were seen. The male wood ducks were stunning showcasing bold patterns of a green head with hints of yellow and red to advertise the reproductive health of these breeding males. In contrast, the female wood ducks were dull showcasing cryptic coloration to reduce threat of detection by predators when they nest later on in the season. These sexual dimorphic traits better suite the different roles of these wood ducks. However, in some species such as Eastern Phoebe do not exhibit this sexual dimorphism in plumage. Both male and female Eastern Phoebes have a black back and white belly possessing counter shading. Countershading is a protective plumage that dark dorsal plumage is cryptically blending into the ground and the lighter ventral plumage is cryptically blending into the sky allowing for the avoidance of detection. Unlike the Wood Ducks, the Eastern Phoebe priorities the need for avoidance rather than for reproduction and cryptic coloration.

This was a great day of birding showing the readiness for the breeding season seen in the growing number of bird species and behaviors. Most notable for me out of this experience was the Cooper’s Hawks. These Cooper’s Hawks have been returning to this location annually for a breeding site. Usually I am here to see them rear offspring, yet now I was able to see them cooperate building a nest. Similar to these Cooper’s Hawks building a nest the birds of Broad Meadow Brook and the northeast are in the early portion of the breeding season waiting for the rearing of offspring. I cannot wait to see and observe this entire breeding season from nest to fledging.

Species Count

1. Canada Geese (18)
2. Wood Duck (8)
3. Mallard (27)
4. Hooded Merganser (2) both lone males
5. Wild Turkey (7)
6. Mourning Dove (2) flyover
7. Cooper’s Hawk (2) breeding pair
8. Red-shouldered Hawk (2) breeding pair
9. Downy Woodpecker (2)
10. Hairy Woodpecker (3)
11. Pileated Woodpecker (1) flyover
12. Eastern Phoebe (2)
13. Blue Jay (3)
14. American Crow (8) flyover
15. Common Raven (1) flyover
16. Black-capped Chickadee (18)
17. Tufted Titmouse (2)
18. White-breasted Nuthatch (4)
19. Carolina Wren (1)
20. Northern Mockingbird (1)
21. Eastern Bluebird (1)
22. American Robin (7)
23. House Sparrow (32)
24. House Finch (12)
25. American Goldfinch (5)
26. Dark-eyed Junco (6)
27. Song Sparrow (4)
28. Red-winged Blackbird (100 underestimate)
29. Common Grackle (100 underestimate)
30. Northern Cardinal (1)

Posted on March 25, 2020 16:47 by cedar2022 cedar2022 | 16 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment