WIR 9/4-9/10

Wednesday 9/4: Great Meadows for passerines was a waste of time.

Thursday 9/5: Not much at Heard Farm.

Friday 9/6: Decent flock of warblers got away at BBN, then not much after.

Saturday 9/7: Started with a hope for storm-related birds at Great Meadows but since the rain had stopped and it wasn’t all that windy I didn’t have high hopes. Great Egret, eagle, not a whole lot else. Continued to Hobbs Brook which had another egret and nothing else, then Arlington Res (wigeon) and Waltham St (nothing).

Sunday 9/8: Attempted a pelican chase. Went to Marblehead Neck first. Fairly decent there, 10 species of warblers and a kingbird. Went towards Salem and promptly got stuck in a road race, after 20 minutes of going nowhere I gave up. Stopped at Bare Meadow in Reading on the way home, not much.

Monday 9/9: Pretty quiet at BBN except for a Screech-Owl responding to the scold tape, site #161.

Tuesday 9/10: Went to Westborough for a change. Lots of birds although nothing exciting. Highlights were 3 singing YT Vireos, a Red-shoulder, and a thrasher.

WIR 8/28-9/3

Wednesday 8/28: Nothing unexpected at Gaining Ground/Hanscom.

Thursday 8/29: Finally got a Semipalmated Sandpiper at BBN, otherwise the same plus a fisher or mink running across the parkway. Solitary Sandpiper flew past the yard in the evening.

Friday 8/30: Wayland Community Gardens were pretty dead. Three Osprey at Heard Pond. Finally had a couple nighthawks at home.

Saturday 8/31: A short local loop had a young Field Sparrow at Waltham St and more of the same at BBN. Out to Otis where I eventually wandered off to Colebrook Lake. On the quiet side but a couple Semipalms (both plovers and sandpipers) and 3 Greater Yellowlegs plus a Canada Warbler (GB Heron and Mallard were Berkshire county birds too somehow).

Sunday 9/1: Did the walk to Upper Spectacle before heading out. May have been too early, really dark in the woods most of the way. Ten warblers including Magnolia, 2 Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, 9+ BT Blue plus a probable Red Crossbill.

Monday 9/2: Did a Squantum area run. Squaw Rock park had about 3 migrants but the Wilson’s Warbler and Yellow-billed Cuckoo were ones I needed for Norfolk and the Tennessee was nice too. Not many birds at Passanageset but I got distracted by a large number of Twelve-spotted Tiger Beetles. Back to Squantum where Commander Shea Blvd was pretty slow (one probably Saltmarsh Sparrow and one hole to step in), nothing at Orchard Beach, and just small numbers of the normal sandpipers at the marshes. Traffic wasn’t too bad, so went up to Draw Seven and Earhart on the way home, 2 ravens were the only things of note.

Tuesday 9/3: A few redstarts, a BT Green, a kingbird, and 2 Least Flycatchers at Dunback.

WIR 8/21-8/27

Wednesday 8/21: Absolutely nothing at Forest Grove. Cruised by Heard Pond on the way home in case the rain had dropped something in. Nothing there but noticed the water level was down on the river so stopped for a few seconds and had a snipe, 2 Least, and 2 Solitary before the rain picked up again.

Thursday 8/22: Lesser Yellowlegs finally at BBN, not a whole lot beyond.

Friday 8/23: Solitaries and Least at Pelham Island Rd. Should have skipped that as ran short on time at Heard Farm where there was a Lesser Yellowlegs, Canada and Black-and-white Warblers, a redstart, and a bunch of swallows.

Saturday 8/24: Thought radar looked good overnight but minimal migrants on the ground. Headed to Alewife but they’re doing work so Acorn Park and the first bit of path was inaccessible. Danehy instead had an Indigo Bunting and Least Flycatcher but little else. Thorndike Field was being mowed so nothing there. With no migrants, skipped on trying near Dilboy and went to Torbert MacDonald instead. RB Grosbeak, gnatcatcher, lots of mockingbirds, one interesting shorebird that flew around at a distance. Snowy Egret was visible in front of the casino from Draw Seven but when I went over I couldn’t find it again. Did have 25ish Semipalmated Sandpipers and a Peregrine.

Sunday 8/25: Did the long walk to the duck ponds. Started nicely with a Blue-winged and Yellow Warbler along with Great Crested Flycatcher at Falzone. Nothing else at Lot 1, nothing on the boardwalk, no different sandpipers at BBN (Pec was there yesterday), and nothing on Mackerel. Rock Meadow was quiet. Greater Yellowlegs at the duck ponds appears to be my 150th bird on foot from home (Lesser was #149 earlier). Nothing else at Rock Meadow or BBN on the way back, walked down Trapelo instead of back through the West Meadow. Redstart and 3 Green Heron fledglings at Lot 1 on the way out.

Monday 8/26: One redstart was about it at Prospect Hill.

Tuesday 8/27: More of the same at Nobscot.

WIR 8/14-8/20

Wednesday 8/14: Nothing exciting at Sudbury Great Meadows.

Thursday 8/15: Parula, 15+ Least, family of Cooper’s, and a Broad-wing at BBN.

Friday 8/16: Nothing out of the expected at Meriam’s.

Saturday 8/17: Did a coastal swing. Deer Island was more or less fogged in and didn’t have much for land birds. Lots of Black-bellied Plovers and Ruddy Turnstones at Fisherman’s Bend but not in a good spot to search through. Got the Little Blues at Belle Isle easily but had to climb the tower to find the Whimbrel (Suffolk #214). Still 2 Stilt Sandpipers (Norfolk #176) at Squantum plus a couple Pecs, 2 White-rumps, lots of the common stuff.

Sunday 8/18: Started at Earhart. No egrets today. Still minimal shorebirds, only 3 Semipalmated Sandpipers and a flyby Least. Draw Seven was quiet. Horn Pond was quiet, but while talking to Bob just before I left he picked out the coot hidden on one of the islands and then an eagle flew over. Sandy Beach was pretty quiet beyond what was probably the same eagle. Blair Pond was very quiet.

Monday 8/19: Nothing much at Dunback, probable Blue-winged the most interesting (a better view would have been nice, especially after a Lawrence’s turned up Tuesday). Hummingbird near the yard in the afternoon.

Tuesday 8/20: BT Green, 2 Redstarts, and a bunch of kingbirds at Nobscot.

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.