WIR 12/19-12/25

Wednesday 12/19: BBN had a bunch of Rusty Blackbirds (count week!) and Red-wings plus Hermit Thrush and Barred Owl.

Thursday 12/20: Did Gore. Got the redpolls (176 for the commute year list, probably the last one this year) but couldn’t get a good look at the junco flock. Not a whole lot else.

Friday 12/21: Pond loop had an eagle at Hardy and that was about it.

Saturday 12/22: Went to Torbet McDonald for the first time. Had hoped for the Nashville Warbler reported a couple days ago but no luck with that. Did have 2 redpolls, 2 grackles, and one strange Red-tail. Draw Seven was dead. Had at least 8 of the Razorbills continuing at Castle Island before it began to pour.

Sunday 12/23: Made the trip up to Maine for the Great Black Hawk finally. Nice to see, but wasn’t exactly inspiring doing nothing but sitting in a random back yard. Checked a couple coastal spots before heading home, picked up six new birds for Maine overall.

Black Hawk

Monday 12/24: Started at Hardy which had a few ducks and a different eagle. Went a bit west from there. Hop Brook was pretty dead. Got cloudy and looked like flurries, so didn’t want to walk much from there. Hager Pond had the continuing shoveler, which was somehow a year bird, and a pair of Gadwall. Fort Meadow had a few ducks. School St was just pigeons and crows. Cambridge Res had another(?) eagle and more mergansers.

Tuesday 12/25: Dunback was somewhat birdy but no grosbeaks. Did have 2 Yellow-rumps, the catbird, and a raven or two. Afternoon loop of the res had my first mockingbird of the year there and then a coyote by Potter pond.

WIR 5/23-5/29

Wednesday 5/23: Went to Dunback, pretty quiet. Missed Karsten’s Yellow-bellied and the presumed Alder was a bit too far off to be sure. Couple parula and a Magnolia were ok.

Thursday 5/24: Finally got Swainson’s Thrush on the Charles with 3 at Forest Grove plus Osprey, most of the flycatchers, etc.

Friday 5/25: YB Cuckoo the highlight at Heard Farm, otherwise pretty much summer residents.

Saturday 5/26: Did a slightly western loop. Hop Brook had the expected birds, lots of baskettails, a couple Cicindela formosa, etc. Clouded up a bit at Assabet so the odes died down but still had 12ish species. Desert had more of the same, Veery and YB Cuckoo new for Marlborough.



Sunday 5/27: BBC/MBC walk at Great Meadows wasn’t too bad considering the weather (would have been very good if the dowitchers hung around another 5 minutes). Brief view of Least Bittern, 2 calling Virginia Rails, nice scope views of most of the other ‘specialties’. Since it’s been over a year for a life and state bird, wandered to Charlton for the Trumpeter Swan. Spent about as much time waving people to the other road as I did actually looking at the bird before I headed to Wachusett Res, which had very little. Checked Heard and the res on the way home without anything and nothing on the res or Hardy in the evening.


Monday 5/28: Quick loop of the res had nothing, so headed to Great Meadows. Simon had beat me by a couple minutes. We spent about 4 hours on the platform and got a loon for our effort. Half-checked Flint’s from there, then went to Draw Seven (Common Tern plus a few expected Somerville birds), then Belle Isle (nothing exciting), Pico (Least Tern), then Winthrop Beach (100+ Least Terns), and finally Revere Beach (3 Manx Shearwater, lots of Surf Scoter).

Tuesday 5/29: BBN had the usual breeding stuff. Spotted Sandpiper was the most interesting. 



Was nice enough to hang around this year.


Wasn’t quite nice enough to pose on the ground though (brief scope view wasn’t bad, glad I lugged it).


Side note: last year was good, 6 state birds and 3 lifers by now.


Couple photos of the incredible Yellow-billed Loon from Race Point last weekend:

That's quite the bill

LoonsCenter with Common on the left, Red-throated on the right.


And a couple of the Common Gull:


Common Gull

372 and 373/556

Catching up a bit. Was hoping for 372/556 back on the 31st with the Smith’s Longspur at Bear Creek, but no bird found. Nice Short-eared and Kestrel made it worth the effort at least. With the afternoon free and halfway to the north shore, I zipped up to Gloucester. Awful sun or big crowds had me moving to Andrew’s fairly quickly. After a few minutes at the end of the driveway, I moved to the end of the road. A couple other birders were there and I overheard some muttering about puffin. A few minutes later, there was a gray-faced alcid with a bright looking bill in my scope. A bit far, took a little while to feel totally confident after the fact, but state #372. Other than one brief look a couple minutes later, it disappeared. Fortunately, the Common Murre in close at the other side was nice for all.

The following weekend was the first BBC winter pelagic. I got talked into signing up midweek and even with storms on either side, the weekend was good. The trip ran Sunday to let the seas die down and the roads to clear. Prebright and early, I drove down. After a bit of a late start (get better Ida!), we headed out on totally flat seas. It didn’t take long for lots of scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, and kittiwakes to be seen.




Razorbills started soon after.


We got further out and a few Common Murres appeared, a couple came close enough for good photos.


Along with some gannets.



We passed a trawler and got a good number of gulls including Iceland and Lesser Black-backed.

Iceland Gull

Sometime around this, what was technically bird of the day flew by: Sooty Shearwater. Distant views, but very good for the season.

Sooty Shearwater

As we were ready to head back, a shout of Fulmar went up. It took almost 15 minutes to chase down, but eventually we got excellent views (and apparently a second bird buzzed through as well). My target for the trip, and about the most overdue bird I had in the northeast (12th tubenose in state, after Barolo Shearwater, Black-capped Petrel, and a dozen White-faced Storm-Petrels among others).



We also had an interesting Iceland Gull around here, still debating a nominate.

Iceland Gull

On the way back, we made another stop for a puffin (poor views earlier), which helped me feel confident about the Andrews bird.


Back to shore, we stopped off Monomoy for a few minutes to take in the huge flocks of ducks (mostly eider) and the seals on the beach.



And back to the dock in time to drive home in the light. Great day.