WIR 8/17-8/23

Tuesday 8/17: Paine had a couple Red-breasted Nuthatches and not much else.

Wednesday 8/18: Dunback before work was pretty quiet. Two Brown Thrashers, 2 Warbling Vireos, 1 kingbird on the move, and a ton of flickers were about it. Prospect Hill was dead at lunch. Surprise yard bird at night when several Least Sandpipers flew over.

Thursday 8/19: Duck ponds had sandpipers finally: 4 Solitary (3 juv), 1 Spotted, 1 Least (juv), 1 Semipalmated (juv). Also two redstarts, assuming migrants but still wondering after the one in early July.

Friday 8/20: Cambridge Res before work had a good variety of shorebirds and two BC Night-Herons. BB North had an Indigo Bunting at lunch.

Saturday 8/21: Plum with Menotomy. Most of the usual stuff (guess I’m too late for Purple Martin and Willet this year, oops) plus a Forster’s Tern. Unfortunately no one was looking up when a Buff-breasted Sandpiper flew over our heads and miscommunication caused us to miss a Hudsonian Godwit.

Sunday 8/22: Started with a quick check of Arlington Res. Not sure how the water is so high, but 2 Spotted Sandpipers were out in the vegetation. On to Horn Pond, where there’s been a terrific shorebird show lately. Tons of Semipalmated (both plover and sandpiper) and a Snowy Egret were highlights. Beaver Brook ponds were quiet on the return. Thought it was too rainy to go out again but I made one more trip.

Monday 8/23: Rained all day so didn’t expect much. Transformer outside work caught fire and they had to cut power to fix it, so everyone was sent home at 11. We were supposed to check in around 12:30 to see if things were back but I called every few minutes and never got an answer. At 2, I decided to run over and see. No lights and no staff cars, so I headed to Hardy Pond. Almost immediately, I found a bunch of Black Terns in with the swallows. Unfortunately it was raining heavily and blowing right in from the pond so it wasn’t pleasant to view. I ran home and we walked over from the other side (so on the nonmotorized list but couldn’t get them from the house).

That was good enough, but John Hines stopped by again. This time he had a Sterna tern on the Cambridge Res and wanted some help (and a scope) to confirm it. We ran over and immediately found three. We were fairly sure they were Commons but it took quite some time to get good enough views to feel confident. Yet another county bird!

#271

After this morning’s birding, I came home, watched tennis, and then took a nap. Not too long after getting up, the doorbell rang. John Hines was passing by and figured I might want to know that he just had found a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at the Cambridge Res. After last year’s screwup, this was a very wanted bird in the county for me.

I got boots, camera, and binoculars in seconds and five minutes later we were at the res. Fortunately, the bird was right where John had left it and it stayed in the general area for the few minutes we watched. It was dark and the bird was behind vegetation, but I managed a couple passable photos of county bird #271:

Yellow-crown

Yellow-crown

Forgot to up the ISO on these but not too bad (and there was a chance it would have walked out of sight while I fiddled with the camera).

Five minutes later, we were back home ready for dinner. Hope the bird sticks around and others get to enjoy it.

WIR 7/13-7/19

Tuesday 7/13: Joined a survey at Hanscom this morning. Very cool to be able to walk around the runways. Lots of meadowlarks and Bobolinks plus up to 5 Grasshopper Sparrows and an Upland Sandpiper (finally for the state and county). No luck confirming either of those however.

Wednesday 7/14: Hardy Pond, watched a flock of red-wings on the field and pretty much ignored the pond.

Thursday 7/15: West Meadow (Met State Boardwalk). First Shadow Darner of the year but otherwise pretty quiet. Very overgrown, not coming back at lunch until that gets cleared up.

Friday 7/16: Duck Ponds. Juv Spotted Sandpiper and a kingfisher at the ponds. Bushwhacked past the fallen trees down below and heard wrens scolding something. Little more bushwhacking and I was looking at the Screech-Owl again! Definitely has a bit of down still, so combined with the week, I’m calling it confirmed. Got out of work early and ran back over with the camera:

Screech

Saturday 7/17: Great Meadows before it got too hot. Vegetation is a bit high too see easily but there were a few Least Sandpipers around. A Black-crowned Night-Heron flew over and a Solitary Sandpiper flew down the river. At the bittern bench a small heron popped up, but turned out to be a Green Heron. A Swift River Cruiser (there were several on the river earlier) came in and landed right next to the bench and allowed for some nice photos:

Cruiser

After that I stayed in and got around to a bunch of documentation that’s long overdue.

Sunday 7/18: Started at Rock Meadow. Out of my targets, only had success with Orchard Oriole (see previous post). Continued on to McLean where a Striped Hairstreak was a surprise. Finished with a quick walk along Concord Ave to check the marshes (nothing today but an early morning trip with some tapes might be an idea).

Striped

Monday 7/19: Deep in the woods at Prospect Hill, 1 deer and not much else.

And 267

Yet another tip from John Hines today and yet another county bird.

Surf!

Surf Scoters, Heard’s Pond, Wayland

And a nice flock of Rough-winged Swallows roosting along the edge:

Rough-wings

11 here, of about 35 that I saw, although John had 71 early in the morning.

334/266

Finally caught up with a Lark Sparrow in state and county, this one being found yesterday by Karsten Hartel at Danehy Park in Cambridge.

Lark Sparrow

Lark and Savannah

With a Savannah

sparROW

Row of sparrows: Chipping, Savannah, Lark, Chipping (probably want to click to enlarge this one).