Monday, June 28, 2010

Pittsburg, NH trip June 24-27

Bog, Pittsburg, NH, June 26, 2010
Moose (first for the wife), Pittsburg, NH, June 24, 2010

Gray Jay, near Scott Bog, Pittsburg, NH, June 25, 2010
Ruffed Grouse, Pittsburg, NH, June 26, 2010

I made a recent trip to the very top of New Hampshire to bird among the boreal forest. I managed to find some really good stuff including two life birds, Spruce Grouse and Bicknell's Thrush. My species total for the trip rounded out at an even 100. It was amazing to be surrounded by the songs and calls of White-throated Sparrow, Winter Wren, Northern Parula, Blackpoll Warbler, Swainson's Thrush, Boreal Chickadee, Olive-sided Flycatcher and many, many others. The many miles of logging roads provided numerous opportunities to explore this truly secluded spot of New England. There were wonderful views of the various species collecting food and bringing it to nests or young unseen. The best spots turned out to be East Inlet Road (several miles off Rt 3) and Mount Magalloway, as well as the numerous small ponds and bogs. In the end there really were no bad spots. Although I missed on Bicknell's at Magalloway, I manged to pick a few up on Mount Washington on the ride home. The views from Magalloway were spectacular, unlike the fog shrouded view from Mount Washington. However the views just below the summit on Washington were good and gave me a nice, brief view of a Bicknell's and a couple flyby American Pipits. Overall another great trip.
The mammal show was also impressive with Moose, White tailed Deer, Red Fox with young, Mink, Beaver, Skunk and others.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yellow bellied Sapsucker

Yellow bellied Sapsucker, Central Quabbin, June 21, 2010

In among the many birds seen today while atlasing were several family groups of Yellow bellied Sapsuckers. They were quite vocal and active and a few showed off the yellowish breast that gave them their name.

Breeding Bird Survey

I finished up my Breeding Bird Survey route through Belchertown, Palmer and Monson on Sunday after a few delays due to weather. The day turned out nice and I managed to get a total of 71 species with 800+ individuals. This is certainly above normal for the total species count. I inherited alot of data on this route going back to the late 60's. I'll post about this once I go through it all and come up with some great (or at least moderately interesting) insight.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Red Crossbills and others

Cooper's Hawk, June 19, 2010

Red Crossbill's, June 19,2010

Yellow bellied Sapsucker, June 19, 2010

I took an early morning trip into Quabbin and had some great stuff. The highlights included at least 26 Red Crossbills...yes 26 at least. I saw and heard a large group some into the top of a large oak tree. I managed to get good looks at several of them and they were all juveniles. The group then took off and circled around a few times calling constantly. I got a good count of 24 in this group. I later found an adult male and female chasing each other around and mating in a group of pines. I also heard others but they could have been part of the groups I had already seen. A truly unexpected number. I only managed a couple distant shots of the crossbills. I also had an adult Cooper's Hawk calling and flying around a grove of trees I have had them nesting in earlier this year. There were also lots of evidence of breeding activity again including a family group of four sapsuckers responding to my Barred Owl imitation. Lots of birds carrying food to unseen young. I ended the day with a very large Black Bear crossing Route 202 just ahead of my car.

Monday, June 14, 2010

100th post

Wood Duck duckling, Central Quabbin, June 14, 2010

American Redstart at nest, Central Quabbin, June 14, 2010

It appears I have now reached my 100th post on this blog and have just passed the one year anniversary. Hopefully a few of you have enjoyed the photos and sightings. Today I spent time on central Quabbin checking on breeding activity for the atlas. Lots of birds carrying food, building nests, feeding young. Some highlights included a nest full of American Redstarts, a group of five (or more) Wood Duck ducklings moving across a small pond, a close look at a Barred Owl, and lots of birds building nests, carrying food to nests or feeding fledglings. Although it was a bit of a cool day it was still very productive.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Poverty Mountain bird census

I made the trip over to a friends property in Shutesbury near Poverty Mountain to help him and others with the annual bird census there. We originally planned this last weekend but got rained out. We almost got rained out this weekend too but managed to finish it up before the rain hit...again. Some great birds and people. We managed to have some close encounters with various warblers including Black throated Green, Black throated Blue and Ovenbird. A large family of Wild Turkey's surprised us as we moved through one of the fields (ten little guys scattering in all directions!). Nothing unusual but good numbers and variety. No photos from the day but thought I would post about it anyway.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Central Quabbin...Bobcat


Hooded Merganser duckling, June 7, 2010
American Redstart at nest, June 7, 2010

I made it back into Central Quabbin to continue the breeding bird atlas. Although the damage is still quite extensive I still managed to cover one block fairly well. The main road is now open to some degree but all side roads are still closed. I managed to confirm several species as successfully breeding in this block. There are more and more fledgling birds being seen with each new visit. Several warbler species were actively feeding young at the nest or feeding already fledged young. The highlight would have to be watching the activities at an American Redstart nest as the male and female fed some very young birds in the nest when I got the feeling I was being watched as I watched them. I turned and found a Bobcat just down the road studying me. He stood there for several seconds and then in a flash disappeared into the woods not to be seen again. One of the best, closest views I have had of a Bobcat in Massachusetts. This is the fourth one for me this year, which is way ahead of what I normally see. I also continued my unbroken streak of seeing or hearing Evening Grosbeaks in this area.