WIR 9/20-9/26

Wednesday 9/20: Few warblers including a Chestnut-sided at Prospect Hill but a bit disappointing overall.

Thursday 9/21: BBN was pretty disappointing too, just first local kinglet of the fall, a handful of warblers, and the Pileated.

Friday 9/22: Tried Hanscom. Somehow it was foggy there with blue skies at home. Very few birds, parula on the hill and a very green Yellow Warbler at the Gaining Ground lot.

Saturday 9/23: Rain kept getting pushed back so made a coastal run. No luck with any passerines at Deer Island beyond an Indigo, scoter flocks about it otherwise. Yirrell was a waste of time. Took some time, but eventually tracked down the breeding-plumaged Red-throated Loon at Winthrop Beach and found that there were two. Belle Isle was pretty dead.

Sunday 9/24: Bit too nice for anything to be blown in at Great Meadows, but did have 2 yellowlegs and a pintail. Kaveski next, Osprey, pipits, Field and Lincoln’s Sparrows about it. Arlington Res was crowded with people walking, so I only did the close corner. No White-rumped or Pectoral but pretty much all the other expected shorebirds were around along with a Great Egret. On to Waltham St

Monday 9/25: Stayed in

Tuesday 9/26: Nothing at the res, although the geese may have been fresh arrivals. Arlington Res had a bunch of shorebirds including 20-25 Lesser Yellowlegs and 8+ Pectoral. Wasn’t nice for land birds and I didn’t spend much time on them.



After a pretty quiet morning Sunday, I made one last stop at the greenhouse side of the Waltham St. fields. The back corner has been good for Connecticut Warbler in the past, so I made a bit of a beeline there. Just a House Wren and a couple phoebes in the veggies. Working the back side, I saw one of the farm workers pull in. Waved hello, said hi to the dog, and worked my way to the front.

Still wasn’t seeing much of anything as I worked my way out when a hawk flew up from the ground in the plowed section. It seemed a bit odd shapewise and looked pretty dark, so I went for the camera and started firing away. It went up and circled a bit before drifting off.

Swainson s

Looked down at the photos and it was pretty clearly not something I was expecting around here. I quickly checked Sibley, the HWI app, and a few Macaulay photos and found nothing to go against Swainson’s. Still not believing, I sent a back of camera photo out (should have captioned “talk me down” instead of just “thoughts?”).

No immediate response and with the bird apparently having drifted off, I decided going home and looking at photos on screen was the best thing. Got the first confirmation back before I got to the computer and that was enough to send out the messages and emails.

Unfortunately the weather deteriorated and despite people spread out, it didn’t reappear.

WIR 9/13-9/19

Wednesday 9/13: Quiet along the river and at Cookson.

Thursday 9/14: A few warblers at Dunback including Prairie, Palm, and Canada, plus a good 100 Bobolinks.

Friday 9/15: Looked like the big flight mostly was overhead, Rock Meadow had minimal warblers (Palm, Parula, Blackpoll, couple more) and an Empid but that was about it.

Saturday 9/16: Decided to mostly ignore the storm and head west a bit. Nothing new on the res. Westborough was a bit drizzly and windy but not unbirdable. Fairly quiet though, found a few warblers which included a Bay-breasted (199 for Worcester if pheasant counts) and a Lincoln’s Sparrow plus a couple kestrels. Continued to Wachusett gate 40, where I had 3 loons and 2 cormorants. Stopped at School St. where there were 2 more kestrels. Nothing at all at Flint’s.

Sunday 9/17: Went for the annual hawkwatch trip. Nothing much at Fitchburg Res beyond a swimming deer. The hike up Watatic had a few warblers including Blackburnian and a Lincoln’s Sparrow. Several thousand Broad-wings plus a scattering of other birds made for a nice day at the peak. On the way down, I hit a nice mixed flock which included 2 Tennessee. If a 2005 pheasant is countable, that makes 200 in Worcester county! Not much on the Middlesex side, although I wasn’t working the chips much.

Monday 9/18: Too rainy, nothing at the res. Killdeer at Nine Acre, loon at Flint’s, eagle and otter at Hardy.

Tuesday 9/19: Arlington Res had a good 20 yellowlegs, 3 Palms (including a Yellow), a Sharpie going over, and a couple other warblers. Little short on time to really sort through the ducks and take a second pass at the shorebirds in better light.

WIR 9/6-9/12

Wednesday 9/6: Not quite as birdy as last week at BBN but better variety. Olive-sided was the main highlight but Lesser Yellowlegs, Blackburnian, Osprey, Barred Owl were all good too.

Thursday 9/7: 2 Black-and-whites, 3 Redstarts, RB Grosbeak, RE Vireo about it at Lone Tree Hill, nothing at Rock Meadow (just the gardens and boardwalk).

Friday 9/8: Didn’t expect much and didn’t get much at the West Meadow or Hardy Pond.

Saturday 9/9: Inland Suffolk day. Thought about Chestnut Hill but saw the Lark Sparrow report at Millennium and started there. Did a near full loop without any sparrows beyond Savannah. Not too much else either, first of fall Palm about it. Stony Brook next. The cloudy skies and tall trees made it pretty tough but eventually got a BT Green, Black-and-white, and a probable Bay-breasted. Saw that the sparrow had been refound in one of the spots I didn’t check, so I went back and got it pretty quickly and its companion Clay-colored not too much later. Added a few other things looping back around, but it was really steamy.

Sunday 9/10: Decided to try the original idea for yesterday. Started with a quick Hammond Pond stop which had the Ring-neck and a few Semipalmated Sandpipers. Chestnut Hill had a teal, 2 Ring-necks, and a few warblers. Realized I was pretty close to getting my September Suffolk list to 100, so went to Chandler Pond figuring there might be a Wood Duck or Green Heron. There were one of each plus a Familiar Bluet (county record on odonatacentral!). One away, so I checked a map and decided the community gardens along the Charles might be worth a stop. Unfortunately I found a road race, so I didn’t stop and went to Blair Pond instead. A few Semis and a Solitary there, then it started raining.

Monday 9/11: Been seeing a few reports of shorebirds at Arlington Res, so gave that a try. A bit dark when I arrived but I found a Semipalmated Plover, a Lesser Yellowlegs, and 2 Least in addition to the Solitaries and Killdeer. Also 2 wigeon and a few Green-winged Teal. Looped around to find a lot of grown up vegetation. Made my way back to the opening near Rindge and the light was much better. Picked out a Pec pretty quickly (which was nice since I thought I heard one earlier) and then a snipe.

Tuesday 9/12: Kaveski was quiet, as was Nine Acre. Had time for a half scan of the res and had the 2 grebes and a flyover Great Egret.

WIR 8/30-9/5

Wednesday 8/30: Too wet for anything in Watertown in the morning. Moving offices in the evening had 3 nighthawks over Smith St then 2 over the new building on Wyman. Trying to convince myself that counts as a commute bird but failing.

Thursday 8/31: Prospect Hill added 2 more warblers for the month (Magnolia and BT Green) plus another Tennessee, Nashville, and Canada. Not much else though.

Friday 9/1: BBN was busy but other than a gnatcatcher and redstart, it was pretty much all summering birds still. Another Pileated was nice though.

Saturday 9/2: Went crossbill hunting. Got one distant one at Fitchburg Res but nothing else there. Climbed Blood Hill (redstart, Wood Thrush on the way up) and had a couple more plus a Tennessee and BT Green. Decided to work back east, stopping at the Squannacook River WMA, which had 3 species of tiger beetles but no birds, and Rocky Hills, which had mostly mosquitos and a late Swamp Spreadwing.

Sunday 9/3: Started at Water Row. No migrants again (gnatcatcher, redstart maybe) but 3 Great Egrets flew over the river. Nothing at Heard or the res. Went to stop at Waltham St to find it more or less fenced off so went to Dunback. Since it was after 11, it was pretty quiet, but a screech-owl responded to the scold tape.

Monday 9/4: Squantum run. Basically no migrants at Squantum Point Park (hummer, 3 flyover warblers) but even though I didn’t have my muck boots I got both Rambur’s and Citrine forktails. Nickerson Rock was even quieter beyond a tern feeding frenzy (all Common). Sailor’s Home Pond and quick look at Wollaston had nothing. Two or three White-rumps about it off the hummock at the marshes.

Tuesday 9/5: Couple YT Vireos and a Lesser Yellowlegs was about it at Great Meadows. Ravens added to the office list today.

WIR 8/23-8/29

Wednesday 8/23: Nashville, Bay-breasted (finally), raven, etc at Prospect Hill.

Thursday 8/24: Two Great Egrets over Danehy but absolutely nothing on the ground. That left plenty of time for Blair Pond, which had a night-heron and Semipalmated, Least, and Solitary sandpipers. Nothing much at Hardy.

Friday 8/25: Nothing on a pond loop.

Saturday 8/26: A good-sized flock of yellowlegs was about it at Great Meadows. Ton of Killdeer but little else at Kaveski. Shade St and Hobbs Brook were quiet midday.

Sunday 8/27: Did my August on foot day. No sign of any migration, no shorebirds, no Green Heron, no sign of the Dickcissel at Rock Meadow. Did get two Pileated (one at BBN, 1 at Brookhaven) and finally had some Barn Swallows on foot. Afternoon loop of the res had a dark head causing me to jump out for the scope. Laughing Gull it was, which was quite nice. Interestingly, other than the October flock I had here, every single one I’ve seen in the county has been on August 27.

Monday 8/28: Lots of Wood Ducks but not too much else at Weston Station Pond. Fog cleared but the sun came out just as I reached the res, no obvious Laughing Gull.

Tuesday 8/29: Savannah Sparrows were a bit of a surprise at Kaveski, otherwise about the same as Saturday. Didn’t cross the stream, so had time to check Ricci too. Red-shoulder and a Field Sparrow were nice there.

WIR 8/16-8/22

Wednesday 8/16: Absolutely nothing at Cookson or east of the square.

Thursday 8/17: Canada among 6 warblers at Hanscom.

Friday 8/18: Pileated calling was it in the near dark at Great Meadows HQ. Raining too hard to check Nine Acre, lightened enough at the res to see there was a grebe but then picked up so no scoping to confirm it was just a Pied-billed.

Saturday 8/19: Sandplover! We stopped at Betty’s Neck after and had a few Saffron-winged Meadowhawks that were very flighty.

Sunday 8/20: Ended up watching the soccer so didn’t get to Nobscot until 8:30 or so. Broad-wing over was a good start. Woods were fairly quiet, Chestnut-sided on the way back got things going. And as always, I should have just stayed on the road. Cape May (long overdue SRV bird!) buzzed through, then a Canada, 6 kingbirds, and a few other things.

With Framingham at 98, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to get to 100 and also hoped for Dusky Dancer somewhere. Started at the Carol Getchell Trail, which was covered in mosquitoes. That made birding tough, nothing of note. Lots of Blue-fronted and a few Powdered Dancers but no Duskies. Farm Pond next, worked the more wooded bits first and had nothing. Went out the causeway more for odes (nothing unusual) and had a Black-and-white just before reaching it. So got 1 but could’t find a second. Tried the fishing access at Cochituate on the way home but the gate was closed.

Monday 8/21: Dunback had 3 turkeys, a Canada, a couple Redstarts, and a Great Blue hunting on the path.

Tuesday 8/22: Harrier was about it at Great Meadows.

WIR 8/9-8/15

Wednesday 8/9: Prairie, 3 Redstarts, and a Black-and-white at Dunback.

Thursday 8/10: Finally had some success with early warblers at Prospect Hill. Canada was a good start, then a Tennessee at the top of a slope, a Nashville by the tanks, and Black-and-whites all over (plus Yellow, Redstart, Ovenbird). Also a Cicada Killer landed with a cicada.

Friday 8/11: Blue-winged, Black-and-white, not much else at Lone Tree Hill. Very brief stop at the duck ponds was nothing but Chimney Swifts and waxwings.

Saturday 8/12: Started at Deer Island. Gnatcatcher, couple Yellow Warblers, and Cape May were most of the land birds, very little on the water. Winthrop Beach had lots of shorebirds but the tide was high and they were in a tough spot to scan without disturbing. Fisherman’s Bend had the usual plovers and turnstones (and heat shimmer). Quick stop at Earhart became a longer one when the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was foraging in the cove. Also a bunch of peep and one of the Snowy Egrets.

Sunday 8/13: Started at School St, but the limited shower didn’t drop much in (or it had already left), just a few Least and Solitary. Warner’s Pond next, a ton of Red-wings, an egret, and an Indigo (somehow a SRV year bird). Tried Barrett’s Mill after, which was fairly quiet beyond a ton of Bronzed Tiger Beetles. Quick checks of Elm Brook and the res had nothing.

Monday 8/14: Black-and-white, Blue-winged, and a redstart was it for warblers at BBN. Hoodie was back on the pond/marsh and a Night-Heron and otter were there on the way out.

Tuesday 8/15: Tried Great Meadows in the rain, couple sandpipers flew over (probably just Spotted), a group of Bobolink, and a ton of swallows before it starting pouring. Eagle and not much else at the res and nothing at Hardy from there.

WIR 8/2-8/8

Wednesday 8/2: No migrants at Rock Meadow or the duck ponds.

Thursday 8/3: Couple orioles at Cookson, not much along the river.

Friday 8/4: Eagle, 5 Least, a Spotted, and a Northern Waterthrush at Great Meadows.

Saturday 8/5: GH Owl and the expected stuff at Estabrook. Quiet ode walk at the Cranberry Bog, Striped Hairstreak was the most interesting thing.

Sunday 8/6: Squantum run, coyote was about it at Squantum Point Park. Virginia Rail (actually a county bird), but no unusual shorebirds and no kestrel at the marshes. Three redstarts at Nickerson Rock. Kestrel cooperated and flew over the car on the way out at least.

Monday 8/7: 2 Restart, 2 Black-and-white, another warbler that looked fairly interesting but got away at BBN.

Tuesday 8/8: Gave School St, Nine Acre, and the res a quick scan in the downpours without anything to show for it.