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!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Life and Death in the Public Garden

Today while hunting for a Barred Owl in the Boston Public Garden I was startled by the sound of splashing, the quacking of ducks, and honking of geese. As I turned around a Coopers Hawk swooped under the bridge on the pond and snatched Pigeon as the waterfowl scattered for cover. He then proceeded to fly to a nearby branch with the struggling bird that was nearly half his size. It was a gruesome scene but interesting to see these wild animals "making a living" in the middle of the city. This was in sharp contrast to the hundreds of obese squirrels eating peanut M&Ms from tourists.

Not my photo....

Oh yeah, and I saw the Barred Owl. Mass year bird #248.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Booby/Pelican Show

At Magen's Baby Beach there was a incredible show of feeding Brown Pelicans and Brown Boobies as well as Royal and Sandwich Terns. A lone Common Tern (or Arctic, ID is TBD), looked on from a swim buoy. The Boobies hit the water like darts, catching fish with pinpoint accuracy. On the other hand the Pelicans are clumsy and seem to take a "Blue Whale" method of feeding; just open your huge mouth and swallow as much as possible!

St. Thomas, USVI

I had a short trip down to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands this weekend to help my parents out with their new condo. I have done a fair amount of birding in the Virgin Islands but I have a short list of target birds that I am still missing. Some of these are considered common but I can't ever seem to track them down: Caribbean Elaenia, Puerto Rican Flycatcher, Caribbean Coot, Adelaide's Warbler, Red-tailed Tropicbird, and Brown-throated Parakeet.

I was only able to located the Parakeet on this trip but I had a really fantastic hike along the Magen's Bay Trail. The trail passes through three distinct ecosystems; mixed-dry forest, moist tropical forest, and mangrove swamp.

Highlights other than the Parakeets were Prairie and Hooded Warblers, Wilson's Snipe, Sandwich Terns, and Gray Kingbirds.

Brown-throated Parakeets

Gray Kingbird

Green-throated Carib

Prairie Warbler


Monday, November 3, 2014

and then today....

The female Painted Bunting reappeared at Evergreen Cemetery in Brighton. Lauren and I made a dash for the door at lunch and were able to locate the bird with a little help from Jeremiah. We were both struck by her bright green color. She was actively feeding on Fox Tail seeds in the same area she'd been seen last week.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Massachusetts Year Bird #244

Today in the middle of a Nor'easter, Lauren and I visited the Sudbury Community Gardens in search of a Blue Grosbeak that was sighted several days earlier. It took us about 45 mins to locate the bird. A lifer for her and a state bird for me. I was able to snap a few photos as the snowflakes began to fly.