WIR 8/19-8/25

Wednesday 8/19: Hobbs Brook was quiet for shorebirds but 2 Purple Martins were rather nice!

Martins

Martin

Thursday 8/20: Forest Grove was quiet, couple ravens over Brandeis were the only things of any interest.

Firday 8/21: Too wet in the morning but out of work early enough to check Hobbs Brook quickly. A couple Semipalmated Sandpipers, 250+ starlings, and decent numbers of the usual shorebirds.

Saturday 8/22: Started at Dunback which had a Veery and a ton of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks but little else. Keep saying I’m not going to Great Meadows but I ended up there next. Walking in, a flyover call appears to be a Dickcissel. Two Great Egrets and a couple shorebirds were it otherwise. Hobbs Brook on the way home had the usual shorebirds and 4 Green-winged Teal in with the Mallards.

Sunday 8/23: Looped Prospect Hill. Parula got away but there were Black-and-white Warblers in almost every chickadee flock plus a Blue-winged, a few Redstarts, a Chestnut-sided, and Pines still begging. Eagle on the res although nothing else there or at Hardy.

Monday 8/24: Redstart was about it at Rock Meadow (although I realized Tuesday the Indigo Bunting was a patch year bird).

Tuesday 8/25: Not much at BBN. Started with a redstart and Black-and-white then it clouded up and activity dropped.

WIR 8/12-8/18

Wednesday 8/12: Semipalmated Plover was about it at Hobbs Brook.

Thursday 8/13: Not much beyond catbirds at Purgatory and Forest Grove.

Friday 8/14: Chestnut-sided Warbler and Least Flycatcher at an otherwise very quiet Prospect Hill. Did catch a Black-tipped Darner at the car as I was about to leave.

Saturday 8/15: Ovenbird and Zabulon Skipper were about the most exciting at Dunback (although if the possible Olive-sided hadn’t disappeared into the sun before I got optics on it…). Too hot at Hobbs Brook but 2 Night-Herons and a Great Egret were worth the stop. Afternoon visit to the Nashua was cut short from thunder but I did get a Zebra Clubtail.

Zebra Clubtail

Sunday 8/16: Walked to the duck ponds. Saw very little most of the way. Just about to cross into Rock Meadow, I thought I heard a Red-shoulder but dismissed it. Five minutes later, one flew over. Did find an interesting spreadwing and my first Tawny-edged Skipper in awhile.

Monday 8/17: Not a whole lot at BBN.

Tuesday 8/18: Orioles and grosbeaks at Dunback plus a waterthrush and redstart.

WIR 8/5-8/11

Wednesday 8/5: Couple Redstarts at BBN and lots of orioles.

Thursday 8/6: More orioles at Rock Meadow. Four Broad-wings over the yard as I was walking back in.

Friday 8/7: Went to Wayland for the first time in awhile. Quick stop at the Pelham Island Rd bridge was very quiet. Heard Farm was also quiet, so I gave the bridge another pass on the way out. Solitary had dropped in but a Yellow-throated Vireo singing was nicer.

Saturday 8/8: Plum for a change. Avocet was easy, bunch of the expected yearbirds, didn’t get to the beaches at all. Nuthatch was moderately interesting (3 of those on the island compared to 3 avocets). Quick stop at Hobbs Brook on the way home had a juv night-heron and a Least Sandpiper.

Avocet

Sunday 8/9: Five species of herons at Hobbs Brook including my first Snowy Egret in Lexington (and second in the county away from Great Meadows) plus a few Semipalmated Sandpipers. Quiet ode walk at the Cranberry Bog after.

Egrets

Monday 8/10: Two Blue-wings but not much else at BBN.

Tuesday 8/11: Decent number of Bank Swallows but that was about it at Great Meadows.

WIR 7/29-8/4

Wednesday 7/29:  Blue-winged and mosquitos at Dunback.

Blue-winged

Thursday 7/30: Louisiana Waterthrush and Least Sandpiper at the duck ponds.

Waterthrush

Friday 7/31: Not a whole lot at West Meadow.

Saturday 8/1: Out west.

Sunday 8/2: Great Meadows was a waste of time. Wandering around Boston in the afternoon, an Old Wife Underwing was rather odd near Downtown Crossing.

Monday 8/3: Couple Black-and-whites at Prospect Hill (probably more if I started with the screech-owl earlier).

Tuesday 8/4: Showers kept me in more than I wanted but a quick trip to the duck ponds had a Solitary and Northern Waterthrush.

Variable

On Saturday I headed west hoping for a few new dragonflies for the year (and for my county list). First stop was the Nashua River in Shirley, which is a good spot for Arrow and Zebra Clubtails (not that I’ve seen them yet). A few things flying around when I arrived proved to be mostly Illinois River Cruisers with a Black-shouldered Spinyleg or two, both new for the year. Unfortunately after maybe 15 minutes of wading around, it clouded up and activity dropped. I checked the radar, saw one little spot over where I was heading but figured it would clear by then, so off towards Ashby I went.

Spinylegs

Arriving at Bennett Rd, it was still mostly cloudy. The walk in was quiet with just a few meadowhawks and a couple sprites at the wet spot. Starting up Watatic, I had a couple darners fly by. Setting up at the bigger field, I quickly had a Black-tipped in hand.

Black-tipped Darner

Good numbers of those flying around and one Shadow Darner by the beaver pond. A few Somatochloras joined in but stayed too high.

With the sun now out, I decided to follow the trail a ways up the mountain. Lots of darners but a few in hand and a few perched all were Black-tipped. Finally, a slightly different looking one perched. It was in a pine and fairly obscured for photos, so I took a careful swing and had it in hand.

Variable Darner

Interesting stripe pattern and a dark line on the face. I pulled out the book and compared a bit but wasn’t confident in any of the options other than it was something different and very good for the county. I eventually put her back on a tree and got a couple more shots including a clear view of the genitalia.

Variable Darner

Variable Darner details

I continued up the trail a bit, eventually getting (and losing) a Clamp-tipped Emerald. Deciding to head back down, another emerald landed for full frame photos.

Clamp-tipped Emerald

Other high flying emeralds looked more interesting, but high flying was the key. Back at the water, there were a few bluets. I chased one around and eventually caught it, finding it to be Hagen’s, which was new for me in the county. Also good numbers of Azure Bluets, none of which posed particularly well (and none of the Hagen’s ever settled down at all).

Hagen's Bluet

Azure Bluet

Back at the car, I posted one darner photo the the NE Odes facebook group, then headed for Townsend State Forest. A mating pair of Sweetflag Spreadwings was nice (and made ID much easier). Working my way around to the big pond, I found a few Frosted Whitefaces and a probable Canada Darner, but it clouded up and then started raining heavily. A check of the radar looked like it wasn’t going to stop quickly, so I headed home instead of Bertozzi or the Nashua again.

Back home, discussion of the darner had picked up, centering on Lake and Variable. I checked the manual, misread the diagram and threw Subarctic out. Fortunately, Jason Lambert was strongly in the Variable camp and was able to get a female the next day to show how I misread the genitalia. So, not the first in state in years find I was hoping for but still a new record for the county.

WIR 7/22-7/28

Wednesday 7/22: Quiet at College Pond.

Thursday 7/23: Could hear a Marsh Wren in Pantry Brook from Round Hill but otherwise quiet.

Friday 7/24: Nothing at Nine Acre. Three Least Sandpipers and a Solitary at the Pelham Island Rd bridge.

Saturday 7/25: Virginia Rail and not much else (but 35 species) from the tower at Great Meadows, nothing on the res, and the same stuff at the duck ponds as the other day.

Sunday 7/26: Went to check out the shorebird scene at Horn Pond. Found 3 Solitary, 2+ Least, 2 Spotted, and a Lesser Yellowlegs plus some number of Killdeer. Also had Bank Swallows, a young Hooded Merganser, and a few other things but nothing terribly exciting.

Monday 7/27: Hit 40 at Forest Grove for the first commute in a month or two I think. Two families of turkeys (together) were only my second turkeys along the river plus river FOY Barn Swallow(?!) and Green Heron.

Tuesday 7/28: Raven, slightly out of place gnatcatcher, and a juvenile Eastern Towhee at BBN (plus a bunch of unidentified emeralds). Haven’t had a towhee there since April (and not at Mackerel Hill then), so where did that come from?

WIR 7/15-7/21

Wednesday 7/15: Wild Indigo Duskywing and a raven at Prospect Hill.

Thursday 7/16: Coyote, deer, and not much else at BBN.

Friday 7/17: Monarch, young bluebirds, not much else at Rock Meadow. Nothing at the duck ponds.

Saturday 7/18: Started at Great Meadows. No mud but yellowlegs, Solitary, and Least plus a waterthrush. Knox Trail pond was full, so headed home. Pulled over passing Flint’s and picked up the loon. Got out to scope, couldn’t find that at first but 3 juv Hooded Mergansers were more interesting.

Sunday 7/19: Tried Assabet before the heat got too much without much of anything. Stops at Fort Pond Brook and Warner’s Pond didn’t have a whole lot more.

Monday 7/20: Big buck at BBN plus FOY Lance-tipped Darner and Wandering Glider.

Deer

Tuesday 7/21: About the same as last week at Rock Meadow. Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers at the duck ponds.

WIR 7/8-7/14

Wednesday 7/8: At least 4 Red-bellied Tiger Beetles at Prospect Hill but it got rainy before I could look for anything else.

Thursday 7/9: Mantisfly on the doorway. Nothing at Saw Mill Pasture.

Mantispid

Friday 7/10: Nothing much at Great Meados.

Saturday 7/11: Concord Butterfly count. In Wayland and Lincoln with Wayne and Mark. Nothing too exciting in the bugs (beyond another mantispid) but Yellow-throated Vireo was nice.

Sunday 7/12: West Meadow and duck ponds both were quiet (and filled with mosquitoes).

Monday 7/13: More or less the usual at Purgatory Cove. Didn’t bring the camera so the mating Leptogasterinids got away.

Tuesday 7/14: Mosquitoes and robins at Dunback.

WIR 7/1-7/7

Wednesday 7/1: Too rainy.

Thursday 7/2: Striped Hairstreak at BBN.

Striped Hairstreak

Friday 7/3: Went to the river walk for the first time in awhile for bluets and dancers. Got Blue-fronted, Stream, and Skimming but not much else.

Saturday 7/4: Out in Otis. Did a 5 mile loop of the state forest in the rain, lots of Blackburnians, BT Blues, etc but rather wet.

Sunday 7/5: Got home earlier enough to catch the end of the ode walk at the Cranberry Bog. Lots of sprites, first Elegant Spreadwings of the year, not a whole lot else at first. Did a loop by myself after to get the Sphagnum Sprites and found Eastern Red Damsels almost back at the car, unfortunately long after everyone else left.

Eastern Red Damsel

Monday 7/6: Nothing exciting at Lone Tree Hill, only one hairstreak which appeared to be Banded. Warbling Vireo from the yard in the evening.

Tuesday 7/7: Fawn Darner and little else at the duck ponds.