WIRs 12/5-12/18

Well the hosting move took a bit longer than I had hoped. Catching up…

Wednesday 12/5: Nothing at the duck ponds.

Thursday 12/6: Nothing different at Hardy Pond, good numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches at the back side of Prospect Hill.

Friday 12/7: Paine Estate list was about the same as Prospect Hill.

Saturday 12/8: Huge flock of stuff on the Cambridge Res including 12 scaup (both species), 200 Ring-necks, 50 Ruddy, a Loon, 25 wigeon, and 20 coots. Nothing at Flint’s. Finally made the Fresh Pond run for Canvasback for the year.

Sunday 12/9: Waltham St. was quiet. Ran into Marj and Renee at Dunback where we had Barred and Great Horned Owls in the pines (plus I had a Rusty Blackbird before joining them). Went and twitched the Hammond Pond Redheads after, 5 Aythya within 24 hours. Gave the Res another look after and had a few more scaup, about the same of the rest plus a Bufflehead.

Monday 12/10: On the Charles by Purgatory Cove: 31 Coots, several Ring-necks, a few Hoodies, and then it got fogged in. Red-breasted Nuthatches in the trees and redpoll flew over. Drove around to Charlesbank where there were a few coots (and some ducks along Norumbega Rd that I didn’t stop for…)

Tuesday 12/11: Nothing much at Hardy or BBN.

Wednesday 12/12: Iceland Gull was very obvious off Cronin’s. Got about halfway down the path to Prospect St and heard and odd call. Looked up and watched a Pine Grosbeak fly over my head. Ran back and found it in one of the fruit trees, where it posed a bit.

Pine Grosbeak

Wasn’t unexpected but still a big shock and a nice bird for Waltham.

Thursday 12/13: Nothing at Hardy or Gore. Double-crested Cormorant was visible at Prospect St. as I drove by.

Friday 12/14: Decent number of Tree Sparrows at BBN and West Meadow but not much else.

Saturday 12/15: Checked Lot 1 and West Meadow in some last minute CBC scouting without much (flyover redpolls and Common Mergansers were nice). Prospect Hill was quiet in a very short check. Figured I was almost at the res, so went around. A scoter was a surprise in the middle. Female-type unfortunately, but I think I got enough to call it a White-winged.

Front spot is fairly rounded and (not visible here) the bill seemed to extend under it.


Picked up parents and we walked Moody to Prospect without much of anything. Continued up Woerd Ave where the Iceland Gull was sitting on the boat ramp.


Opposite Purgatory Cove were a few scaup, a Gadwall, and a few of the more usual stuff. We continued around to Norumbega where I easily found the Eurasian Teal John Hines had found earlier in the week (see Monday to see why I’m kicking myself).


Based on some correspondence via Massbrd, it appears to be the Newton City Hall bird (which means it moved outside the CBC circle).

Sunday 12/16: Greater Boston CBC. Started owling, first walking to Graverson, then driving to BBN (and skipping as there was a police car parked) and Paine. No response anywhere. Met the group and we were at Dunback by 7:30. No luck in the pines. We decided to check the gardens quickly but some screaming crows sent us down the back side where Eric quickly picked up the Barred Owl (I’d learn later that it was actively hunting). After enjoying that, we worked our way out. Most of the way back, someone picked up a big flock of small birds flying back and forth. I was pretty sure I saw enough of a white flash to say Snow Buntings, but we hurried to Waltham St. to be sure. A quick pass didn’t find them (and we figured 50 birds couldn’t hide so didn’t walk every bit of field), but just as we got ready to leave, they started circling again and eventually landed. Didn’t get much in photos, but I used this one to actually count them (and almost doubled the 50 I guessed with 86):

Snow Bunting

We split up and I took the Metropolitan Parkway, UMass Field Station, Paine, and Lyman Pond bit. Weather was getting a bit worse and it was pretty quiet at most of those. Only highlight (other than 4 blackbirds that got away but were probably Rusties) was a Sharp-shinned at Lyman and hearing a couple people working at the field station talk about people looking for Blue Grosbeak.

Lunch at Burger King beat Wendy’s. We headed to Moody St where it was quite nasty out and didn’t see much beyond the cormorant.


And a leucistic robin

Leucistic Robin

Went to check the boat ramp for the gull only to find a boat being launched, so on to Purgatory Cove. Lots of gulls but no Iceland and not much else (but a second DC Cormorant was on one of the docks as we drove off). Back to the river walk, starting at Elm St. where there was a Red-tail, a Great Blue, and a few Hoodies. We moved on to Shaw’s, got out to the bridge and decided not to bother. Got back to the cars and thanked everyone. A few gulls were flying over and Christine said “there’s your Iceland” (jokingly I think). And there it was. It circled a couple times and then landed on one of the light poles, so everyone got good views.

That pretty much ended the count, although I took a quick walk down Hardy Pond Rd and added a kingfisher and another heron. And a Great Horned flew in front of the car on the way to Habitat.

Monday 12/17: Raining and tired, didn’t bother going out.

Tuesday 12/18: Usual at Hardy. Tons of Hoodies in the middle of the res, nothing else good though.