WsIR 3/7-3/20

Wednesday 3/7: Merlin was eating something in the same tree at Forest Grove, nothing much else.

Thursday 3/8: Home from the storm. Took a late afternoon walk over to Hardy Pond and had a Great Cormorant.

Friday 3/9: Tried to get the cormorant for the commute year list. No luck but 3 Wood Ducks. Continued to the res where there was another Great so got it anyway. Then got stuck in a maze of roads blocked for downed trees and eventually gave up and backtracked to 128 and straight to work.

Saturday 3/10: Started at Mill Pond in Burlington hoping for a few of the waterfowl that I still need there. Total waterfowl: 8 mallard, 2 Canada Goose. Not much else either. Continued north a bit, eventually ending up at Lake Quannapowitt. Relocated the Red-necked Grebe, couldn’t identify a second grebe, had a Turkey Vulture and 3 Killdeer. Circling around to the other side for the second grebe (never did get a scope view), I found 2 Green-winged Teal. Then drove around a bit more without anything worth noting.

Sunday 3/11: Birder’s Meeting most of the day. Stopped at Carson Beach (Brant and a Merlin) and Castle Island (Purple Sandpiper finally for Suffolk, 200ish Brant). Buzzed a bit of the river (no birds) and the res (a few Ring-necks and Common Mergs).

Monday 3/12: BBN had mostly the usual but a woodcock ran around almost in the open (and more or less posed).

Tuesday 3/13: Tree Sparrow in the yard.

Wednesday 3/14: House/computer issues

Thursday 3/15: Nothing on the riverwalk. Traffic was bad on the way home so cut around the Cambridge Res and was rather surprised by 2 Horned Grebes.

Friday 3/16: Too windy at Great Meadows, did get the screech-owl, surprisingly a new commute bird (215).

Saturday 3/17: Still too windy. Got the Cackling Goose at Nine Acre, Great Cormorants at Spy Pond, and the Goldeneye x Hooded Merganser found by the Swains at Flint’s.

Sunday 3/18: Fox Sparrow at Cutler Lake, nothing at Nahanton, Canvasback, Red-necked Grebe, DC Cormorant at Great Pond.

Monday 3/19: Nothing at Forest Grove.

Tuesday 3/20: Oil change so only a brief check of Norumbega (nothing). Res on the way home had a ton of Common Mergansers but that was about it.

WIR 2/28-3/6

Wednesday 2/28: Usual at College Pond, although Hooded Mergansers were apparently a first for the site.

Thursday 3/1: Got the WF Goose for the commute list, then had local FOY Turkey Vulture, along with a Rusty Blakbird and Fox Sparrow at BBN.

Friday 3/2: Rain was way too heavy, but cruised through Nine Acre. No Snow Goose, did get a few GW Teal and some waxwings.

Saturday 3/3: Figured there had to be a Dovekie around somewhere. Not on Cambridge Res (eagle and a few goldeneye), Draw Seven (two Common Loons), the Mystic Lakes (1 RT Loon, 3 RB Mergs, 1 Great Cormorant), Sandy Beach, Winter Pond (20 Ring-necks), Horn Pond (1 coot), Arlington Res, Spy Pond (2 eagles), Memorial Drive, Fresh Pond, or the Beaver Brook Ponds.

Sunday 3/4: More or less the same at the res. The Snow Geese were nice and close at Nine Acre. Decided to continue west on 117 and ended up at Bolton Flats. Bit too flooded but decent duck numbers and thousands of blackbirds. Working back, stopped at Delaney WMA where the jays picked out a Barred Owl, then Steele Farm in Boxborough which was fairly quiet. Pintails were flying around at School St, nothing much at Hobbs Brook.

Monday 3/5: Very little at Dunback.

Tuesday 3/6: Finally got a raven in Lincoln, more of the usual at Lindentree. Had enough time to cruise through Nine Acre and add the Snow Geese to the commute list.

WIR 2/21-2/27

Wednesday 2/21: Looked for the goose again, nothing at all on the golf course. A few Canadas at the duck ponds but not much else. Looped Rock Meadow, normal early spring stuff. Came home back roads with the windows rolled down and had a peenting woodcock in Lincoln.

Thursday 2/22: Surprisingly quiet at Purgatory and Forest Grove. Merlin perched over the road, a few blackbirds, a Wood Duck, and that was about it.

Friday 2/23: Best of the ducks at Great Meadows were a few wigeon, a goldeneye, and 25ish Ring-necks, not much in other birds.

Saturday 2/24: Finally got a Cape Ann trip in. Mostly quiet at Andrew’s Point. Was told about a Thick-billed Murre at the Granite Pier, so headed that way. Murre was in close when I arrived, but I got distracted by a Northern Common Eider next to it. Jodrey had nothing (but it was nice to get some close eider to compare). Eastern Point had another murre, several guillemots, an Iceland Gull, and more of the same ducks. Didn’t really stop at Niles other than to pick up scaup. Nothing at the Elks Club, Glaucous on another pass of Jodrey, then Barrow’s Goldeneye but no King Eider at Plum Cove.

Common Eider

Sunday 2/25: Worked my way west to start. Bufflehead and Common Mergansers at Flint’s, cowbirds and not much else exciting at Nine Acre. The White-fronted Geese were at School St (although one immediately disappeared) along with a few pintail. Arlington Res had a ton of gulls, none interesting after a few minutes of excitement. Two Great Cormorants, 425+ Common Mergansers, a couple Red-breated, and one of the Red-throated Loons at the Mystic Lakes. About 25 Ring-necks on the res (finally).

Monday 2/26: Thought Heard Farm was quiet, but a Fox Sparrow started singing as I was leaving. Bunch of Ring-necks on the pond too.

Tuesday 2/27: More in Wayland. Not much at the old Rt. 27 bridge. Had 15 minutes or so to check Pelham Island Rd and got 25 species including the Rusty I was looking for.

WIR 2/14-2/20

Wednesday 2/14: Nothing much at Kaveski.

Thursday 2/15: Fogged in at Farm Pond.

Friday 2/16: Fogged in at Forest Grove.

Saturday 2/17: Started with a quick check of the duck ponds (nothing), and then the Belmont Country Club course. After some wandering along Concord Ave, got the White-fronted Goose that had been at Arlington Res yesterday (patch #172). After that, moved on to trying various things for Jeremiah’s Slaty-backed. Not much along the Charles, and 3 hours freezing at Fresh Pond. Did get an Iceland Gull off Memorial Drive late in the day.

Sunday 2/18: Nice adult Iceland at the UMass boat ramp. Ravens at Fresh Pond (but next to no gulls again), 3 RT Loons on Memorial Drive plus about 20 RB Mergansers and a Peregrine (one in Chelmsford on the way to Lowell too).

Monday 2/19: Inland Norfolk county for a change. Needham Transfer Station eventually had an Iceland Gull fly through, plus 2 Turkey Vultures, some cowbirds, and a ton of both crows. Cutler Lake had more uninteresting gulls plus Common Mergansers. Couple stops along the Charles on the way home didn’t have much and I wasn’t in the mood to drive to Gloucester.

Tuesday 2/20: Couldn’t find the White-front at Arlington Res (or the Killdeer, or any kinglets) but did have a Peregrine.

WsIR 1/24-2/13

Computer died, took some time to replace and get easy access to things again…

Wednesday 1/24: Rock Meadow had a pair of ravens and a Rusty or two. Quick stop at the duck ponds had a very surprising Common Goldeneye, patch #171.

Thursday 1/25: Nothing at College Pond.

Friday 1/26: Huge flock of goldfinches and not much else at Lindentree.

Saturday 1/27: Very windy Cape trip. Got 5 Barnstable birds, nothing terribly exciting before bailing. Stopped at TIdmarsh in Plymouth on the way home and got a few more Plymouth birds too.

Sunday 1/28: Grackles at Elm Brook and Hanscom. Tree Sparrow at Hansom was Bedford #100. Same at Mystic Lakes, Earhart. Horned Grebe at Draw Seven was a nice surprise.

Monday 1/29: Nothing exciting at Heard Farm.

Tuesday 1/30: Quiet on the riverwalk, 27 waxwings at the office.

Wednesday 1/31: Nothing at Round Hill.

Thursday 2/1: Great Black-backed Gull at BBN, up to 50 waxwings at the office.

Friday 2/2: Eagle over the yard

Saturday 2/3: 3 Iceland Gulls at the UMass Lowell boat ramp, lots of goldeneye elsewhere on the river. School St had 40 larks.

Sunday 2/4: Went to Draw Seven, where Julie told me about a Snowy across the way. Worked over there, watched it fly back to Sylvester Baxter. Usual stuff otherwise, got the owl for 3 towns. Continued to Winthrop Beach (not much), and Mills Ave (another Snowy).

Monday 2/5: Only 2 Long-ears at Dunback.

Tuesday 2/6: Calling Great Horned Owls at Lot 1.

Wednesday 2/7: Merlin on the riverwalk.

Thursday 2/8: Larks again at School St but next to nothing else.

Friday 2/9: Usual at Forest Grove.

Saturday 2/10: Did a Suffolk/Norfolk trip. Snowy at Castle Island plus a raven. Merlin, Peregrines, and a few other things at Squantum and Wollaston.

Sunday 2/11: Started heading east but ducks on the field at Spy Pond said School St might be an interesting option in the rain. That was a good idea with 5 pintails.

Monday 2/12: 13 Red-wings at BBN.

Tuesday 2/13: Thought I was doing well with a harrier at Heard Pond, then had Fish Crow, Pileated, and Rough-legged Hawk, all new for Wayland.

WIR 1/17-1/23

Wednesday 1/17: Too snowy

Thursday 1/18: Usual on the riverwalk.

Friday 1/19: Creeper (believe that’s #50 for the commute this year) about it at BBN.

Saturday 1/20: Did some local work. Quiet at Mary Cummings but an eagle was distantly visible as I was reaching the car. Mostly the usual at Horn Pond, except for 4 Fish Crows flying over. Another eagle at Sandy Beach, then 2 more at the boat club. South end of the lakes had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a raven. Spy Pond was frozen but presumably the same raven flew by.

Sunday 1/21: More local stuff. Nothing exciting at Blair Pond. GW Teal and little else at Alewife. Yet another eagle east of Watertown Square, a raven west of the square along with 4 Wood Ducks, then another eagle at Forest Grove. Next to nothing at Moody St.

Monday 1/22: Looped Nine Acre and Pelham Island Rd without anything (did finally get some turkeys on the way).

Tuesday 1/23: 2 coots, 1 teal, a couple black ducks, and no pintail at Hager.

WIR 1/10-1/16

Wednesday 1/10: Couple Red-wings and an eagle at Heard Farms.

Thursday 1/11: Nothing exciting at Meriam’s.

Friday 1/12: GW Teal and a coot at Hager but no pintail or Gadwall.

Saturday 1/13: Got nice earlier than expected, so decided to finally head west. Stopped at School St for a big flock of Mallards, geese, and gulls, then ran into a rainstorm further out Rt. 2. Quick stop in Gardner for a pintail, then up to Watatic. Two(!) flying squirrels at night.

Sunday 1/14: Started at Draw Seven, which had 3 Common Loons and a Red-throated. Nothing much in a quick scan at Sylvester Baxter, and nothing at Earhart. However, driving behind the shopping center, I came across a Red-shouldered Hawk. Continued to Castle Island where I couldn’t find any Purple Sandpipers or scaup (or Snow Buntings). Saw the Ross’s was near a parking area on the way by, so pulled in and ended up talking to Jim for a few minutes, picking up Iceland Gull and Horned Grebe in the process. Drove around Squantum and Quincy a bit without finding much.

Monday 1/15: Swung towards Lowell but the gulls weren’t on show and I wasn’t up for walking along the river. Got a Glaucous in a parking lot in Tewksbury, then walked around Hanscom and saw nothing.

Tuesday 1/16: 2 Long-ears and a sharpie at Dunback but no luck with the Rough-legs.

WIR 1/3-1/9

Wednesday 1/3: Dunback had the Rough-legs (commute #212), a grackle, but the Long-ears were hidden.

Thursday 1/4: Snow

Friday 1/5: Snow but first Cooper’s in the yard for awhile.

Saturday 1/6: Cold, Red-belly in the yard.

Sunday 1/7: Didn’t warm up fast enough but did an hour’s drive midday (Res, Hobbs Brook, out 2A to Meriam’s and up Virginia Rd, then over to Hardy Pond). Combined total: 1 red-tail, 3 Ring-billed Gull, 3 Rock Pigeon, 2 Blue Jay, 1 junco.

Monday 1/8: River walk was rough walking and frozen from Shaw’s to the ball field, but 31 species including the regular ducks, 2-3 Cooper’s, and 2 wigeon.

Tuesday 1/9: Merlin at BBN, waxwings getting off the Pike.

YIR 2017

January: Fairly quiet month, Brewer’s Duck at Salisbury, White-winged Doves in the Fenway, and that was about it.

February: Snowy month, a commuting milestone and the Redhead moving to the Charles plus Barrow’s Goldeneye on Deer Island

March: Smith’s Longspur was the only lifer of the year. Lots of missing Ross’s Goose, did get a Glaucous Gull as some compensation.

April: Caught up with the Eurasian Wigeon in Marlboro on the third attempt. Got my only new Great Meadows bird for the year with a turkey. A Bristol county trip built that list a bit, as did a couple trips to the airport in NH. A good bunch of early migrants ended the month plus first insects of the year.

May: Orchard Oriole was a yard bird, Prairie Warbler was a Charles bird, a bunch of Suffolk birds, Prothonotary at Fresh Pond, got to 100 in Burlington, and was honestly a fairly slow migration. Also first central MA bug trip of the year was fairly good. Ended the month with a Hooded Warbler at Hobbs Brook (plus 3 other new birds for the res).

June: Found another Prothonotary, went out to Worcester where we missed the target dragonfly but got an Olive-sided, then went to the DSA meeting which I haven’t written up yet but was fairly good. On return, got Winchester to 100, a late Black-and-white at BBN, and Norm’s Grasshopper Sparrow in the Henslow field (which I probably had and didn’t pay attention to at the end of May). Finished the month with a central MA swing and filled some holes in my county ode list.

July: Added Slender Bluet to my county ode list, a first Squantum run, the usual on the Concord butterfly count, then the NE DSA meeting, which had some nice northern stuff. Finished the month by filling some holes in my Suffolk and Norfolk lists.

August: Missed a Suffolk Sora but had a few other things, then explored Ashby, had a trickle of fall migrants, a Great Egret at BBN, and a quick trip to Plum midmonth had a Black Tern. Ended with a Ruffed Grouse in Townsend, then Caspian Tern and Wilson’s Phalarope in Squantum.

September: Started getting decent numbers of fall migrants (for a couple days at least). Lousy weather for the annual Berkshire trip but got a Cape May and a few others plus made a brief Connecticut trip that added a bunch. Also filled a bunch more Suffolk (and Norfolk) gaps. Twelve(!) Red-necked Grebes at the res on the 23rd were on of the year’s highlights.

October: Grasshopper Sparrow at Rock Meadow, a Plymouth run in poor weather, and then Brant at Farm Pond. A Worcester county run was mostly bust, but more Caspian Terns in Squantum plus a Vesper Sparrow at Great Pond. Finished the month with Winter Wren finally at the res and a late Short-billed Dowitcher and gannets in Winthrop.

November: Tried some late hawkwatching but didn’t get any of the unlikely targets. Got in on the YB Cuckoo influx with one at BBN and the  Dunlin influx (but in Worcester county). Veteran’s Day weekend was rather crazy with Tundra Swan and Hammond’s Flycatcher major highlights and then a Snow Bunting on patch. The BT Gray on Thanksgiving was a county bird. Townsend’s Solitaire and some other stuff in a Bristol county run, then owls all over the place locally before missing an Ash-throated.

December: Second Hammond’s of the year (and my 4th in MA), then a few more Suffolk birds. CBC scouting turned up a Chat and a Long-eared Owl. Chat cooperated on the count, but had to make do with a Barred instead (although up to 5 Long-ears have been seen since). Rough-legs at Dunback rounded out the year nicely.

New birds: Smith’s Longspur

New MA birds: Smith’s Longspur

New Middlesex birds: Tundra Swan, Black-throated Gray Warbler

New Waltham birds: Yellow-breasted Chat

New odes: Eastern Ringtail and Cobra Clubtail in VA, Crimson-ringed Whiteface and Ringed Emerald up north. Slender Bluet and Belted Whiteface were new for MA, those plus Amber-winged Spreadwing for Middlesex.

New butterflies: Hackberry Emperor in VA, Veined/Mustard White in NH. Nothing new for state and county.

Of the multitude of goals, most were too ambitious. Did meet Norfolk to 100 and Suffolk to 175 plus got my Middlesex total town ticks to 3500 and got Burlington, Cambridge, and Winchester to 100 and the patch list to 170. Made some progress on most month lists but most of those were ambitious. Fell just short of 300 in Middlesex, a bit short in Worcester, and didn’t travel enough for the life list or chase enough for MA, although I’m not sure I could have reached my goal of 390 even if I did more chasing. Patch year lists were a bit low mostly because I spent more time working on other projects (and there were no shorebirds for the res).

That makes goals for 2018 easy though. All the month lists and bigger lists can have the same goal. Also want to start part 2 of the Middlesex town list project (getting 100 in every town, part 1 was the 17 closest), so adding to a bunch of barely visited places will be easy.

WIR 12/27-1/2

Wednesday 12/27: Went to Dunback to look for the Rough-leg that’s been around for a few days. Did find it eventually, but found a different bird first. Bluebirds at Waltham St as I drove by too.

Thursday 12/28: Much too cold but did take 10 minutes to run along the riverwalk as I happened to be passing by, usual ducks starting to come in.

Friday 12/29: Too cold.

Saturday 12/30: Did the same section of the Concord CBC, just less birds. Two Hermit Thrushes, a few waxwings, not much else. Then drove to Boston and managed to not see the Ross’s Goose (but did finally get a Merlin in Suffolk) before stopping at the river walk, which had decent numbers of ducks including a wigeon.

Sunday 12/31: Too cold.

Monday 1/1: Too cold but ventured out on the BBC walk anyway. Merlin with a lark at Salisbury was the highlight before I broke off early afternoon. This time I drove up and the Ross’s was right where it was supposed to be (not where I had been looking Saturday but I drove by the spot enough times that I think I would have noticed).

Tuesday 1/2: Probably too cold but checked a bit of the riverwalk. Usual ducks, Ring-necks building in numbers, and 2 eagles sitting above them.