Another Townbird Day

I spent most of yesterday morning exploring the Beaver Brook North reservation (former Met State property). Things got off to a good start with several Ruby-crowned Kinglets at the car and several more with a few Palm Warblers not too far away.

Reaching the path to the new boardwalk, I spent a couple minutes making sure the calling Hairy Woodpecker was actually a Hairy. Moving down the path, a Yellowthroat popped up and several Swamp Sparrows were calling. Walking across the boardwalk, sparrows flushed constantly (about 6 Swamp for 2 Song for 1 Savannah) and a few Red-winged Blackbirds popped up and down. At the far end, a big flock of Yellow-rumps were bouncing around.

Retracing my steps, I started down the path around the Avalon apartments. Partway through the wooded section, something tiny dove into some brush and made a few chup-chup calls. I never got a good view, but it was my first Winter Wren of the fall (and my earliest fall record).

The trail (still actually being built) ends at the Metropolitan Parkway South. I started back up the hill to pick up the trails on the other side. A few feet up the road I heard an odd chip and got a quick look at a Magnolia Warbler. Not a great view (mostly tail) but at least enough to ID it.

Entering the reservation again, I worked my way down into the big field (actually circled the edge and then dropped in). It was fairly quiet, but a couple sparrows popped up in a sumac. I was quite surprised when they both turned out to be Lincoln’s. Photos were taken, but one had them slightly hidden and I blew the focus on the other, so they’re not getting published. Moving past them, a Hermit Thrush popped up in the same group of plants. The vegetation got too thick beyond them, so I started back.

Entering the woods, I accidentally took the longer loop. That worked out as I found a couple Palm Warblers and were able to confirm them as my first Western (whiter ones) of the fall. The Great Horned didn’t appear to be in the usual spot although it was rather leafy still.

Passing the marsh, a couple more Swamp Sparrows popped up. The woods beyond were fairly quiet most of the way around (other than a kingfisher rattling overhead), but just before the clearing near the cemetery I started seeing lots of birds. Mostly Yellow-rumps but a Red-bellied Woodpecker was moving around in the back and I heard a few juncos. While sifting through the Yellow-rumps hoping for something better, I didn’t find the warbler I wanted but a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker passed by. That was #179 for Waltham and was a bit overdue.

Passing the cemetery added a few more Yellow-rumps and the middle area added a couple more Swamp and Song Sparrows and another Palm Warbler. Continuing on past the marsh, I did a quick count and was approaching 40 species. I figured that there would be Chipping Sparrows up ahead but wasn’t sure what else I could get.

Reaching the cleared field on the hillside, several Chipping Sparrows popped up. I gave a scan to make sure that there were no Clay-coloreds among them and found none. But a loud croak came from up above and after scanning for a few seconds, a Raven soared by! And this spot is basically on the Lexington/Belmont line, so I was able to get a new bird for both towns (with a lot of checking maps online after). It continued on and presumably passed into Waltham as well.

After that excitement, I worked up the hill and followed the parkway back to the car. On the way, the raven called again and a Palm Warbler and couple sparrows were in the brush along the way. Approaching the car, a Red-tail took off, species #41.

Not only did I have the two big townbirds, but the Savannah, Lincoln’s, Kingfisher, and Turkey Vulture were new for the property, which puts me at 110 for BBN.