morning bird report

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slimetime
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Re: morning bird report

Post by slimetime »

check this guy out - back from when it was still snowy out
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foxtail_grass
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Re: morning bird report

Post by foxtail_grass »

I am immensely heartened by this channel and I'm wondering why it is not called "Bird Feed" heh heh
**✿❀ 𝔥𝔲𝔪𝔞𝔫 𝔣𝔯𝔬𝔤 𝔠𝔢𝔩𝔩𝔭𝔥𝔬𝔫𝔢 𝔠𝔥𝔞𝔯𝔪 ❀✿**
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jrisk
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Re: morning bird report

Post by jrisk »

there's an awesome website that forecasts bird migration. a lot of the spring migrants actually travel at night and the last night's forecast was projected to be really good. combined with the bad weather for this morning, that meant there was a good chance that the birds would get here and hang out for a while, even if they were planning on migrating further north.

all that to say, I found an extremely rare Worm-eating Warbler this morning!! it's just a little guy!

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they require a really specific habitat (mixed forest, dense understory, steep hills) and they're just really secretive which makes them hard to find in this area. there has never been a report of one in my city! It was in a fairly appropriate habitat so fingers-crossed that I see or hear it again!
bels wrote:what do they eat
they eat caterpillars which I guess at one point, a lesser scientist mistook for worms
Last edited by jrisk on Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rjbman
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Re: morning bird report

Post by rjbman »

an american robin has potentially chosen my balcony light as its nest

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Re: morning bird report

Post by rjbman »

da birds love my balcony

house finch

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jrisk
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Re: morning bird report

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morning bird report x trip report post:

yesterday was the Global Big Day event. Big Days are days where you try to see as many species as possible. there's a few events every year, hosted by eBird. I wasn't really interested in participating - I'm already going out pretty much every day and didn't need any additional motivation to look at some damn birds - but my friend Scott asked if I wanted to team up and I said yes.

Our two goals for the day were:
  • 100 species of birds total
  • Staying within a 10 mile radius of our respective "patches", pretty much localized around the Nashua River in Central Massachusetts.
-----

5:15AM - first stop, Heald Street Orchard in Pepperell, MA.
Travel time: 2 hours and 45 minutes - Distance: 3.2 miles
Species Count: 48

Habitat: incredibly dense and overgrown abandoned apple orchard, primo spot for migrating warblers with an adjacent field for grassland birds, like bluebirds, meadowlarks and sparrows.

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Highlights: one of our first birds of the day was a new one for me, a Blue-winged Warbler. It was a great spot to wander- there were little pockets of birds around every corner and they were all singing at the same time, often making it hard to figure out what you were actually hearing. Other birds of note: Blackpoll Warbler, Bobolink and Baltimore Oriole.

-----

8:29AM - second stop, Peter E. Bertozzi WMA in Groton, MA
Travel time: 1 hour and 40 minutes - Distance: 4 miles
Species count: 34
Grand total after: 63

Habitat: mixed forest, mostly evergreen with a fast flowing river. good spot for other warblers like Pine Warblers, Black-Throated Blue Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers and plenty of thrushes.

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Highlights: we had a few great moments of "pishing" where we mimicked a Tufted Titmouse's alarm call which drew in the nearby curious birds. We were able to grab a Magnolia Warbler, Black-and-White Warblers, a Warbling Vireo and others. We also heard Winter Wren singing their incredible song and Louisiana Waterthrushes also singing along the river bank. This is a top fly-fishing spot and all of the fisherfolk we ran into gushed about how many fish they had caught. relatively speaking, birding and fly-fishing are two very compatible activities. early-rising people, patiently and quietly waiting for something to happen.

We were on top of the world after getting the Magnolia Warbler at this spot - truly an unexpected find and a very beautiful bird. This spot has had very few checklists recorded so we weren't sure if this spot would actually pay off.

There's generally two strategies when decided where to go birding: finding an extremely well-known and well-traveled spot so you know what to expect based on historical and recent data. It's the safe option, where you're likely to be successful but usually less surprises. The other option is low or completely unreported places where you have to evaluate the habitat yourself. This option is "high-risk" but the most rewarding!

-----

10:53AM - third stop, Bolton Flats WMA in Bolton, MA
Travel time: 2 hours and 20 minutes - Distance: 0.75 miles
Species count: 41
Grand total after: 83

Habitat: vast farmland that floods every spring, adjacent to a wetlands and grasslands. just a great mix of different habitats. This spot is extremely popular and well-traveled. both Scott and I have been here at least once a week so far this spring.

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Highlights: this spot is great for shorebirds like sandpipers and waders. while we definitely got a lot of birds here that we wouldn't have been able to get really anywhere else, it wasn't very exciting birding since it was all birds that we have had often - Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper. We hoped to get a Least Sandpiper and Bobwhite that had reported earlier in the day but we had no luck.

We were starting to feel pretty tired and hungry at this point. Scott's boots got flooded so after this spot, we were both ready to take a break and get some lunch. Scott had to go get ready to lead a bird walk for a Brownie troop so we split up and I headed to one more spot before going home.

-----

1:28PM - fourth stop, Dexter Drumlin in Lancaster, MA
Travel time: 46 minutes - Distance: 1 mile
Species count: 28
Grand total after: 84

Habitat: grasslands bordered by a small wetlands/stream. it's a nice little spot consisting of mowed trails that go around and over a drumlin, a small gentle rolling hill shaped by moving glaciers.

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Highlights: I only added one new species to the list which was an Eastern Meadowlark. At this point, the Big Day started to become a mini competition between Scott and I and we were texting each other updates as we found new species.

Afterwards, I headed home and upon arrival, (as I had hoped) I had a singing Carolina Wren, Northern Mockingbird and Rock Pigeon flyovers - which brought my count up to 87 species. At home, I ate some lunch and drank a lot of water. feeling pretty frazzled, I took a nap before heading out again.

-----

5PM - fifth stop, White Pond in Leominster, MA
Travel time: 19 minutes - Distance: stationary
Species count: 10
Grand total after: 91

Habitat: small lake with one small point of access to view the water.

At this point in the day, I was starting to run out of the easy-to-get species and I knew I had to be strategic about picking spots to guarantee at least a few species. I knew I could at least get a Mute Swan at this spot and probably one new duck. I was able to find a very late-to-migrate Bufflehead, some Bank Swallows and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Not bad for a 20min stop!

After, I stopped at a few more spots that ultimately turned out to be unfruitful. I forgot I had already got a House Finch and wasted time finding one at another spot.

-----

6:20PM - 7th stop, Fitchburg Airport in Fitchburg, MA
Travel time: 10 minutes - Distance: stationary
Species count: 7
Grand total after: 92

Habitat: typical small municipal airport, wide open space with grasslands and wetlands nearby

I knew there was a few possible species for this spot. I recently had a Horned Lark here so I was hopeful it would pop up again and I thought a flyover by a Ring-billed Gull or a Peregrine Falcon could have been possible. Instead I got an unexpected Northern Harrier (appropriately named bird for an airport).

-----

After, I drove around the mall parking lot looking hard for a Ring-billed Gull but had no luck. I was pretty frustrated because I honestly thought that bird was going to be a gimmie.

At this point, I got a call from Scott - he had wrapped up his (very successful) bird walk and was ready to regroup at our final spot for the day. At this point, I was doing the math and knew that I could only guarantee 3-4 more birds at this final spot so I was feeling pretty bummed. Scott had done well in our time apart and was on track to easily hit 100+ species.

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7:00PM - 8th stop, Pine Hill Rd. Grasslands in Lancaster, MA
Travel time: 1 hour and 45 minutes - Distance: 2.5 miles
Species count: 24
Grand total after: 102

Habitat: extensive grasslands in a low area, surrounded on all sides by a ridge covered in pines.

This spot is pretty well established for three fairly unique species, specifically. I had stopped by earlier in the week so I was pretty confident we could easily get: Grasshopper Sparrow (a very shy and elusive sparrow), Vesper Sparrow (equally elusive but loud and cheery evening singer) and Eastern Whippoorwills (also elusive and hardly seen, but classic evening spring/summer song). I arrived before Scott so I headed in, desperate for any additional birds. At this time of the day, most birds besides our main three targets, were going to start disappearing into the trees to roost for the night.

I went off trail to pee behind a tree and luckily encountered a Palm Warbler perched nearby and heard an Eastern Towhee calling (93+94). Scott showed up and said he had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing near the entrance and I was annoyed that I missed it. I didn't have enough time to run back and get it though. At this point, I was pretty sure I was going to be a few birds short, however I soldiered on.

Soon, we heard the Grasshopper Sparrows singing (95). I convinced Scott to go in a little further, on a hunch that a certain spot might at least yield a grassland warbler. it sure did!! a lone Prairie Warbler (96) was perched up on a bush, it called "chip chip" a few times and flew off.

At this point, I was starting to feel like I had a chance. I realized that I forgot that we had another obvious gimmie: American Woodcock. If I got one and likely possible Great Horned Owl, I would be safe!

On our way back to the spot where we were going to settle down to listen for the remaining Vesper, Whips and Woodcocks, I spotted something moving in the brush. Bingo! two Brown Thrashers (97). At this point, I was elated and Scott was happy to find a couple First of the Year birds for his 2021 list.

As the sun set, we heard the Vesper Sparrow (98) start singing. Shortly after, the Whippoorwills (99) started hooting from the ridges and then the Woodcocks (100) started their buzzing "peenting" calls. A couple of Wood Ducks flew over which put me at a solid 101. Later, I realized we had left off White-throated Sparrows on a previous list and I finished the day at 102 species.

Since everyone was submitting their lists to eBird, there was a leaderboard for the state. Scott finished at 106 species which earned him a 3rd place overall and I got a solid 6th place. Honestly, we feel pretty good for what we accomplished. Other folks were birding in some really hot spots along the coast and it was nice to be able to keep up in our little neck of the woods.
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bels
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Re: morning bird report

Post by bels »

I saw a great tit on my walk.
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bels
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Re: morning bird report

Post by bels »

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Wading, check, water, check, big ol lanky body, check, absolutely textbook heron shit, that's how you identify a heron.
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jrisk
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Re: morning bird report

Post by jrisk »

birding's been a blur lately, been going out both before and after work almost every day. spring migration is starting to slow down but still plenty of birds to be seen.

the bluebird nestbox monitoring has been going well. I've been consistently going out once a week to check all 48 boxes. I found a dead nestling in a box that hosted the first nestlings of the season. really bummed me out. not sure what happened but it doesn't look like the nest was predated. it's possible that the adults died or abandoned the nest. there were three nestlings in the box last week so I'm hoping the other two were able to fledge the nest.

not for the faint of heart:
Spoiler:
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I cleared the box out, disposed of the nest and dead bird far away from any of the nestboxes. the box will probably get reused again before the end of nesting season. probably by tree swallows but possibly bluebirds!

there's still a few other bluebird nests that either have eggs yet to hatch or nestlings yet to fledge. The tree swallows on the other hand, have really taken over a majority of the nestboxes. The bluebirds arrived first and had first pick so while the swallows aren't the primary host species, I don't think they're impacting the success rate of the bluebirds.

tree swallows build much shorter nests than bluebirds and they love to use feathers in their nests (must be comfy and cozy). Their eggs are white instead of blue, as well.

Image

The tree swallows don't like to leave the nest while they're incubating the eggs and often stay inside when I open the boxes. Generally, the bluebirds are much more skittish and leave the box as I approach or when I gently knock on the box before opening it.
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bels
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Re: morning bird report

Post by bels »

Saw a crushed blue tit on the pavement today. Assume it flew into a car/bus. Bit rarer than the standard dead sparrows/pigeons.
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Re: morning bird report

Post by jrisk »

that's sad. there's a someone local who birds the university campus and takes a picture of every dead bird that he finds beneath the enormous reflective windows. it's very interesting as a sort of archive.
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Re: morning bird report

Post by bels »

What are you meant to do about stuff like that though? Dim the windows?
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Re: morning bird report

Post by jrisk »

for the normal consumer, you can buy sticker kits which will make the birds more likely to avoid your windows. larger scale, there's companies that make UV coated glass that provide the same result while still appearing fully clear to humans. most new buildings are being made to use it.
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Re: morning bird report

Post by jrisk »

Trip Report 2021/06/12
Southwick WMA - Hampden County

Had a pretty exciting weekend folks. On Saturday, I headed out to Western Massachusetts, about 1.5 hours away to a wildlife management area in Southwick WMA. Habitat-wise it's a former tobacco farm turned grasslands. lots of scrubby brush and pines and sandy soil. I was there to find two species that had been seen there lately, Dickcissel (i see you cmyk) and Blue Grosbeak. Both are rare species for Massachusetts and it's even rarer to find them nesting+breeding in Massachusetts.

Chasing birds by yourself can be a real struggle, especially at a wide open spot like this, where swallows are all over the place and bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks are singing non-stop. It's the opposite of relaxing, which is what I think most people think birding is like! You have to constantly change focus, listening and looking for something that sticks out. That's how I first noticed a song that sounded pretty different so I pulled out my recorder and got a good recording. However, I at least knew it wasn't the song of the two species that I was targeting and I kind of just figured it was a Bobolink singing a weird short song.

Eventually, I got eyes on a male Dickcissel and while I didn't find a Blue Grosbeak, I felt pretty accomplished at getting a new bird. After doing a few more loops around the field, I packed it up and headed to a few more spots along my way home. I got back, took a nap and had some dinner before remembering that I had recorded the Dickcissel and figured I should edit it and upload it along with my checklist. As I went through all the files, I found the mystery song and it actually had turned out pretty well but I still didn't recognize it. I uploaded it Birdnet, an AI bird song/call identification site and it spat out a strong identification of a Western Meadowlark - a bird that would be extraordinarily rare for Massachusetts, especially in this area. They're also almost completely identical visually to the Eastern Meadowlark, which are pretty common in the area.

I think a lot of older birders scoff at the latest technology for bird identification, whether it's Birdnet for sounds or Merlin for pictures. I think a lot of them see it as a crutch and just lacking when it comes to precision. And that's how it usually is when an app recommends something outlandish like this. I initially laughed it off but I went to listen to other recordings of Western Meadowlarks and it seemed to be a dead ringer. I sent it to a few friends, who ultimately sent it on to a few more experienced birders and everyone who heard it seemed to be convinced that it was likely a Western Meadowlark song.

I was and am kicking myself so hard for not looking harder for this singing bird. At this point, there's only been two officially accepted records by the Massachusetts Avian Record Committee and sadly, just a recording isn't considered enough to clinch it. I still uploaded the recording with my checklist though and I feel pretty good about considering it an official addition to my lifelist.

I think most folks are right to be a little skeptical - there's a couple other possibilities. It could be an Eastern Meadowlark that happened to learn the wrong song or even an Eastern x Western Hybrid singing the Western song. From what I've read and listened to though, an Eastern version of a Western song would still sound a little bit off. Lots of folks who've heard my recording seem to think it's legit though.

I headed back there again early Sunday morning and met up with a couple friends to try to refind it. Ended up being out there for almost 5 hours and had no luck. Hoping someone else is able to find it again to confirm it!

anyways, here's the best recording that I got:

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Re: morning bird report

Post by jrisk »

recorded another possibly rare bird this morning. i'm gonna get called a "stringer" very soon (someone who "strings" people along with almost likely fake bird reports). it's either a extremely rare Say's Phoebe or a very common Eastern Wood-Pewee.

i'll keep you all updated.
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Re: morning bird report

Post by bels »

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Yellow wagtail CONFIRMED SIGHTING.
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Re: morning bird report

Post by jrisk »

went back to investigate further after work and I found the bird. It was a fledgling (recently left the nest, still being cared for by parents) Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It's so funny that a fledgling could make a noise that sounds so much like another bird.

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little cutie.
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