WIR 1/17-1/23

Wednesday 1/17: Too snowy

Thursday 1/18: Usual on the riverwalk.

Friday 1/19: Creeper (believe that’s #50 for the commute this year) about it at BBN.

Saturday 1/20: Did some local work. Quiet at Mary Cummings but an eagle was distantly visible as I was reaching the car. Mostly the usual at Horn Pond, except for 4 Fish Crows flying over. Another eagle at Sandy Beach, then 2 more at the boat club. South end of the lakes had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a raven. Spy Pond was frozen but presumably the same raven flew by.

Sunday 1/21: More local stuff. Nothing exciting at Blair Pond. GW Teal and little else at Alewife. Yet another eagle east of Watertown Square, a raven west of the square along with 4 Wood Ducks, then another eagle at Forest Grove. Next to nothing at Moody St.

Monday 1/22: Looped Nine Acre and Pelham Island Rd without anything (did finally get some turkeys on the way).

Tuesday 1/23: 2 coots, 1 teal, a couple black ducks, and no pintail at Hager.

WIR 1/10-1/16

Wednesday 1/10: Couple Red-wings and an eagle at Heard Farms.

Thursday 1/11: Nothing exciting at Meriam’s.

Friday 1/12: GW Teal and a coot at Hager but no pintail or Gadwall.

Saturday 1/13: Got nice earlier than expected, so decided to finally head west. Stopped at School St for a big flock of Mallards, geese, and gulls, then ran into a rainstorm further out Rt. 2. Quick stop in Gardner for a pintail, then up to Watatic. Two(!) flying squirrels at night.

Sunday 1/14: Started at Draw Seven, which had 3 Common Loons and a Red-throated. Nothing much in a quick scan at Sylvester Baxter, and nothing at Earhart. However, driving behind the shopping center, I came across a Red-shouldered Hawk. Continued to Castle Island where I couldn’t find any Purple Sandpipers or scaup (or Snow Buntings). Saw the Ross’s was near a parking area on the way by, so pulled in and ended up talking to Jim for a few minutes, picking up Iceland Gull and Horned Grebe in the process. Drove around Squantum and Quincy a bit without finding much.

Monday 1/15: Swung towards Lowell but the gulls weren’t on show and I wasn’t up for walking along the river. Got a Glaucous in a parking lot in Tewksbury, then walked around Hanscom and saw nothing.

Tuesday 1/16: 2 Long-ears and a sharpie at Dunback but no luck with the Rough-legs.

WIR 1/3-1/9

Wednesday 1/3: Dunback had the Rough-legs (commute #212), a grackle, but the Long-ears were hidden.

Thursday 1/4: Snow

Friday 1/5: Snow but first Cooper’s in the yard for awhile.

Saturday 1/6: Cold, Red-belly in the yard.

Sunday 1/7: Didn’t warm up fast enough but did an hour’s drive midday (Res, Hobbs Brook, out 2A to Meriam’s and up Virginia Rd, then over to Hardy Pond). Combined total: 1 red-tail, 3 Ring-billed Gull, 3 Rock Pigeon, 2 Blue Jay, 1 junco.

Monday 1/8: River walk was rough walking and frozen from Shaw’s to the ball field, but 31 species including the regular ducks, 2-3 Cooper’s, and 2 wigeon.

Tuesday 1/9: Merlin at BBN, waxwings getting off the Pike.

YIR 2017

January: Fairly quiet month, Brewer’s Duck at Salisbury, White-winged Doves in the Fenway, and that was about it.

February: Snowy month, a commuting milestone and the Redhead moving to the Charles plus Barrow’s Goldeneye on Deer Island

March: Smith’s Longspur was the only lifer of the year. Lots of missing Ross’s Goose, did get a Glaucous Gull as some compensation.

April: Caught up with the Eurasian Wigeon in Marlboro on the third attempt. Got my only new Great Meadows bird for the year with a turkey. A Bristol county trip built that list a bit, as did a couple trips to the airport in NH. A good bunch of early migrants ended the month plus first insects of the year.

May: Orchard Oriole was a yard bird, Prairie Warbler was a Charles bird, a bunch of Suffolk birds, Prothonotary at Fresh Pond, got to 100 in Burlington, and was honestly a fairly slow migration. Also first central MA bug trip of the year was fairly good. Ended the month with a Hooded Warbler at Hobbs Brook (plus 3 other new birds for the res).

June: Found another Prothonotary, went out to Worcester where we missed the target dragonfly but got an Olive-sided, then went to the DSA meeting which I haven’t written up yet but was fairly good. On return, got Winchester to 100, a late Black-and-white at BBN, and Norm’s Grasshopper Sparrow in the Henslow field (which I probably had and didn’t pay attention to at the end of May). Finished the month with a central MA swing and filled some holes in my county ode list.

July: Added Slender Bluet to my county ode list, a first Squantum run, the usual on the Concord butterfly count, then the NE DSA meeting, which had some nice northern stuff. Finished the month by filling some holes in my Suffolk and Norfolk lists.

August: Missed a Suffolk Sora but had a few other things, then explored Ashby, had a trickle of fall migrants, a Great Egret at BBN, and a quick trip to Plum midmonth had a Black Tern. Ended with a Ruffed Grouse in Townsend, then Caspian Tern and Wilson’s Phalarope in Squantum.

September: Started getting decent numbers of fall migrants (for a couple days at least). Lousy weather for the annual Berkshire trip but got a Cape May and a few others plus made a brief Connecticut trip that added a bunch. Also filled a bunch more Suffolk (and Norfolk) gaps. Twelve(!) Red-necked Grebes at the res on the 23rd were on of the year’s highlights.

October: Grasshopper Sparrow at Rock Meadow, a Plymouth run in poor weather, and then Brant at Farm Pond. A Worcester county run was mostly bust, but more Caspian Terns in Squantum plus a Vesper Sparrow at Great Pond. Finished the month with Winter Wren finally at the res and a late Short-billed Dowitcher and gannets in Winthrop.

November: Tried some late hawkwatching but didn’t get any of the unlikely targets. Got in on the YB Cuckoo influx with one at BBN and the  Dunlin influx (but in Worcester county). Veteran’s Day weekend was rather crazy with Tundra Swan and Hammond’s Flycatcher major highlights and then a Snow Bunting on patch. The BT Gray on Thanksgiving was a county bird. Townsend’s Solitaire and some other stuff in a Bristol county run, then owls all over the place locally before missing an Ash-throated.

December: Second Hammond’s of the year (and my 4th in MA), then a few more Suffolk birds. CBC scouting turned up a Chat and a Long-eared Owl. Chat cooperated on the count, but had to make do with a Barred instead (although up to 5 Long-ears have been seen since). Rough-legs at Dunback rounded out the year nicely.

New birds: Smith’s Longspur

New MA birds: Smith’s Longspur

New Middlesex birds: Tundra Swan, Black-throated Gray Warbler

New Waltham birds: Yellow-breasted Chat

New odes: Eastern Ringtail and Cobra Clubtail in VA, Crimson-ringed Whiteface and Ringed Emerald up north. Slender Bluet and Belted Whiteface were new for MA, those plus Amber-winged Spreadwing for Middlesex.

New butterflies: Hackberry Emperor in VA, Veined/Mustard White in NH. Nothing new for state and county.

Of the multitude of goals, most were too ambitious. Did meet Norfolk to 100 and Suffolk to 175 plus got my Middlesex total town ticks to 3500 and got Burlington, Cambridge, and Winchester to 100 and the patch list to 170. Made some progress on most month lists but most of those were ambitious. Fell just short of 300 in Middlesex, a bit short in Worcester, and didn’t travel enough for the life list or chase enough for MA, although I’m not sure I could have reached my goal of 390 even if I did more chasing. Patch year lists were a bit low mostly because I spent more time working on other projects (and there were no shorebirds for the res).

That makes goals for 2018 easy though. All the month lists and bigger lists can have the same goal. Also want to start part 2 of the Middlesex town list project (getting 100 in every town, part 1 was the 17 closest), so adding to a bunch of barely visited places will be easy.

WIR 12/27-1/2

Wednesday 12/27: Went to Dunback to look for the Rough-leg that’s been around for a few days. Did find it eventually, but found a different bird first. Bluebirds at Waltham St as I drove by too.

Thursday 12/28: Much too cold but did take 10 minutes to run along the riverwalk as I happened to be passing by, usual ducks starting to come in.

Friday 12/29: Too cold.

Saturday 12/30: Did the same section of the Concord CBC, just less birds. Two Hermit Thrushes, a few waxwings, not much else. Then drove to Boston and managed to not see the Ross’s Goose (but did finally get a Merlin in Suffolk) before stopping at the river walk, which had decent numbers of ducks including a wigeon.

Sunday 12/31: Too cold.

Monday 1/1: Too cold but ventured out on the BBC walk anyway. Merlin with a lark at Salisbury was the highlight before I broke off early afternoon. This time I drove up and the Ross’s was right where it was supposed to be (not where I had been looking Saturday but I drove by the spot enough times that I think I would have noticed).

Tuesday 1/2: Probably too cold but checked a bit of the riverwalk. Usual ducks, Ring-necks building in numbers, and 2 eagles sitting above them.

WIR 12/20-12/26

Wednesday 12/20: Quiet at Kaveski/Meriam’s.

Thursday 12/21: Quiet at College Pond, except for the trucks at the stump dump.

Friday 12/22: Same at the res, lots of Canada Geese at Nine Acre, nothing at Flint’s, and frozen at Heard.

Saturday 12/23: Too icy.

Sunday 12/24: Did a pond loop (Spy, Mystic, Draw Seven, res) without anything worthwhile.

Monday 12/25: Too snowy.

Tuesday 12/26: Did a goose loop. Nothing at School St, nothing at Nine Acre, Great Meadows wasn’t plowed. Walked Meriam’s and Kaveski again, kestrel way at the back the only thing of note. Swans and nothing else at the res.

WIR 12/13-12/19

Wednesday 12/13: Quick stop at Norumbega was quiet, sun was brutal at Charlesbank.

Thursday 12/14: Nothing of note on the riverwalk.

Friday 12/15: Mostly quiet at Dunback.

Saturday 12/16: Checked the res, which had a bit of open water and was very busy: 130+ Hoodies, 100+ Ring-necks, Bufflehead, goldeneye, Ruddy, a Wood Duck, 3 GW Teal, and more. CBC scouting at BBN had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and 2 Rusty Blackbirds. Moody St was quiet, and a few assorted drive-by stops had nothing much.

Sunday 12/17: CBC highlights included refinding the chat and a Barred Owl at BBN (patch #170!). Returning from the countdown, ended up face to face with the flying squirrel.

Barred Owl

Monday 12/18: Tried for count week Red-breasted Nuthatch at Prospect Hill, settled for a Pileated.

Tuesday 12/19: Nothing exciting at Forest Grove.

WIR 12/6-12/12

Wednesday 12/6: Nothing at the res, Flint’s, or Nine Acre. Probably had the Osprey at Heard but bad angle.

Thursday 12/7: Scouting Lot 1. A flash of yellow about 50 feet from the parking lot turned out to be a Yellow-breasted Chat, #215 in Waltham. I barely saw the head, but Bob got a decent performance later. Usual the rest of the loop.

Friday 12/8: Not much at Purgatory or Forest Grove.

Saturday 12/9: Did a bit of CBC scouting. Nothing exciting at the West Meadow or BBN proper, usual sparrows at the field station, tons of mergs at the res but nothing much else, a Red-wing at Waltham St, and  nothing at Hardy (at least that I could see through the snow).

Sunday 12/10: Walked to Lot 1, no chat or much of anything. Nothing at Hardy either.

Monday 12/11: Weather balloon or something being inflated at School St, nothing at Nine Acre, lots of Canadas at Farrar, nothing at Heard.

Tuesday 12/12: Red-wing in the yard then nothing at Hardy, Cambridge Res, or Heard.

WIR 11/29-12/5

Wednesday 11/29: 2 Gadwall and a wigeon off Forest Grove.

Thursday 11/30: Nothing at Lindentree. Apparently didn’t scan hard enough at Nine Acre.

Friday 12/1: Pipit and the usual at Kaveski.

Saturday 12/2: Got the Hammond’s at Tufts (crazy location). Checked Draw Seven and Sylvester Baxter without much of anything, then went to Deer Island. King Eider was right there. May have walked by the Razorbill, but it popped up while I was talking to Ryan. Barrow’s showed ok, lots of scoters. One Iceland Gull but not much else, then 4 Horned Larks over the parking lot.

Sunday 12/3: Ruby-crowned Kinglets along the Chrales in Watetown, raven in Waltham, very little else. Didn’t bother working the geese at Nine Acre, no Ash-throated or much of anything at Drumlin.

Monday 12/4: Nothing at BBN.

Tuesday 12/5: Yellow-rump at Dunback.

WIR 11/22-11/28

Wednesday 11/22: Pond loop had nothing, few Horned Larks at School St.

Thursday 11/23: Finally able to run up to Wakefield for the BT Gray.

Friday 11/24: Went down to Bristol county. Started with the Townsend’s Solitaire, which was perched up when I arrived. Also Winter Wren, Palm Warbler, and a few other things there. Continued to Allen’s Pond but the parking lot was full, so went to Gooseberry. Harlequin, Purple Sandpiper, turnstone, a late Semipalmated Plover, and almost no landbirds (plus a seal and a vole). Drove through Acoaxet then worked my way up through to Broad Cove in Somerset. Debated the Tufted Duck but decided on the Barrow’s at Great Pond instead. Found that right away, not quite convinced it’s a pure bird yet. Also Greater Scaup and a White-winged Scoter. Just enough light to scan the res on the way home. Hundreds of mergansers and a Snow Bunting flew through as I was trying to count them. Pair of Great Horned starting calling just before bed.

Saturday 11/25: Started at Horn Pond. Three grebes way out looked interesting but after walking all the way over, they were Pied-billed. Crows were going nuts at the edge of the pines, but Marj and Renee were already there and didn’t find anything. We continued and found some jays and titmice screeching and eventually they pointed me at a Barred Owl. We continued around without finding too much else. I continued to Winter Pond, which had a Bufflehead and kingfisher, and then to Sandy Beach. Seemed pretty quiet as I checked the water, but as I worked the edge of the pines, I heard more aggravated nuthatches and titmice. Wandered towards them and eventually found a screech-owl out in the open. Headed back to the car and a pipit jumped out from the edge of the puddle. I figured that was probably a pretty good bird for the lakes, so headed down to the other end to see if Renee was home yet. She wasn’t, so I got word to her and wandered the wood lot a bit. Nothing in it or on the water, but an Orange Sulphur was flying around the field. Drove up to the dam, which was quiet. Went back to Sandy with Janet and Cory and eventually refound the owl but not the pipit.

Orange Sulphur

Sunday 11/26: Started with nothing at Blair Pond, then nothing at Clay Pit. Too windy for ducks at Fresh Pond but the White-winged Scoter was still around, the Orange-crowned Warbler was at Lusitania, and a Fox Sparrow was by the golf course. Started a loop at Mt. Auburn but the wind made listening impossible and there was a funeral near where the interesting sparrows had been seen, so when Marj called about the Snow Goose at Horn Pond, it was a pretty quick decision to head that way. No goose at the parking lot, but fortunately it had moved to the community gardens, where I made the effort to see the shoveler too. Quick buzz of Clay Pit had nothing before I went home to watch the game instead of the Ash-throated.

Monday 11/27: Turkey Vulture over the duck ponds was moderately interesting.

Tuesday 11/28: Too early in the morning for the Ash-throated but did have Snow Bunting (170 in Lincoln), sapsucker, and Red-winged Blackbird. Had just enough time to drive by Heard on the way to work and watched the Osprey grab a fish.