Friday, April 30, 2010

Migration picks up

I spent the morning into the early afternoon atlasing blocks in the restricted area of Quabbin. There were many nice birds seen and heard with some already nesting. Several new birds for the year made appearances today including several warbler species. Yet again I ran across Red Crossbills with a female and male on the ground in a marshy area. I have some photos from the day that I will post later once I download them. Here is the list for the day.

Canada Goose 3
Wood Duck 6 three pairs
American Black Duck 2
Hooded Merganser 2 female on nest box
Ruffed Grouse 3 drumming
Wild Turkey 10
Great Blue Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 2
Osprey 3
Bald Eagle 9 up to five in view at once
Cooper's Hawk 2 one on nest
Broad-winged Hawk 21 moving north all day
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Mourning Dove 8
Belted Kingfisher 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 15
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 7
Pileated Woodpecker 3
Eastern Phoebe 2 on nest
Blue-headed Vireo 27
Blue Jay 43
American Crow 3
Common Raven 1
Tree Swallow 21
Black-capped Chickadee 27
Tufted Titmouse 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 10
Brown Creeper 2
Winter Wren 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 7
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5
Hermit Thrush 3
Yellow Warbler 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 same area since april 23
Yellow-rumped Warbler 51
Black-throated Green Warbler 6
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 21
Palm Warbler 2
Black-and-white Warbler 5
Eastern Towhee 53
Chipping Sparrow 37
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 8
Swamp Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 12
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Red-winged Blackbird 72
Common Grackle 9
Brown-headed Cowbird 18
Purple Finch 4
Red Crossbill 2 female and male
American Goldfinch 10
Evening Grosbeak 3 one male with two females

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Arizona Part 3 Rufous capped Warbler and Flame Colored Tanager

Flame colored Tanager-Madera Canyon

Rufous capped Warbler- Florida Canyon
In my ongoing review of my trip to Arizona in late March and early April I had to review two of my best sightings of the trip. I really wanted to find both of these birds and I had great luck with both. The Flame colored Tanager had just shown up for the season a couple days before we arrived in Madera Canyon. This bird has apparently been returning here for several years. I had distant but nice views the first afternoon we arrived. A nice looking bird!
The Rufous capped Warbler had been present in Florida Canyon off and on for months. I really was hopeful to get a look at this warbler. We arrived in Florida Canyon mid morning and started up the canyon, having to jump across the stream in several areas. I went further upstream alone and had no luck. When I returned back down canyon I was encouraged to try again by the wife and luck was on my side the second time. I'm certainly glad I went back to try again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another atlas day in central quabbin

I had another great day with many special sightings for me. Had a wonderful interaction with a pair of Barred Owls. The variety of calls these birds have is impressive, especially when a pair gets together. I will include the list for the day...some really good highlights indeed. Enjoy the list:

Spent 4:45 covering 10.2 miles starting at dawn

Canada Goose 4
Wood Duck 4
Mallard 2
Hooded Merganser 4 three females, near nest boxes
Ruffed Grouse 11 drumming
Wild Turkey 8 including one tom chased to the top of a large tree by a coyote
Common Loon 2 pair
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 in area of suspected nesting, quite vocal
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Mourning Dove 9
Barred Owl 4 two pairs. One came in very close, very vocal and was mobbed by four Evening Grosbeaks, a Purple Finch and Red breasted Nuthatchs while White Throated Sparrows being in the far north.
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 26
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 10
Eastern Phoebe 3
Blue-headed Vireo 12
Blue Jay 47
American Crow 4
Tree Swallow 17
Black-capped Chickadee 41
Tufted Titmouse 4
Red-breasted Nuthatch 15
White-breasted Nuthatch 3
Brown Creeper 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10
Hermit Thrush 6
American Robin 57
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 same area as yesterday
Yellow-rumped Warbler 30
Pine Warbler 40
Palm Warbler 3
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Eastern Towhee 72
Chipping Sparrow 66
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 8
Swamp Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 41
Dark-eyed Junco 4
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 17
Common Grackle 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 18
Purple Finch 2
Red Crossbill 2 together, unknown on age due to poor lighting
American Goldfinch 8
Evening Grosbeak 14 including two groups of four together, rest pairs

Gray Squirrel-1
Red Squirrel-7

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bird Atlas work-Red Crossbills

I spent the morning doing my first bit of atlasing for the fourth season of the Breeding Bird Atlas. I spent a total of around 5 hours covering about 11 miles of road/trails. There were many highlights including an early Black Throated Blue Warbler, a Black and White Warbler, Red Crossbills, Evening Grosbeaks, etc. I will let the list speak for itself.

Canada Goose 10 several pairs
Wood Duck 4
Mallard 3
Ring-necked Duck 2 males
Hooded Merganser 8 a few pairs near nest boxes
Ruffed Grouse 6 drumming
Wild Turkey 20 many displaying birds
Common Loon 1 breeding plumage
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 in same area where nesting was suspected previous years
Cooper's Hawk 1
Broad-winged Hawk 3 two together, low, calling
Red-tailed Hawk 2
American Kestrel 1 male
Mourning Dove 16
Barred Owl 2 pair calling back and forth
Belted Kingfisher 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 19
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 5
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 6 nesting
Blue-headed Vireo 18
Blue Jay 45
American Crow 5
Tree Swallow 11
Black-capped Chickadee 44
Red-breasted Nuthatch 14 several pairs
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 3 carrying nest material
Winter Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10
Hermit Thrush 5
American Robin 53 carrying nest material and building nests
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 heard and then seen...early
Yellow-rumped Warbler 45
Pine Warbler 46 several pairs, most males
Palm Warbler 7
Black-and-white Warbler 1 heard and seen
Eastern Towhee 67
Chipping Sparrow 56 many pairs
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 11 carrying nest material
Swamp Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 7
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 22
Common Grackle 7
Brown-headed Cowbird 17
Purple Finch 7
Red Crossbill 4 group together, photos taken. North of area where I had them breeding last year
American Goldfinch 17
Evening Grosbeak 9 four distinct pairs plus at least one more heard

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hawk migration

I spent just under two hours this morning atop Goat's Peak tower at Mount Tom State Reservation watching the hawk migration. Given the weather conditions I was hopeful for a good flight and was not disappointed! A total of 495 Broad wings plus a few Osprey, Harriers, Sharpies, Cooper's and Kestrels rounded out the hawk migrants. In addition a total of 70 Double Crested Cormorants and an early Bank Swallow plus groups of Yellow rumped Warblers. The birds were still moving when I left at midday. I can only imagine the overall total for the day. A fantastic spring hawk watch day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A rainy day

Despite the rain and raw temperatures I made a trip through Quabbin Park and was rewarded with a few nice sightings. Late morning I found a group of three Bonaparte's Gulls out from Winsor Dam as well as three Common Loons. I had a nice smattering of other earlier migrants such as Pine Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush (singing from the same spot for almost a week now), various sparrows and others. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some nicer weather.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Arizona Part 2 Mount Lemmon

I made a few trips out from our base in eastern Tucson up to Mount Lemmon. It is a truly beautiful drive and its amazing to watch the vegetation change as you climb higher and higher up the mountain going from a Saguaro desert to a Ponderosa Pine forest with feet of snow! The bird life also changes along with the trees and plants. Some of the most interesting

sightings was watching a Pygmy Nuthatch excavate a cavity in a limb. There were many other new birds for the trip sighted at various locations on my way up and down the mountain.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Arizona Part 1

I will do a brief recap of my recent trip to Arizona. For this posting I will cover the first few days of the trip. This part of the trip I spent in the area of east Tucson and visited Saguaro NP several times and had some good luck with typical desert birds including Gambel's Quail, Black tailed Gnatcatcher, Rufous winged Sparrow, Lucy Warbler and many others. The weather was perfect with temps in the 80's and low humidity.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moose encounter

I had a nice close encounter with a moose Sunday morning at Covey WMA as I tried my best to shake off my jet lag and get back to east coast time. Although I managed to see some good birds there the highlight was indeed this quite inquisitive moose. The closest and longest encounter I have ever had with a moose.

Back from Arizona

Just back from a good trip out to Arizona. Although it was not a strictly birding trip I had some very good luck nonetheless. Hit areas around Tucson, Mount Lemmon and Madera Canyon over the course of a week. I managed a total of 136 species with 20 of those life birds for me. The big highlights included Rufous-capped Warbler and Flame Colored Tanager. I will be posting some of my photos over the next few weeks.