Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Goes out with a Bang

I drove out to Wilmington today and was lucky enough to see 13 Pine Grosbeaks at Jonspin Road. The birds were feeding on a crab-apple as previously reported. What a great way to end 2012. Here's looking forward to 2013!  Happy New Year!

Wrapping up 2012

We've arrived at the last day of the year and I am working on summarizing my yearly birding. I have to work today but am hoping to sneak out a little early to see my last bird of the year. Shooting for a Pine Grosbeak in Wilmington. If anyone is up there this afternoon please let me know if you see them.

I'll post if I locate them.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Deer Island and North Shore

Travis and I hit the North Shore this morning. We started at Crystal Cove and worked our way out Deer Island. The highlight for me at Crystal Cove was a lone Snow Bunting. I have been hunting this bird all year. Travis quipped, "the next snow bunting you see will be in a group of 50." More on that later...

An incredible number of eiders and scoters (black, surf, and white-winged) at Deer Island. We found a razorbill south of the parking area but other than that the highlights were few.  On the north side of the island we struck gold when Travis spotted an incoming flock of crossbills. Lucky for me it contained both male and female whites and reds (reds are a life bird for me). The last highlight before leaving the Island was a Iceland gull. Trav and I noticed this loner with a mixed flock of herrings, ring-bills, and great black-backed gulls. We were a bit unsure about the ID and would still appreciate input.

We did a quick drive up Revere Beach to Nahant and as if the birds gods had heard him, a flock of 50-100 Snow Buntings flew out of the dune grass.  I guess when it rains it does pour...

Checklist for this trip

Iceland Gull

Red Crossbill

Early Morning Birding

This morning Travis and I are at Deer Island. Got my first Snow Bunting! More info to come.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Clay-Colored Sparrow; Ward Pound Ridge, NY

Sneaking in some Christmas birding between obligations I located a Clay-Colored Sparrow along Michigan Road in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. I first identified it as a CCS but doubted myself (as I often do) after seeing that it was a "Rare" on eBird.  I later confirmed thanks to some helpful folks on the Flickr "Bird Identification Help Group" and this blurry photo. 

This is my second CCS this year and a rare find in Pound Ridge in December. Quite the stocking stuffer. I also logged my first Field Sparrow of which there were hundreds. Fun little birds.
Checklist for this trip

Clay-Colored Sparrow - Photo by Devin Hefferon

Field Sparrow - Photo by Devin Hefferon

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The White Ibis Eludes Again

I went out again on Wednesday 12/26 on my way from Westchester to Boston in hopes of sighting the White Ibis that has been seen in Stratford for the last week or so. I hunted along Long Beach Boulevard and through Lordship Marsh area south of the airport to no avail. 
I did however see my first Surf Scoters at Sherwood Island State Park where I stopped to search for the Eurasian Wigeons that have been spotted recently. 

Checklist for this Trip

Friday, December 21, 2012

A New Scope on Life

Much to my wife's chagrin, I finally(after a long 6 months) purchased my first spotting scope. A Vortex Razor HD angled model. So far I love it. An amazing clear picture that will surely allow me to spot birds I would have otherwise missed. The only downside I see thus far is the quality of light when I am zoom in fully.  I will say that this is a small price to pay. For those of you who are considering this scope, note that the adapter for "digiscoping" with your DSLR requires a 50mm fixed focal lens. I do not have this, and so continues the spending spree on birding and photo equipment.  

My First Scope Trip: Lordship Marsh
My First "Digiscope" with iPhone 4

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My First Christmas Bird Count

Today Travis and I participated in our first Christmas Bird Count. We were assigned to the Brookline area of Boston. The highlights were few: Hooded Mergansers, Redheads, White-Winged Crossbill, and a Barred Owl. The Barrel Owl swooped right in front of the car and gulped down a mouse. 
Barred Owl - Photo by dGh
Wild Turkey - Photo by dGh
The count was pretty slow for us and the weather was less than ideal. Rain and 35 degrees. So after lunch we headed down to the Backbay Fens to hunt for the MacGillivray's Warbler. Sucess on the MacGillivray's and throw in a Yellow-breasted Chat and another Barred Owl for good measure. 

MacGillivray's Warbler - Photo by dGh

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ross's Goose Gives Me the Slip

I spent this morning trying to track down a Ross's Goose in Sharon, MA. The goose was seen on numerous occasions with a flock of Canada's in the Wolomolopoag Fields and Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. I drove in circles for 3 hours hoping to find it at a neighboring field or pond. No luck. The hunt continues. 

After driving in circles I headed north to Arnold Arboretum in search of some Crossbills and Grosbeaks that had been seen in the area. Again, no luck. Without a doubt this was my most frustrating day of the year. 
Checklist for this Trip

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hunting for the Top 100

Travis and I went up to Plum Island today to try to track down a couple birds our Massachusetts lists. We saw 50 species on the day including Western Grebes(a rarity for MA), Razorbills (a lifer for me), and Horned Larks (lifers for both). I was hoping to see some Crossbills or Pine Grossbeaks. No luck other than a Crossbill flyover. It was a frigid gray day but as Trav and I say, "a bad day on Plum Island is better than a good day at work." 

Checklist for this Trip
Horned Lark - Photo by Devin Hefferon
Travis at work with his new scope