WIR 8/7-8/13

Wednesday 8/7: Great Egret and the usual at Wayland Community Gardens.

Thursday 8/8: Rain overnight flooded the parkway marsh again, so only 2 Solitaries and not much else. Did have an eagle over the highway on the way to work.

Friday 8/9: Nothing different at Rock Meadow. Another eagle over 128 on the way to work and an Osprey on the way home.

Saturday 8/10: Parkway marsh was still too wet in a quick check. Nothing exciting at Fawn Lake. Final ode walk of the year at the Cranberry Bog was pretty slow, too windy? Osprey was a Carlisle bird for me finally.

Sunday 8/11: Did the ABNC trip on the Miller’s with Alan and Soheil. Checked Knox Trail quickly before I met them, nothing of note. Rubyspot, Dragonhunter, and some Stylurus (Zebra and apparently Arrow) Clubtails on the river. We continued to Lake Rohunta and had a single Banded Pennant, then a quiet Branch Bridge Rd. Quick walk along the edge of the School St fields didn’t turn up a Savannah on the way home.

Monday 8/12: Water level was down at BBN but nothing exciting there beyond 3 Green Herons and 6-7 Solitary Sandpipers.

Tuesday 8/13: Nothing at Prospect Hill.

WIR 7/31-8/6

Wednesday 7/31: Big flock of House Finches at Meriam’s was as exciting as it got.

Thursday 8/1: Eagle and not too much else at Forest Grove.

Friday 8/2: Red-shoulder was making a racket at College Pond. All the usuals, not much else.

Saturday 8/3: Decided to do the coastal loop today as the chance of showers inland was higher. Started with a scan of the marsh at BBN, which had more of the usual. Next stop Earhart. Walked the new path to the casino and had 9(!) Snowy Egrets but no terns or shorebirds. Continued to Belle Isle, which was quiet. Lots of peep and Semipalmated Plovers at the Key and even more at Winthrop Beach along with a few Black-bellied.

Sunday 8/4: Did the western swing finally. Hotter than forecast… Started at Fitchburg Res which had a BT Blue but no obvious loons. Alder still singing on Bennett Rd. Surprised at Watatic to find a bunch of Martha’s Pennants, think that’s #108 for the county. Also 4 Aeshna, a Louisiana Waterthrush (that plus the Alder singing on the road in were both my first in August), etc. Went to Rocky Hill after. No luck with Kirk’s Scarlet Bluet but did add Osprey, Field Sparrow, YB Cuckoo, and Pileated to my Groton list.

Monday 8/5: Nice visible Virginia Rails at Great Meadows but that was about it.

Tuesday 8/6: No sign of the Little Blue Will found yesterday at Elm Brook so continued to Gainging Ground and Hanscom. Field Sparrow was a needed commute bird, a couple Blue-wings, a Black-and-white, and a Redstart among other things. Pulled in at Elm Brook again and the bird was right in the open.

DSA 2019 Austin

Fairly brief report, see the flickr album for many additional photos.

Wednesday 7/10: Morning flight via Chicago. Arrived in Austin midafternoon, got the car quickly and headed somewhat north before pulling off and finding a supermarket. Got a few supplies then picked an area with hotels in Cedar Creek. First of many Scissor-tailed Flycatchers on the wires along the way. Dinner at Popeye’s.

Thursday 7/11: Had most of the day free before getting to the meeting hotel late afternoon. Plan was to try for the two central Texas endemic breeding birds: Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler. It’s a bit late in the year but not impossibly so. The obvious spot for the vireo is the Shin Oak Observation Deck, so I pulled in there right at 7:30. It was a bit cloudy (and actually sprinkling a bit). I immediately realized I barely recognized any song. The bunting in the parking lot proved to be a Painted. Several vireos were singing, some were obvious White-eyed but others I wasn’t sure about (in hindsight, one was a Black-capped). I sat around for an hour without any sign before deciding to move on. Back at the car, some movement in the taller trees got my attention and turned out to be a warbler! Talking to locals later, this was a pretty good bird for the spot this late in the year.

Golden-cheeked Warbler

From here, I drove to the other end of Balcones Canyonlands NWR to the Warbler Vista. The trail itself was very quiet, basically nothing but White-winged Doves. Just before reaching the road to loop back I had my first new dragonfly, a Checkered Setwing. Along the road was a bit birdier but nothing too exciting. I started to drive out but heard a good deal of song right near the parking for the trail I came out on, so I pulled in and walked back a bit. A couple more warblers gave brief appearances and there was a Hutton’s Vireo, which was a known rarity at the spot. Unfortunately too far in to get photos.

Checkered Setwing

I started back towards the observation deck and stopped at Doeskin Ranch for a bit of a walk. It was really hot by now, but I walked the creek trail and down to the pond. Lots of dancers including my first Kiowa, Springwater, and Aztec along with rubyspots, Great Spreadwings, a Four-striped Leaftail, an Eastern Ringtail, a Comanche Skimmer or two, and some butterflies were all nice.

Dusky Dancer Little Yellow

A quick stop back at the platform was quiet, so I started towards lunch and the hotel. Lunch ended up being an ice cream sandwich. I got to the hotel area around 3, so drove around a bit before checking in. After a few hellos and a shower, I ended up going out to dinner to Guadalajara’s with the Donnellys, Jerrell, Hal, and Jim. Good food and company. I hung around the lobby a bit more talking to a few others before finally crashing.

Friday 7/12: Today was the first day of field trips. I joined the Hummels in the group that was heading to Southeast Metro Park and Hornsby Bend. The metro park was fun, if not my idea of great habitat. We had Jade Clubtail, Broad-striped Forceptail, Red-tailed Pennant, many saddlebags, and more around the pond. Along the wooded trail at the back we added Flag-tailed Spinyleg, Thornbush Dasher, Four-striped Leaftail, and the largest robber fly in the US, Microstylum morosum. A cruiser just before we left provided some interest but turned out to be a Swift River, which is the species in MA (although a different race).

Broad striped Forceptail Four striped Leaftail Flag tailed Spinyleg Microstylum morosum

The heat was pretty bad by now, but we gave Hornsby Bend a go. At the entrance building, we had an armadillo and some wheel bugs, then hit the trail. Cobra and Russet-tipped Clubtails and a Carmine Skimmer were the highlights before a few of us had enough and started walking back. We ended up hanging at the observation blind for a few and then strolled slowly enough that the rest of the group caught up by the time we got back to the cars.

Red tailed Pennant Carmine Skimmer

We left at this point, although some of the group apparently kept going. Back at the hotel I hopped out (a little quickly for some foreshadowing), zoned out for a few hours, then joined the Donnellys and Jerrell for dinner at Chili’s.

Saturday 7/13: Today was the indoor meeting, at the very nice McKinney Roughs center. Talks were generally good (the discussion at the end didn’t quite stay on the intended subject and went nowhere). Lunch was good, dinner was ok. The Black Witch on the wall of the center was pretty nice too.

Sunday 7/14: Second day of trips. Josh joined me with the group heading to Gonzalez for the iconic species of the meeting, Blue-faced Ringtail. After the hour’s drive, we reached the park (apparently the only public location for them in the US right now). I started to get my stuff together and discovered my net handle was now a screw-in instead of a clip. Oops. I sent a message out hoping for someone to contact Steve, then went off with a shorter net. Others had found Ringtails already and we all got good views of at least one male and female. Also in here were Eastern Ringtail, Cobra Clubtail, Russet-tipped Clubtail, and Five-striped Leaftail. I had a Diogmites robber fly pass by dragging a Powdered Dancer.

Blue faced Ringtail Russet tipped Clubtail Diogmites with snack

Having checked all around here, Josh and I headed north to Stokes Park in San Marcos. Along the way Steve called and we arranged to swap handles as soon as I got back to the hotel. That cut another stop out, but it was only for spreadwings so not a huge loss. At the park, we had plenty of Neotropical Bluets and eventually found a few Coral-fronted Threadtails (a new family for me) and some Desert Firetails. After spending some time trying for photos, we made a quick check of the Comanche Dancer and Gray-waisted Skimmer spots with success, then headed back.

Coral fronted Threadtail Neotropical Bluet Desert Firetail Gray waisted Skimmer Comanche Dancers

After trading equipment and saying goodbye, I ran to Whattaburger for lunch. Even though it was hot, I decided to head out and check another spot or two. After a quick return to the hotel (someone forgot something important in the car…), I went to Barkley Meadows. It was really, really hot but I found some cool robber flies, got good views of the Cliff Swallow colony, and a few other things. I eventually headed back then joined Josh and the Virginia crew for dinner at Neighbor’s.

Tiny Robber Cliff Swallow

Monday 7/15: I had given myself a day on either end to chase things, so had a second shot at the vireo. First though, I headed to Commons Ford Ranch, hoping to catch up with a few other birds. Didn’t get my target of Dickcissel and Rufous-crowned Sparrow but did have Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Lark Sparrow, plus Pale-faced Clubskimmer. I then went back to the observation deck, where after about 45 minutes a Black-capped Vireo flew through, stopping just long enough for a couple shots.

Fox Sqiurrel Pale faced Clubskimmer Black capped Vireo

With that success, I headed in the general direction of the airport, eventually deciding to check out Webberville Park. Too hot, but along the river I had a perched clubskimmer, some kind of underwing moth, and lots of Dusky-blue Groundstreaks. I gave the other section of the park a quick check but only had Russet-tipped Clubtails.

Underwing Scissor tail

After a bit of driving around, I settled on a Super 8. After a shower, I decided to zip into downtown Austin for the bat show. Took some time to find parking, then I grabbed a burger at the Burger Bar. The bats were disappointed, whether season, moon phase, or what, there were only a few hundred flying around when I gave up at 9:15, when it was almost too dark and I still had to pack. The ride back was a bit of an adventure with construction making for an extended loop but I got back and got everything together fairly quickly.

Tuesday 7/16: Returned the car, got on the plane, and was back in Boston early afternoon.

WIR 7/24-7/30

Wednesday 7/24: Started for BBN but noticed a tire was flat. Poked around the edge of the field at Lot 1 until AAA arrived, nothing of note.

Thursday 7/25: Water level was way up at BBN so minimal shorebirds, not too much else. Saw Nick Tepper’s Striped Saddlebags report from the office and somehow that was only a couple mile detour on the way to the DSA meeting, so gave it 40 minutes or so. No saddlebags but lots of common odes and birds. Continued from there to Vermont.

Friday 7/26-Sunday 7/28: DSA NE

Monday 7/29: Usual at Heard Farm.

Tuesday 7/30: Early check of BBN had about the same.

WIR 7/17-7/22

Wednesday 7/17: Took a short walk along Pelham Island Rd without much of interest. Had time after to scan Heard Pond. Quiet until a loon dropped in right through my field of view.

Thursday 7/18: Couple Least Sandpipers at BBN.

Friday 7/19: Nothing of note at Great Meadows.

Saturday 7/20: Went to Squantum before the heat got too bad. Got the 3 expected birds I needed for Norfolk (ibis, BC Night-Heron, Saltmarsh Sparrow) and a decent number of peeps plus a few dowitchers. Lots of Seaside Dragonlets too. Continued to Nut Island, where the breeze was nice but there weren’t enough birds to make it worth staying. Stopped at the res on the way home. Alan had found good dragonflies in the pond by Healthpoint, so I spent a few minutes there and had 2-3 Comet Darners and a Carolina Saddlebags.

Sunday 7/21: Did a short loop at BBN early. Ended up scoping the parkway marsh for a good hour, 40ish species almost all from the one spot including Least, Solitary, and Spotted Sandpipers, 13+ Killdeer, and waxwings flying all over. Did a short drive around elsewhere after, only thing of note was a loon on Flint’s.

Monday 7/22: Dunback had a woodcock, an Indigo Bunting, and hundreds of robins.

Tuesday 7/23: Busy getting ready for the next DSA trip but stopped at the res on the way home to see nothing.

WsIR 7/3-7/16

Wednesday 7/3: Kaveski/Meriam’s. Fairly quiet in the initial loop, but Pileated flew down Shadyside as I was walking back, then an American Bittern (commute #224) went over.

Thursday 7/4: Long walk around BBN had the expected stuff but nothing beyond that. FOY Amberwings at least.

Friday 7/5: Didn’t hear the Chestnut-sided at Hobbs Brook although I didn’t climb through the thorns to get closer either. Checked Winter Pond after but didn’t find the Ruddy. Stopped at Sandy Beach on the way back. Was happy with the Orchard Oriole but scanning the Upper Lake and noticed a loon-like shape. Ran back for the scope and found it had a red throat! Second inland July record that I can find. Evening trip to Cambridge Res failed to confirm Neurocordulia but I got a patch tick woodcock.

Saturday 7/6: Walden BioBlitz. Scanned Hobbs Brook and Flint’s briefly (waiting on some opinions of exuviae but otherwise not much) then ended up joining Simon’s group at Pine Hill. Brutally hot but we had most of what was expected. After lunch, Jay and I tried the sand pits. Didn’t have much luck with tiger beetles but I had a couple Mocha Emeralds and a Swift River Cruiser and Jay caught an Edward’s Hairstreak.

Sunday 7/7: Fawn Lake had the usual odes (FOY Autumn Meadowhawk). Ode walk at the Cranberry Bog had nothing out of the ordinary.

Monday 7/8: Mostly prepping for travel, but did take a quick run along the Charles in Watertown, nothing of note.

Tuesday 7/9: Prospect Hill, was able to confirm the Red-bellied Tiger Beetles are still there, nothing much else.

Wednesday 7/10 – Tuesday 7/16: DSA meeting in Austin, report later.

WIR 6/26-7/2

Wednesday 6/26: Dunback had the usual.

Thursday 6/27: More of less the usual at Heard Farm, did finally get hummingbird for the SRV commute list.

Friday 6/28: Probable Purple Finch at Nobscot but not too much else.

Saturday 6/29: Canceled my Ashby walk because of thunderstorms, although it probably would have been ok by the time we got out there. Did a quick West Meadow and duck pond loop without much of interest, 2 perched Green Herons at the meadow the most interesting.

Sunday 6/30: Checked the Stony Brook Reservation in West Roxbury for a couple holes in my Suffolk list. Got the RE Vireo and GC Flycatcher very easily and then also found 3 new odes for Suffolk: Lilypad Forktail, Slender Bluet, and Unicorn Clubtail. Thought about looking for more odes at Millennium but it was clouding over so I ran to Draw Seven for a few and then gave up.

Monday 7/1: Made my annual Hamlen Reservation visit. One waterthrush and an eagle about it.

Tuesday 7/2: Finally got a commute Least Bittern at Great Meadows, plus Pileated.

WIR 6/19-6/25

Wednesday 6/19: Finally got the commute SRV Indigo Bunting at Sedge Meadow but not much else.

Thursday 6/20: Was pretty quiet at Forest Grove but as I was getting back to the car, lots of birds (Wood Thrush, nuthatch, couple chickadees, several robins, grackles, etc) were going nuts. Finally tracked it down to be a screech-owl, a nice overdue patch bird.


Friday 6/21: Ended up checking Knox Trail (no Ring-neck) and School St (Savannah I needed for second half of June).

Saturday 6/22: Pileated and not too much else at Prospect Hill. Got Jeff’s Ruddy at Winter Pond then a quick check of the Mystic Lakes and Meadowbrook without much.

Sunday 6/23: Did a speculative dragonfly trip combined with some town listing. Started in Dracut, where I had about 20 species (increasing that list from 1). Continued to the Lowell-Tyngsborough-Dracut State Forest, which was pretty nice. Nothing too exciting but most of the expected birds beyond thrushes and a few odes. Then did the speculative search for Cobra Clubtails along the Merrimack. No luck with that but a Common Buckeye at Sheehy Park and a few other things elsewhere. Worked towards Tyngsborough but didn’t find any river access there, so took 4 south. Had a Broad-wing fly over the Billerica Great Meadows unit, then stopped at Fawn Lake. Lots of bluets but the big bug was a bright red darner that buzzed across the pond then went up and out. Had to be a Comet but I really wish I had longer views.

Monday 6/24: BBN had a BB Cuckoo and a Red-shoulder plus FOY meadowhawk and spinylegs.

Tuesday 6/25: Nothing too exciting at Meriam’s Corner. Spotted Sandpiper, Great Crested Flycatcher, and Scarlet Tanager were new for me there but fully expected.

WIR 6/12-6/18

Wednesday 6/12: Rock Meadow survey about the same, then did the makeup one at Habitat which was pretty quiet.

Thursday 6/13: Too rainy, res, Flint’s, Nine Acre, Heard, and Pelham Island Road all had about nothing.

Friday 6/14: Osprey was the most exciting thing at Great Meadows.

Saturday 6/15: Started at Horn Pond but there was something going on and no easy parking, so went to Mary Cummings instead. Mostly looked at flower flies, had a few interesting ones. Continued to Horn Pond Mountain which was quiet. Did have both cloudywings but that was about it. Actually, I take that back as I just identified the mating robber flies that I had assumed were Laphria as Echthodopa formosa. Not fully sure of their status in MA, but no records on bugguide or iNaturalist for Mass (it is on Herschel Raney’s list which is how I got the ID). Gave the Peregrines a quick look without success, although I found out later I just wasn’t looking hard enough.


Sunday 6/16: Chased the Tropical Kingbird at Daniel Webster. Scissor-tailed had moved on and between allergies and rain, didn’t do much else.

Monday 6/17: Usual at Lot 1 and West Meadow, FOY Slender Spreadwing the most interesting.

Tuesday 6/18: Nothing much at Great Meadows.

WIR 6/5-6/11

Wednesday 6/5: Rock Meadow survey was quite birdy. Flyover loon and Red-shoulder were the most interesting, although the number of Great Blues has me wondering about a local rookery. Stopped at Pelham Island Rd on the way to work and heard YT Vireo finally.

Thursday 6/6: Dunback was fairly quiet. Alder would have been the highlight but a Great Egret flying over was my first in June (and probably the first egret for Dunback).

Friday 6/7: Checked BBN hoping the egret had put down. No luck with that but 40 other species including a few redstarts and Indigo Buntings. Also another Swamp Darner and a Tawny-edged Skipper.

Saturday 6/8: Started at Hobbs Brook. Chestnut-sided was still singing, not a ton else. Checked Gower’s Swamp in Concord next. Looked interesting even if the bog is hard to see. Joined the walk at the Cranberry Bog. Eastern Red Damsel the best, but 25ish species.

Sunday 6/9: Minuteman survey, nothing exciting. Checked October Farm without much after, then Farm Meadow. Spatterdock Darner there was nice, not a whole lot else.

Monday 6/10: Ended up at Round Hill. Got the Veery I wanted but not a ton else other than hundreds of Blue Dashers.

Tuesday 6/11: Rock Meadow survey abandoned after about 3 minutes as it was pouring. Gave Hardy a quick check, decided traffic was too bad for the res, so buzzed Nine Acre and Heard, nothing worth mentioning.