Sunday, February 22, 2015

Just Catching Up...

I had two weeks off before I start my new job. Unfortunately, we've had 99" of snow and birding is almost impossible. There were only a few spots with open water inland so I focused mostly along the coast. Here are some miscellaneous photos from the last two weeks:
American Coot
Thick-billed Murre

Mute Swan 

Common Merganser (F)

Mallard (F)

Mallard (M)

Wood Duck

Wood Ducks

Great-horned Owl

Great-horned Owl

Surf Scoter

Common Eider

Iceland Gull

Horned Grebe

Common Loon

Cooper's Hawk

Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 By the Numbers

Another great year for birding. Highlights are: 335 total species (96 more than 2013. A 40% increase in species.) 256 species in Massachusetts(40 more than 2013. A 19% increase) 77 life birds in five states and one US territory.

I saw a new species every 26 hours and submitted an eBird checklist every 25 in 2014. That's a mind blowing figure for me! The biggest day of the year was during Travis and my trip to the Texas Gulf Coast in June. 81 species were seen in one day. I saw more species in every month of 2014 except September in 2014.

I ranked 41 in Massachusetts for 2014 versus 89 in 2013 for number of species seen. This is a bit of an arbitrary number because people can opt out of the ranking system but I still find it fun to see where I fall in relation to those I've met along the way.

I've promised my wife 2015 will be a slower year for birding as we focus our efforts on purchasing a home. We'll see if I can keep my promise while continuing to see new and interesting species.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Last Bird of 2014 is...

The Grasshopper Sparrow. A continuing bird, originally located by Paul Peterson near the Boston Nature Center. This was a very skiddish bird and extremely camera shy. I was unable to any great shots but I'll take the record shots of my 335 World bird of the year, 256th in Massachusetts, and my 371st life bird. Another great year is in the books. Coming soon are all my year stats(I love this part).

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Couch's Christmas

The Couch's Kingbird happened to make its first visit to the State of New York while I was in visiting my family for Christmas. The whole family made a day of it and went to NYC in search of the Couch's and some Christmas cocktails. Upon arrival the scene was dismal: A group of people were gathered at a street corner looking downtrodden. The bird had not been seen in two hours. Knowing that the bird had been actively hawking insects and that the sun was setting, my brother and I set out to find some areas where the sun was reaching the trees(hard to do in the canyons of Manhattan). Finding nothing along the Hudson River we headed back toward the stakeout spot. Almost everyone was gone. Curious. Suspecting we were missing something, I checked recent ABA posts. Sure enough, the bird had been relocated several blocks away at Bleeker Playground.  It was an incredible spectacle. Sure enough, the Couch's was hunting from a tree(in the sun) to the delight of what seemed like hundreds of onlookers. In addition to the 30 or 50 birders there were many curious bystanders(both tourist and locals).

Find the Couch's Kingbird
Everyone wanted to know more about the bird. Every time I lifted my camera someone stopped to ask me what was going on. Traffic was backed up as people in vehicles craned their necks out windows to see what all the hub-bub was about. It was a really fun experience and there were many celebration drinks afterward. Here are my favorite photos:

 I call this one "Lunch"

In photography, size does matter... Here I am feeling inadequate.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

North Shore to Close out the Year?

I spent some time of the north shore recently, seeking out a Townsend's Warbler at Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. I missed him on my first visit but was able to take him down in the neighborhood that abuts the park. He was part of a huge mixed flock of Chickadees, Titmice, Juncos, Nuthatches, Kinglets, and Wrens. This may be my last life bird of 2014 and a good one to go out on.

After the hunt for the Townsend's I spent some time "sea-watching" in Gloucester and Rockport. Target birds were alcids and other pelagic birds. I missed the Murres, Kittiwake, Fulmer, and Dovekie but added Razorbill and Black Guillemot. It was really incredible to see the numbers of Scoters and Eiders gathered along the rocky coast at Halibut and Andrew's Point. I'd have to say the Harlequin Ducks remain one of my all-time favorites. All in all it was a successful trip.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2014 CBC- Revere/Winthrop

A successful Christmas Bird Count today: 11 hours, 45 miles by car, 5 miles walking, 44 species, and 1,610 individuals(conservative). This is the highlight for me. A Barred Owl at 6:30am. Thanks to Lauren Lee Woodward, Travis Mazerall, and Sarah Butler Mazerall for joining me! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Batting 1000 Today

Today I had three target birds and was lucky enough to see all three: Two Cackling Geese at Claypit Pond in Belmont, a King Eider at Webb Memorial State Park in Weymouth, and a Lark Sparrow, also in Weymouth. Throw in a Snowy Owl for good measure and I'd call that a good morning!