Goose Hunt

Sunday afternoon, the Middlesex RBA group dinged with a picture of a Barnacle Goose at Bullough’s Pond in Newton. No way to chase it then, but I figured I could stop by on the way home Monday. It turned out the bird had been seen at the cemetery too, but disappeared shortly after.

Monday turned crappier than expected and I ended up lazing around but reports were negative anyway. I thought the Charles seemed a likely place and planned on a few stops Tuesday.

Tuesday morning, I pulled in at the Norumbega parking lot (where I actually had been when the initial message came through, unfortunately I was about to pick up a sub and didn’t have time or optics to have chased it then). Lots of geese including a few down the road but nothing exciting. Behind Charlesbank was pretty dead, so I continued to Forest Grove.

Parking at Auburndale Park, I decided to do the river side first instead of my normal loop through Flowed Meadow and along the landfill. Nothing near the playground. I went down the tiny trail that gives a view partway down. There were two Canadas sitting in the river right there and I almost didn’t, but then decided I could hide behind the big tree without bothering them too much. A quick scan didn’t show much but there were a few geese down near the dock and one looked pretty white-headed. I quickly jogged down to the pump house where the view was more open and there was the Barnacle Goose!


Messages sent, then a quick walk to make sure at least one of us was on the Waltham side. Waited around for a few in case anyone was nearby, then made a quick loop down to the cove. Came back to watch the goose drifting north but fortunately the first arrivals were there.

Hopefully it’ll be consistent in habits for a few days and let others catch up.

WIR 8/4-8/10

Wednesday 8/4: Was heading to BBN but a couple odd birds that appeared to drop towards Hardy Pond turned out to be Glossy Ibis! Drove over to the other side to try to find them with no luck, but yard #117 and Waltham #225! Green Herons and a Hooded Merganser were nice at BBN.

Thursday 8/5: Went to Nine Acre for egrets and anything the rain might have put down. Found a Night-Heron flying off and that was it. Headed for a pond loop after but it started pouring again, so didn’t see much of anything.

Friday 8/6: Osprey at Flowed Meadow was a commute patch year bird (finally). Also a Zabulon Skipper and calling Virginia Rail or two.

Saturday 8/7: Eaten alive at Belle Isle with not much to show, FOY Lesser Yellowlegs, SB Dowitcher, and Broad-winged Skipper but no phalarope. Earhart had the usual in a quick stop.

Sunday 8/8: Quick check of Arlington Res had nothing. Went with a group down to Borderland State Park for odes. Little too cloudy but did get my state Scarlet Bluet and lots of Martha’s and Banded Pennants, plus a great Syrphid, Spilomyia longicornis.

Monday 8/9: Moderate diversity at Lindentree, Green Herons and 120+ Mourning Dove the most interesting.

Tuesday 8/10: Almost nothing along the Charles in Watertown, first Spotted Sandpiper(s?) in quite some time were it.

WIR 5/26-6/1

Wednesday 5/26: Arlington Res had too much construction, so went to McClennen which had mowers. Quick run around there then had time for the res, which had a fox running along Old County.

Thursday 5/27: Got the merganser along the Charles (stay another few days), plus a redstart.

Friday 5/28: Usual stuff at Farm Meadow, Bobolinks are always enjoyable.

Saturday 5/29: Pretty nasty, but a NE wind. Swallows at the res, more swallows at Great Meadows. Decided it wasn’t too bad so walked a bit, Least BIttern flew off to the left and then a perched Purple Martin to the right!

Sunday 5/30: Earhart/Draw Seven were quiet, did eventually get one tern. Stopped at Arlington Res briefly and had a Least Sandpiper, then a ton of Chimney Swifts at Hardy Pond.

Monday 5/31: One more attempt at storm-related birds, starting at Farm Pond in Framingham. Nothing brought in, but an Orchard Oriole and a few others were new for Framingham, so over 90 there now. Heard Pond looked dead, decided to do the gardens instead of Heard Farm. Usual stuff there, but ran into Brian on the way out who tipped me off about possibly nesting crossbills nearby. No luck today, but I’ll keep an eye (did need them for the month though, so a bit disappointing). Did hear a Barred Owl and Pileated while waiting.

Tuesday 6/1: BBN, plan was to loop the woods for cuckoos. Passing the marsh, a Sora started ker-weeing, so I stopped and tried to get a  view (impossible there). While waiting, a Virginia Rail and Marsh Wren started calling too! Eventually did the loop including out to the Concord Ave marsh but nothing exciting elsewhere.

That’s patch #187 and Waltham #224.

WIR 12/16-12/22

Wednesday 12/16: Yellow-rump and a flyover redpoll were it at Dunback.

Thursday 12/17: Nice out.

Friday 12/18: Made a lunchtime run down the Charles, one Bufflehead about it. A few mergansers on Hardy.

Saturday 12/19: Semi-attempted CBC scouting. Checked whether the road at Prospect Hill was cleared, then gave the res a quick buzz. Or would have been quick had a Tundra Swan not stuck its head out. Waltham #222, res #182! Didn’t really check much beyond that.

Sunday 12/20: CBC, but with covid protocols it was easier to do solo sections. Falzone had 2 Hermit Thrushes, a Purple Finch, and a Winter Wren. Hardy was frozen, Paine reminded me why we don’t go anymore (although I did hear the geese that the eagle apparently flushed from the field station), and a few Mallards by the Y. Graverson had another Winter Wren and a few sparrows. Afternoon attempt to find some active feeders failed pretty miserably.

Monday 12/21: Gave the res a quick scan, swan on the commute list (236 overall, 189 for this year). Had enough time after for the duck ponds, one of which was somehow mostly open. Just geese and Malllards and not much in the trees.

Tuesday 12/22: Nothing particularly interesting at Forest Grove.

WIR 7/29-8/4

Wednesday 7/29: Had to stop by Habitat so walked around a bit. RB Nuthatch along the road and the goats were about it. Solitary at the duck ponds after.

Thursday 7/30: White-throat was a real surprise at Dunback, my first in July.

Friday 7/31: Nothing at Falzone, which left enough time to check Hardy (nothing) and the res (PB Grebe was back, which means 140 up for the Cambridge region pre-work list).

Saturday 8/1: Quick check of the parkway marsh at BBN had a few sandpipers. Draw Seven was quiet. Debated skipping Earhart but decided it was right there, so pulled in. Headed towards the casino side and noticed a whiter-looking gull where the mud would be if it wasn’t high tide. Worked around to get a better angle and it looked pretty good for a white-winger and Glaucous on size. Eventually flew over the dam (more or less got flight shots). Doubled back pretty quickly and got some much better views. First “inland” summer record for the state as far as I can tell (and there’s only one other nationally with a quick eyeball of the ebird map). Continued to Belle Isle, which was a waste (less so than looping Winthrop and Revere Beaches and finding no parking first).

Sunday 8/2: Finally got the central-ish MA swing in. Whitehall Res had one loon but no chicks visible. Hummingbird and eagle the other birds of note. Next was the Cedar Swamp in Holliston. Trail cleared a bit since I was last here. Too cloudy for odes unfortunately, Lilypad Forktail the most interesting (so not very). A few birds, nothing much there either. Looked for a spot in Ashland to stop but didn’t find anything worthwhile, so continued to Pelham Island Rd. Single Spotted and Solitary on the river was about it.

Monday 8/3: Quick check of Watertown Square was extremely quiet.

Tuesday 8/4: Regular shorebirds at BBN, nothing much else. All the Sooty Tern reports came in just as I finished work for the day so ran over to Cambridge Res. No terns but 3 yellowlegs and 3 dowitchers were nice (dowitchers especially since they were res #178 and Waltham #221).



Can’t believe I didn’t wait for better sun this morning, but they didn’t go anywhere thankfully.

Laughing Gulls

Also res #175 (surprisingly not on my expected list in hindsight), commute #226.

WIR 10/2-10/8

Wednesday 10/2: Fairly quiet at Great Meadows, wasn’t quite nice or lousy enough. Did have a close Pileated and a flyover Rusty plus a couple Bronze Coppers.

Thursday 10/3: 2 Solitary, RE Vireo, BT Green, 40+ waxwings about it at BBN.

Friday 10/4: Green Heron at Pelham Island Rd bridge, then a very early Common Merganser at Heard Farm. Thought that would be a good day, but got an interesting text at work.

Saturday 10/5: Not much at Danehy (FOF White-crown), tanager at Thorndike Field. Had been debating Oxbow and Fitch’s Bridge Rd but went to Arlington Res instead. Got the Pec plus a Gadwall and a few other things. Continued to Ricci Fields which had a coyote, a few butterflies, a couple Palms, and that was about it. Stopped at Hobbs Brook on the way home, 5 deer were trying to get through a panicking flock of ducks which included a Ring-necked and a Hooded Merganser was further out. Water level was down enough to check the other section, just Killdeer and an Osprey.

Sunday 10/6: Led the MBC walk at Waltham St. Really tough getting cooperative birds, but I think most people got on the Field Sparrow and White-crowned and eventually one of the Dickcissels. Most of us continued to Beaver Brook where the godwit was still being cooperative. It eventually flew to the other pond (crossing into Waltham airspace, #219!) and then back. I moved on to Kaveski which was pretty quiet and then the res which had an eagle and nothing else.

Monday 10/7: Vesper Sparrow at Rock Meadow, godwit became #225 on the commute list (in exactly 5 years on the job).

Tuesday 10/8: Weather cleared just enough and wind didn’t pick up any, so went to BBN. Nothing on the marsh, so I decided to run to the West Meadow. Usual stuff there. Did have 3 Chimney Swifts circle over when I got back to the car. Two Ring-necks on the res on the way home.

WIR 5/29-6/4

Wednesday 5/29: Rock Meadow survey. Alder Flycatcher or two, not a whole lot else but the weather didn’t exactly help. Stopped at Lot 1 on the way home and had a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher almost immediately. Waltham #218 and patch #179. Continued around and had an Alder and then heard two more Yellow-bellieds. Debated going back after stopping at home to change and get them for the commute, but odds should be good for one in the next couple days.

Thursday 5/30: Went to Pod Meadow in Wayland for something a bit different. Got the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher I was hoping for (commute and SRV bird!) along with a kestrel, BB Cuckoo, and late(ish) Tennessee Warbler. Didn’t enjoy the text about the turnstone at Great Meadows though (half hour to get there, an hour before work, and gas light was on…).

Friday 5/31: Meriam’s/Brook Village. A Mourning Warbler was singing as I started, whether it was the one that had been present or not I’m not sure. Not a ton else, Blue-wing and Alder Flycatcher the most interesting.

Saturday 6/1: Started at Forest Grove while waiting to see if the interesting plover at Bolton Flats turned back up. Think that’s three straight visits with a new bird for the Charles with an Olive-sided today. Continued to Winthrop Greenway, where an Alder Flycatcher was new for Suffolk. Magnolia was more interesting. Foggy at Winthrop Beach, family of Killdeer, a few plovers, a bunch of Semipalmated Sandpipers. Back to Belle Isle, a few more Semis at the Key, a Kestrel over the main area but not much else. Tern and the usual at Earhart on the way back.

Sunday 6/2: Quick run to Great Meadows had nothing of note (Least Bittern that may or may not have been survey tape). The Ring-neck was still at Knox Trail. Then out to Athol for an ode trip. Bit too cloudy, so the first couple stops weren’t exciting. Third stop (Spectacle Ponds) had Elfin Skimmers. Tom’s Swamp had a couple Ebony Boghaunters. Nothing terribly exciting among the birds or butterflies either but still a good day.

Monday 6/3: Nothing much at Wayland Community Garden.

Tuesday 6/4: Habitat survey was quiet again. Stopped at BBN on the way home, FOY Peck’s Skipper about the most exciting thing.

WIR 11/14-11/20

Wednesday 11/14: 2 Fox Sparrows, 2-3 Yellow-rumps at BBN. Also got confirmation of the grosbeaks from last Monday, Waltham #216 and BBN/RM #174!

Thursday 11/15: Yellow-rump, Palm, Gadwall at Forest Grove/Purgator. Waxwings and a teal at Norumbega.

Friday 11/16: Too snowy/rainy but lots of Ruddies at Hardy.

Saturday 11/17: Did a Boston swing (after a quick check of the res, Horned Grebe and Hooded Mergansers). Started at Deer Island. No passerines of note on the hill, nothing much on the water either. Did finally get my Suffolk Snow Buntings, unfortunately a person walking flushed them to the other side of the fence before I got up for good photos. Winthrop Greenway next. Suffolk Winter Wren plus an Orange-crown and Purple Finch. Castle Island after, the trees I liked last month weren’t as good without leaves. Did have a creeper but little else. Tried to get to Jamaica Pond but parking was a pain (coot and Ruddy while looking), so pulled in at Leverett instead (Ring-necks). Decided I really should go for the Blue-winged found this morning at Habitat and it was right there as I walked up. Flew off immediately and I couldn’t find it again in an hour’s wandering.

Sunday 11/18: Started at Alewife which was pretty quiet. Thorndike Field was also quiet but Cooper’s was responsible for some of that. Fresh Pond didn’t have much in interesting ducks but Fox and White-crowned Sparrows were nice as were 1-2 Blackpolls. Continued towards the Mystic Lakes, stopping at Blair Pond (kingfisher, heron, zero ducks) and Spy Pond (lots of cormorants still). Sandy Beach was birdy, tons of robins, juncos, jays, etc. Another Blackpoll or two plus a sapsucker as well. Pied-billed Grebe at the dam, nothing much at the lower end. Did get enough town year birds to top last year’s 17-town total of 1575. I think 1600 will be doable this year, not sure if my original goal of 1700 is truly reachable.

Monday 11/19: Nothing in the rain at Arlington Res. Snow Goose and Snow Bunting at Nine Acre.

Tuesday 11/20: Harrier over Hardy (and probably the house). Nothing but Common Mergansers at Flint’s. Geese at Nine Acre had moved to Verrill, so were somewhat scannable. Snow was still there and a nice White-fronted too.