WIR 2/3-2/9

Wednesday 2/3: Lesser Scaup and 20 Rusties at Forest Grove.

Thursday 2/4: Usual at the res, did get my commute list past 50 for the year.

Friday 2/5: Snowed.

Saturday 2/6: Walked around Dunback, didn’t find anything.

Sunday 2/7: Pelagic.

Monday 2/8: Snowed.

Tuesday 2/9: Immature eagle near the res on the way into work was the first locally in a little while.

WIR 1/27-2/2

Wednesday 1/27: Absolutely nothing on the riverwalk and about the same in a quick check from Cronin’s.

Thursday 1/28: Usual at College Pond.

Friday 1/29: Still no gulls of note at Moody.

Saturday 1/30: Scaup and Ring-necks still at the res (no eagle surprisingly, there’s been one on the ice every morning I’ve gone up 128). GW Teal (new for Cambridge) and shoveler at Alewife. The Orange-crowned was cooperative at Danehy and there was very little at Fresh Pond (did hear and watch the vegetation move from a chipmunk).

Sunday 1/31: Short-eared at Bear Creek, some other stuff at Andrew’s.

Monday 2/1: Big flock(s) of grackles at Dunback plus a couple bluebirds.

Tuesday 2/2: Yellow-rump, 2 Rusties, and a Swamp Sparrow at BBN.

WIR 1/20-1/26

Wednesday 1/20: Checked out the Sudbury Reservoir and found nothing. Dueting Great Horneds from the yard were nice though.

Thursday 1/21: Very slight uptick in ducks on the riverwalk: 3 Common and 10 Hooded Merganser plus 3 Ring-necks.

Friday 1/22: Nothing interesting at Dunback.

Saturday 1/23: Two eagles, geese, swans, and no ducks at the res. Nothing exciting out to School St and back.

Sunday 1/24: Walked to Lot1 and the West Meadow. Great Horned was about the only thing of note.

Monday 1/25: Quiet at Forest Grove.

Tuesday 1/26: Two blackbirds got away and otherwise quiet at BBN.

WIR 1/13-1/19

Wednesday 1/13: Bit too cold and windy. Started to buzz Pelham Island Rd but too much traffic on the way meant no time.

Thursday 1/14: River walk was quite dead.

Friday 1/15: Headed towards Lincoln. Planned on just Lindentree but figured a quick stop at Flint’s was worthwhile. Fifteen minutes later, I was still completely puzzled by scaup. Gave up and went to Lindentree where bluebirds and a Purple Finch flyby were highlights.

Found an email with pictures from Norm later while at work and I’m still puzzled although one seems pretty clearly a Lesser.

Saturday 1/16: Midafternoon loop of the res was fairly quiet (eagle, scaup, Ring-necks). Scaup were still at Flint’s and very obvious Lessers today. Nine Acre in between had tons of geese, but right in the sun.

Sunday 1/17: Started at BBN. Creeper, big flock of crows mobbing a raven, bluebird, and a few waxwings were the limited highlights. Would have been nice to see if the Red-shoulderish call was a hawk or jay. Continued to Moody St, which had the usual gulls and ducks. Quick stop at Purgatory finally got Great Black-backed Gulls and the geese were slightly better positioned at Nine Acre (just couldn’t find anything but Canadas).

Monday 1/18: Yard birding, moderate variety but nothing unusual.

Tuesday 1/19: Two minutes on Pelham Island Rd had geese and mallards.

WIR 1/6-1/12

Wednesday 1/6: Drove through Nine Acre and Pelham Island Rd without anything worthwhile.

Thursday 1/7: River walk was fairly quiet. 3 Bufflehead, 2 Ring-necks, 7 Hoodies and nothing much else. Upriver was frozen.

Friday 1/8: Nothing exciting at Kaveski or Meriam’s.

Saturday 1/9: Cambridge Res had 16(!) species of waterfowl including Wood Duck, Pintail, Ruddy, and 4 Redhead. Nothing terribly exciting at Spy Pond (50+ Ruddy) or the Mystic Lakes. A few Red-breasted Mergs at Earhart and Bufflehead made it 18 and the GW Teal and shovelers at Arlington Res made it 20 waterfowl on the day.

Sunday 1/10: Too wet.

Monday 1/11: Basically nothing at Dunback. Would have had some nice kinglet shots if they landed on the sunny side.

Tuesday 1/12: Forest Grove had a Fox Sparrow, eagle, and a coot in the stream.

WIR 12/30-1/5

Wednesday 12/30: Wandered to the riverwalk eventually. Icy walking and nothing of note all the way to Prospect St. Quick circle around the res was also fairly quiet, couldn’t find the Aythya flock.

Thursday 12/31: Tried for the Chestnut-sided again with no luck. Stopped at Great Meadows and scanned a bit from the tower, picking up the survey crew’s shovelers. Flock was visible at the res but tightly packed and hard to scan. Afternoon loop of Dunback was dead, quick stop at the duck ponds found the sapsucker and got a black duck for the year patch list.

Friday 1/1: Did the BBC trip as usual, but started at the res. Hoodie got in the way of an eagle for bird 1, but got all the ducks. The trip had the usual stuff highlighted by a Snowy at Plum and the GWF Goose and Red-headed Woodpecker in Ipswich.

Saturday 1/2: Twitches.

Sunday 1/3: Finally started on the local stuff. Yellow-rump was fairly easy at BBN along with 2 ravens. Sapsucker still at the duck ponds was about the only other bird of note, couldn’t find anything good at the res (Canvasback photographed Saturday, pintail Sunday morning).

Monday 1/4: Did a Nine Acre/Pelham Island Rd loop but it was too cold to get out of the car and everything was on the river which was hard to scan.

Tuesday 1/5: Too cold and had errands to run, but managed 5 minutes along the Charles which had 4 coots and little else.


I decided to go back for the Mountain Bluebird Saturday. Took the long way, with a stop in Hopkinton for what is likely the first Lesser Yellowlegs in New England away from the coast in January.

Lesser Yellowlegs

Reached Crane, found it almost as windy. Walked out this time and the bird was in the juniper as expected. Got decent scope views thanks to John and Audrey and Bobbie before it flew over our heads. I wandered back after it, but a photographer leaving said it was returning to the juniper every 20 minutes or so, so I went back and waited. Close to 45 minutes later, I gave up and went back to the car. The bird promptly dropped into the depression by the parking lot.

Mountain Bluebird

At this point, I debated going out towards Race Point, but decided that Plymouth to Quincy sounded better. First stop Scusset Beach. Parked, pulled out phone, checked email, read Hammond’s Flycatcher Fairhaven, turned car back on. Forty five minutes or so later, I had distant views. The bird dropped out of sight and an hour and a half later I decided to head for lunch. Came back, and it popped up and came in much closer, giving the views I wanted for a lifer.

Hammond's Flycatcher

Continued to Fort Phoenix, picking up one of the Barrow’s (probably had the second but it was too windy for the scope).

Nice day out.

YIR 2015

Interesting year. Less time in the field, especially in winter. Ok spring and early fall and nothing for most of the fall.

January: Started with a bang with the (rejected) Prairie Falcon. That was followed with the Black-backed Woodpecker and Barn Owl and then quieted down as the snow and cold moved in.

Prairie Falcon

February: Too cold and/or snowy for most of the month but slogging around the river each weekend was good with the Rough-leg and Bohemians (plus some redpolls).



March: Quiet overall beyond the fox.


April: Started with the early Greater Yellowlegs on the 1st. An otter, Vesper Sparrow, Sora, first dragonfly, and Yellow-throated Warbler made for an ok month.

Vesper Sparrow

May: Purple Martin on the 5th, otter at the duck ponds, Arctic Skipper and dragonflies in Townsend, and picked up plus the usual migrants.

Arctic SkipperOtter

June: Early Bronze Copper and Alder Flycatchers in several locations were highlights, as was the DSA meeting.

Bronze Copper

July: Eastern Red Damsels at the Cranberry Bog were a much wanted ode, a mantispid on the door for several days, and the usual start of fall migration.

Eastern Red Damsel


August: Started with county record Variable Darner on the 1st, Snowy Egret and Purple Martins at Hobbs Brook, Zebra Clubtails in Shirley, flyover Dickcissel at Great Meadows, and the Lark Sparrow at College Pond made for a pretty good month.

Zebra Clubtail


September: The Buff-breasted over Great Meadows was the main highlight in a fairly quiet month.


October: The wheatear made for a nice start and the longspur and Long-tailed Ducks were a decent finish but there wasn’t much else.


November: MacGillivray’s and another Lark Sparrow were good early. Ground-Dove and Cave Swallows midmonth and then a nice seabird show on the Cape.

Ground-DoveCave Swallow

December: The Clay-colored and Ash-throated were the main highlights.



Totals: 245 birds (242 in MA, 205 in county), 7 (counting the Prairie Falcon) were new for the state, 3 were new for county, 4 for Waltham, 2 for the BBN/Rock Meadow patch, 6 for the Charles, and 7 for the Cambridge Res. 85 dragonflies (80 in MA, 79 in county, 3 new overall, 7 new for both MA and the county). Only 52 butterflies (48 in county, nothing elsewhere in MA) with 1 new overall and 1 for the state and county. Over 1350 local town ticks, bringing me over 2300 total.

Goals for 2016: State list to 380, county list to 300 (that’s unlikely), 1500 local town ticks and get the remaining 4 towns over 100 (and get another 4 to 150). County ode list to 100 and state butterfly list to 90.

WIR 12/23-12/29

Wednesday 12/23: Last day of work for the year, so I was trying to squeeze a couple more birds onto the commute list. Figured Arlington Res would be the best shot but no luck with either shoveler or the Clay-colored. The Palm Warbler cooperated, which was nice (and new for December).

Palm Warbler

Thursday 12/24: Tried for the Mountain Bluebird finally. Didn’t expect 30mph winds, which made birding at Crane just short of impossible. The one bluebird that flew by disappeared. Also tried the Audubon sanctuary nearby (nothing) and then went to Fairhaven, where is was slightly less windy but cloudier. Merlin was nice but nothing else of interest. Went to Great Meadows for sunset, over 800 geese and a couple pintail but nothing else noteworthy.

Friday 12/25: Wandered to the Acton Arboretum to look for the Chestnut-sided Warbler photographed yesterday. No luck but a few of the moderately common stuff was new for my Acton list. Buzzed School St (nothing) and Knox Trail (3 Killdeer continuing) on the way to the res. The duck flock was in moderately close and in really good light, so I could through the scaup and all the other stuff. Looked outside later and there was a grackle on the feeder.

Saturday 12/26: Started at Dunback. Quiet to start, but out Bacon St. I heard the towhee, then 2 grackles, 2 ravens, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in fairly quick succession. Did a full loop and added 2 Rusties off Blossomcrest. Stopped at the duck ponds (still need black duck for the patch yearlist) and had a nice adult sapsucker.

Sunday 12/27: Chased the 3 Redheads ebirded yesterday at Cambridge Res and found a 4th with them (plus all the other stuff). Continued to the Earhart Dam, which was dead, and then went to Winthrop. Ocean didn’t look too exciting, so headed to Belle isle for the Little Blue. Found that at the furthest point possible and ran into Karsten. We walked the rest of the loop. I picked up a chip I couldn’t place right as we got back to the parking lot. Chasing it down to the entrance, we finally coaxed it into sight and it turned out to be a Pine Warbler, which surprisingly appears to be a first for the reservation. Pulled in very quickly at Assembly Square on the way home and finally got a Red-breasted Merganser for the county yearlist but didn’t see parking close enough to stop for the Redheads.


Pine Warbler

Monday 12/28: Rather cold and windy. Tried Mt. Auburn, found next to nothing, ran down Norumbega without anything but Mallards, geese, and Ring-billed Gulls. Got home, looked at email, saw Ash-throated Danehy, was out the door again. Got stuck in a bit of traffic, but ran into Sam almost immdiately. He wasn’t on the bird, so we wandered around a bit and eventually refound it back near the original spot. Four minutes later, it vanished and that was the last anyone saw of it.



Tuesday 12/29: Too wet.

WIR 12/16-12/22

Wednesday 12/16: Yellow-rump and nothing else of note at BBN.

Thursday 12/17: Moody St was a waste of time and nothing exciting further along the river in a quick drive.

Friday 12/18: Raven at Dunback.

Saturday 12/19: Bit of CBC scouting had a raven at West Meadow and not much else.

Sunday 12/20: CBC was a slowish day. We added Fox Sparrow and raven to the sector cumulative list but barely managed 40 species overall.

Monday 12/21: Quick stop at Nine Acre found the Cackling Geese again.

Tuesday 12/22: Too rainy at Great Meadows and too foggy in Wayland. Almost managed to get to the res before dark but couldn’t quite make anything out beyond the geese and swans.