27 de febrero de 2021

Rainy Day but Success

Woke to a winters mix. Waited an hour but it still was coming down with no end in sight. The goal was a long staying sage thrasher in Hatfield Mass. we reached Cow Bridge “Road” which was more a rutted snow covered farm road. Decision was made to walk. We looked at all the phots and descriptions of where the bird was and set off. About 1 mile in. Lots of cardinals singing and a mockingbird but no thrasher. Walked up and back getting wetter and more discouraged by 5he minute. Finally Pat and I split up for a final attempt. 8 continued down the road looking for the tires the bird had been photographed on. Not more than another 50 yards from where we had turned back before there were the tires and lo and behold.....the bird. Beautiful and posing well for photos. In comparin* this bird with the NH bird which was also along 5he Connecticut River, our Massachusetts bird had more rust along the flanks. The two bird theory prevailed.

We continued to drive around Hampshire county look8ng for ducks without success, but did serendipitously discover a brown creeper a county bird. We returned to ou4 motel in Keene early wet but pleased with ourselves.

Publicado el febrero 27, 2021 11:41 TARDE por mainebirder mainebirder | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Just a Teasel

Ventured across Southern Vermont, hitting Windham, Rutland and Addison counties. We must have seen 12 rough legged hawks. They are beautiful birds. Some in flight. Driving navigating birding and photography takes more brain cells than I often have. So photos had to take second place. We were so pleased to get our target birds Lapland Longspur. Beautiful. Great for scope views as they gritted along th3 road with larks and snow buntings. Tough as photographic subjects. The whole mass of birds made such tinkling sounds. The weather was in the low 30 s and comfortable with strong sun. Much more snow in the mountains than either the CT river valley or the Hudson valley. Limited melting although moving water was all at least partially open. We regretfully turned back towards Keene where we are staying due to COVID regs. Thinking we had passed up the canvasback there when we saw another reported in Bellows Falls. Had enough energy to get it along with hear the scold of the winter wren and a red bellied woodpecker. 3 Vermont birds for me, longspur, snow bunting and canvasback as well as multiple county birds in Rutland. Arrived I; Keene wi5h plans to do it again tomorrow. Plant of 5he day was teasel.

Publicado el febrero 27, 2021 01:49 MAÑANA por mainebirder mainebirder | 7 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de febrero de 2021

Working at Cross Purposes

Came to Cheshire to be centrally located to bird in New England and yet stay in an approved state. Went to the airport and spent quite a bit of time not seeing any crossbills. I just made the remark it was a nemesis bird and we decided to try one last site that a dog walker mentioned along airport road just after the entry. And there they were. At least six of them. Three beautiful males and some female/immatures. Also at least three rb nuthatches. All feeding on the ground amidst a carpet of fallen cones. Just learned that pine cones open in the sun, close in the rain, and can stay on trees for 10 years. It seems like some event, not yet sure what occurred very recently to bring a lot of cones to the ground. I learned there are male and female cones. Not sure how to tell them apart.

Also returned to the airport around 530 PM and caught a glimpse of 2 short eared owls thanks to Sam Jaffe. I had failed to pick them up with my scope. Very pale. Beautiful. Two nh birds today

Publicado el febrero 26, 2021 01:58 MAÑANA por mainebirder mainebirder | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de febrero de 2021

day 24. Spring in February Willow or Won't I?

1.1 miles. Smith Farm to Wynn Road and return. Beautiful High 30s, windless full sun. Titmouse, WB Nuthatches signing. House Finch outdoing them all. Prolonged song. Small patches of ground bare. Watercourses frozen. Staghorn Sumac still in good supply. Fruit depleted.

I learned that weeping willow is really a hybrid. That our native willow is black willow, and that I can't identify any of them yet. Being an abject beginner again is really disconcerting. it will come. The winter feeding flocks seem to be breaking up a bit. Found each of the species I noted today as singles except for the crows. A couple of nice photo ops.

Publicado el febrero 21, 2021 11:16 TARDE por mainebirder mainebirder | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Day 23 An Overdue County Bird and Some Shovelers

Snow overnight, but still only about 4 inches on the ground, 25. Distance .5 Initial plan was to got to Peaks for the Screech owl, but the wind deterred us. Dipped on the hoary at Back Cove when pat and I met around 1130. No one else seems to have found it either though there was a report of redpolls too quick to pick through about an hour before we arrived. I may stop by again tomorrow. Then the hybrid black headed ring billed gull Derek saw at Falmouth Town landing. Too many dogs and too few gulls. Up to the Royal River. no Barrows but nice looks at Commons. Could see the drakes' green heads. At grist Mill park I documented what I think was a red but could be a sugar maple. Trees in winter is a tough way to start, but I suspect shape is as important in trees as it is in ducks. Then broke through at the Muddy Rudder with a king fisher and three red tails, and then the shovelers obliged at Porters Landing. Nice opportunity to study the two drakes and comb the flock for a hen which we did not find. Fairly close up RB Mergs tempted me to try with my camera but the day was dark. Only fair.

On to Androscoggin and Sagadahoc corner of the world. Still fruit at the Topsham Fair Mall, but only a few house finches. Robins were present in many areas in flocks of 10 to 20. Finally a drive up Carolina Wren At Weston Barker's for my only tick today.

Shovelers are considered a documentable bird in Maine in December, january and February, But I saw one at Moody Marsh in mid December for the Christmas count (the first for the count), and then these two mid February. i had seen one at Stroudwater on a Christmas count a number of years ago. This pair is the birds in the last 30 days, although there are 2 or 3 individuals in Rockingham.

There is a scattering in the Boston area and a few more on the CT, RI coast., but the population gets serious on Long Island and the NY metro area. Beautiful birds wherever they decide to winter.

Publicado el febrero 21, 2021 02:42 MAÑANA por mainebirder mainebirder | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de febrero de 2021

Day 22 Mole Skin

snowing lightly, 28, 1.3 miles
I remember when Twin Ponds was reached by a trail. Now an upscale neighborhood. As winter progresses, birds are being driven to feeder, and available food lessens. Found one stalk of Great Mullein, and found it an interesting study. A plant that grows in waste places where not much else is growing. it does not tolerate shade, but does tolerate poor soil, acidic or basic. "Mullein" itself derives from the French word for "soft" While it can also grow in areas where some vegetation already exists, growth of the rosettes on bare soil is four to seven times more rapid.[10]The seeds maintain their germinative powers for decades, up to a hundred years, according to some studies.[56] Because of this, and because the plant is an extremely prolific seed bearer (each plant produces hundreds of capsules, each containing up to 700+ seeds,[19] with a total up to 180,000[9][10] or 240,000[12] seeds), it remains in the soil seed bank for extended periods of time, and can sprout from apparently bare ground,[10] or shortly after forest fires long after previous plants have died.[12] Its population pattern typically consists of an ephemeral adult population followed by a long period of dormancy as seeds.[The seeds are generally too small for birds to feed on,[11] although the American goldfinch has been reported to consume them.[58] Other bird species have been reported to consume the leaves (Hawaiian goose)[59] or flowers (palila),[60] or to use the plant as a source when foraging for insects (white-headed woodpecker).[61] Additionally, deer and elk eat the leaves.

Thanks to Wikipedia

Publicado el febrero 20, 2021 04:58 MAÑANA por mainebirder mainebirder | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de febrero de 2021

Day 21 Ash me no Questions.

.3 still very icy. In the 20s with threat of snow tonight. Windless. Still flocks of robins around, just smaller than 2 days ago. So started to learn about ash trees today. Their bark pattern can have me fooled as I have seen some other trees with it. This specimen was about 30 feet, (I am terrible at tree heights) growing between the sidewalk and the street. I first noticed what I am now thinking are vestiges of berries. As I read about white versus green ash they talk about the C vs D shaped leaf scars. I will have to learn what I am looking at to even tell. The emerald ash borer is killing these trees at an alarming rate. It has spread to Maine. The samaras are good forage for the wood duck, northern bobwhite, purple finch, pine grosbeak, fox squirrel, and mice, and many other birds and small mammals, A samara is just a seed with a wing. Maple and ash are two trees with samaras.

Publicado el febrero 18, 2021 10:41 TARDE por mainebirder mainebirder | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Day 20 Who Would eat Cones still on the Tree

.5 miles, mid 20s, sunshine, no wind. Beautiful. Walked a commercial portion of Canco Road. very icy underfoot. Noted a pitch pine with some of the cones partially destroyed. Scales removed, showing either the seeds or seed attachments within. All the cones on the tree were partially open and appeared dead. I read that cones open in warm weather to allow the seeds to more easily germinate. Apparently squirrels, crossbills and woodpeckers eat cones. The squirrels seem to be the culprit in this case, because they leave the scales and cores. The cones open for pollination in April and May, and the seeds are shed in August to October. The dry cones can stay on the tree for up to 10 years. Pitch pine provides a habitat and offers food for many wildlife species. They are used as cover and nesting for birds such as the pine warbler, wild turkey, red-cockaded woodpecker, great-crested flycatchers, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, black-and-white warblers, Nashville warblers, and chestnut-sided warblers. it is the predominant pine on Cape Cod and the New Jersey Pine barrens, and grows only north as far as central Maine.

Publicado el febrero 18, 2021 01:40 MAÑANA por mainebirder mainebirder | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de febrero de 2021

Day 19 Its Desperate Out There Today

.4, North Deering Portland. Freezing rain all day without wind. Everything is slippery and coated with a crust of ice. Came upon a flock of at least 150 robins. Very restless. Some were feeding on crab apples, but the supply was scant, and it looked like the tree had been hit earlier in the day because there was fruit on the ground over the crusted snow. The flock was calling, and soon took of in a whirl to the northeast. Saw one smaller bird traveling with them, an apparent eastern bluebird. Two or three minutes later a sharp shinned hawk strafed the neighborhood, without apparent success. I wonder if he was the source of some of the robin's agitation.

Publicado el febrero 16, 2021 10:37 TARDE por mainebirder mainebirder | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Day 18 Sometimes You Got It And Sometimes You Don't

0.2 miles. Windy high in the twenties, threat of snow later today. Despite chasing birds with good potential, we got no new birds. My resolve to explore Strafford County more thoroughly led us there after deciding that Halibut Point Massachusetts was just too iffy. We dipped on the common murre at Walker's Point, the queen eider at Nubble Light, and the ducks were just too distant to pick out a gadwall at Jackson Landing. We did however hear a singing song sparrow at a feeder at the yellow house just past the rink. We had beautiful cedar waxwings along route 1 in Wells, and Harlequins at the Nubble. Three red breasted nuthatches at a feeder in Strafford.

We discussed food supplies for birds, noting that fruit has been generally removed from trees, especially the small fruit. Alder flowering occurs in early spring (March–May),
before the leaves appear, the inflorescences formed in
late summer the season before flowering. Fruit
maturation is in late August–September with the
seeds dispersed the following spring. . Therefore I guess the cones would still hold seed. They are nitrogen fixing, and provide cover for grouse and woodcock.

Did find a few rugosa rose hips remaining at the nubble, and saw some unknown species of rose along the road also with hips. An English website notes ,The hips are eaten by fruit-eating birds such as Thrushes, Blackbirds, Redwing, Feildfare and Waxwings. I don't remember seeing birds eating the large rugosa hips. Illinois reports Among vertebrate animals, rose hips are eaten by upland gamebirds and some songbirds; this includes the Greater Prairie Chicken, Ruffed Grouse, Bobwhite Quail, Cardinal, and others. The White-Footed Mouse and Deer Mouse also eat rose hips and possibly the seeds. White-Tailed Deer and Cottontail Rabbits browse on the leaves occasionally. Birds that feed primarily on fruits, on the other hand, have reduced musculature of the gizzards and shorter intestines. This physical adaptation seems to ensure food passes through the gut quickly — in minutes rather than hours — allowing the bird to forage rapidly when food is available. And some believe the faster the seeds move through the bird’s digestive tract, the less time there is for seed damage. A chemical laxative, for example, was discovered in the fruit of a shrub in Costa Rica that induced early defecation, thereby reducing the time the seeds spend in the bird’s digestive tract.

Publicado el febrero 16, 2021 12:53 MAÑANA por mainebirder mainebirder | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario