Central Mass Bird Reports, 2010

Central Mass Bird Update homepage.

This is an archive of bird reports that give an extended narrative of a bird trip, or that give an extensive compilation of bird sightings. To contribute, you can email to rsquimby@wpi.edu.

5/23/10 -- Hardwick/Barre/New Braintree
The Magical Listening Tour: North, Taylor Hill, Brook, Ridge, and Ruggles Hill Roads, Hardwick. MAS Cooks Canyon Sanctuary, Barre. Winimusett Wildlife Management Area, New Braintree.
Acting on a challenge from one of my sisters, I spent a whirlwind morning
detecting birds at my favorite local haunts, building a bird species list
based solely upon auditory cues.  Upon returning home, I peered out my
kitchen window and was delighted to find a BLACK BEAR poring over the
contents of my neighbor's vegetable garden!

Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Red-tailed Hawk
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Virginia Rail
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Louisiana Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
American Goldfinch
(trip report from Chris Ellison).

3/6/10 -- Hardwick, New Braintree, Quabbin Reservoir, Barre
  • East Quabbin Land Trust, Mandel Hill, Hardwick.
  • Winimusset Wildlife Management Area, New Braintree.
  • Gates 33, 40, & 41, Quabbin Reservation.
  • MAS Cook's Canyon Wildlife Sanctuary, Barre.

    Times: 2:47 A.M. - 2:27 P.M.

    3/6/10 -- Hardwick, New Braintree, Quabbin Reservoir, Barre
  • East Quabbin Land Trust, Mandel Hill, Hardwick.
  • Winimusset Wildlife Management Area, New Braintree.
  • Gates 33, 40, & 41, Quabbin Reservation.
  • MAS Cook's Canyon Wildlife Sanctuary, Barre.

    Times: 2:47 A.M. - 2:27 P.M.

    I peer through glass, stretching and squinting involuntarily, my eyes and face 
    taken aback upon registering long-forgotten warmth.  A bulky raptor wafts 
    overhead, also appearing to savor the strangely mild conditions, its robust 
    feathered legs dangling in exultation from the peculiarly balmy air above.  My 
    footfalls soften abruptly.  I pause to register the sudden silence, realizing 
    that my fixation with the sky has slowed my pace and altered my course, 
    pressing me away from the perilous sheet of ice engulfing the trail.  My feet 
    rest easily upon its more stable earthen shoulder that is only partially 
    frozen.  The delicate trickle of water reaches my ears, my footwear squishing 
    audibly as I reach the trail's boundary.  The satisfying scent of moist, fecund 
    earth no longer held in abeyance by the unyielding grip of winter fills my 
    nostrils, rivulets of water coursing out from beneath the vanishing sheet of 
    ice.  I welcome the sudden shade offered by my  passing behind the ample girth 
    of a maple trunk, and brace a scope within the accommodating elbow of one of 
    its sturdier branches, eager to relish a moment of glare-free gazing.  Russet 
    flashes against azure.  The tail of the burly Red-tailed Hawk twitches 
    tentatively, gauging the strength of the newly formed thermal as the bird 
    adopts a languorous upward course towards the potent sun.  Subtly altering its 
    angle to the earth, the hawk melts away, evaporating into the sapphire bosom of 
    the heavens as magisterially as it arrived.  I scan the skies around its 
    vanishing point, finding nothing.  I trudge forward into the entrance of a 
    favorite clearing, my progress quickly halted as my ears seize upon a wild 
    slurry of notes.  Hesitant, liquid chatter surges to a crescendo.
    The trajectory of the sound alters.  I pivot to parse the treetops that are now 
    behind me, my gaze fixing upon the cloud of fluttering wings alighting amongst 
    the austere upper branches of the trees comprising the vast hedgerow.  As 
    gleaming heads and silvery bills churn out an unremitting din, my eyes dance 
    over the agitated shapes, pausing at a silhouette remarkably more well 
    proportioned than its rakishly long-tailed companions.
    The bird sports a stubbier and decidedly trimmer physique that stands in marked 
    contrast to that of its cohorts, and as it continues to hold my attention, my 
    excitement grows.  I study its more subdued coloration further, the bird's 
    plumage appearing strangely somber and listless in the rich light of early 
    morning when judged against that of its comparatively gaudy counterparts, a 
    mere afterthought of bottle-green permeating its flanks and scapulars when 
    matched against the flamboyant gleaming emerald of its associates.
    The flock swells into the air, and I perform a complete scan of the surrounding 
    terrain and sky.  I laugh aloud upon taking in a mischievous Blue Jay peering 
    out from a squat evergreen, uttering an imitation of a Red-shouldered Hawk so 
    mercilessly accurate it has succeeded in whipping the flock of Icterids into a 
    frenzy, the birds exiting in pell-mell fashion.  Pressing my scope along the 
    length and breadth of the departing flock reveals a squat, lone Rusty Blackbird 
    darting in and out of the hordes of Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds, 
    its keening exclamations differing markedly in pitch from the gruff, burry 
    squawks of the grackles and the insistent, monotone shrieks of the Red-wings. 
    The rambunctious throng spills over the horizon, silence once again enveloping 
    the landscape.  I press forward, the haphazard trail shaping my travels dipping 
    to the edge of a vast hillside.  My feet succumb to the urge to trace its 
    sweeping contours, and I part the branches running the length of the stone wall 
    separating the dank woods from the sunny landscape beyond.  I pick my way into 
    the open and traipse down the enormous expanse, and am pleasantly startled by 
    the resident Red-tailed Hawk dipping over the trees.  It fixes me with a 
    methodical stare, studying me briefly before resuming its morning hunt.  The 
    strapping hawk boils upward on the edge of a thermal, its fearsome profile 
    jostling crisp white feathers off of their tenuous perch atop the swaying bare 
    branches of a nearby grove of hickories.  Glass-smooth whistled notes float 
    into my ears, followed by a prating babble uttered in perfect cadence with 
    wildly flapping wing feathers.
    A stout shape vividly accented by tan and black swoops from the treetops to the 
    spongy earth beneath, holding sway over the newly exposed turf by striding 
    boldly to and fro, sturdy brown tail demarcated with smart white borders slowly 
    opening and closing.  As it traverses the sunlit expanse, I excitedly snap a 
    scope into place, my eyes drinking in a flamboyant yellow breast accented by a 
    breathtaking black "V."  An ample striped crown and silvery pointed bill tilt 
    backwards, flinging another volley of excited chatter into the heavens.  The 
    bird sprints forward, snowy outer tail rectrices blazing as its keen dark eyes 
    fix upon a distant subject of interest.  It takes to the air, stiff wing beats 
    interspersed with short glides allowing it to land effortlessly at the edge of 
    an enormous puddle. It plunges into its depths, its silhouette dissolving into 
    a blur of intense yellow, brown, and black as it performs its ablutions. 
    Thoroughly cleansed, it hops to the dry ground on the puddle's opposite shore 
    and begins preening.  Plumage gleaming, it darts to the top of a battered fence 
    post, bursting into song once more.  I depart as unobtrusively as my 
    surroundings allow, my boots sloshing musically through the glistening muck, 
    elated to have discovered such a feisty, debonair Eastern Meadowlark 
    aggressively establishing a territory and seeking a mate.
    I execute a shallow U-turn back to the top of the hillside and ferret out a 
    flimsy collapsible stool from my pack, unfold it, and press it into the corner 
    formed by the intersection of two stone walls.  Now situated at the extremity 
    of the vast rectangular parcel that has contained my travels of the last two 
    hours, I savor eye-level views of the neat grid work of cirrocumulus clouds 
    jutting above the tree canopy brushing the northern horizon.  Feathered specks 
    whir across one of the slanted vertical blue lines separating the 
    rhombus-shaped individual clouds.  Four birds veer upwards and vanish into one 
    of the stippled patches of white.  My eyes dance frantically over the neat rows 
    of faintly corrugated clouds, aching for any hint of movement. The sleek shapes 
    reappear, outlined in stark relief as they streak across one of the wider bands 
    of blue, marshmallow bellies acquiring a soft gloss as they approach the 
    glowing corona of the sun.  The undersides of the birds' outer wing tips appear 
    distinctly dark, and as the birds descend, circling back above the trees, 
    brilliant white speculae flail in and out if view.  Svelte, uniformly dark 
    heads blush a dazzling emerald.  Mahogany necks mated to white throats press to 
    the tip of the flock, the female Common Mergansers dashing ahead of the dapper 
    males.  The tiny group tumbles out of sight, ash-gray wingtips engulfed by the 
    Chik-a-CHEEER Chik-a-CHEEER Chik-a-CHEEER Chik-a-CHEEER!
    The distant, doleful notes ricochet once more through the stark brown 
    landscape, and I canvas the skies and adjacent fields for a likely source.  I 
    pick my way along the dense hedgerow, stopping at a ragged gap in the 
    underbrush that allows for easy observation of a distant cultivated field.  I 
    poke the objective lens of my scope through the vegetation, orderly rows of 
    skeletal, partially flattened corn stubble quickly snapping into focus.  I 
    pause at two slender pale stalks with faint bulges at their tips.  They 
    disappear in a sudden flurry of motion, an ample white belly pressing down from 
    above.  I tilt my scope upwards, taking in a gleaming black eye encircled by a 
    thin yet startling crimson eye ring.  A jet-black bill swelling faintly at its 
    tip darts to the left, followed by equally dark breast bands.  A disembodied 
    pair of pale feet appear, skittering along beneath a dramatically spread tail 
    accentuated by black feathers with frosty white tips.
    The most vocal of the two Killdeer has thrown down the gauntlet, charging its 
    adversary with such vigor it propels the first bird into the air.  It quickly 
    closes in from behind, striking orange rump plainly visible.  The two birds 
    climb aloft, carrying their confrontation out into the central portion of the 
    mammoth cornfield, pulsating white wing stripes easily viewed against the 
    desolate backdrop of the remnants of last year's harvest.  Depositing 
    themselves into a shallow depression, their quarrel proves short-lived, 
    concluding with an abbreviated interval of head-bobbing and clamorous 
    vocalization.  They resume prodding the muddy furrows for a morning meal, and 
    quickly disappear into the taller stands of emaciated cornstalks.
    My desire to observe more secretive passerine species grows, and I direct my 
    attention to the periphery of the field, a leaden sliver of open water 
    beckoning from behind thick weeds.  I dodge and twist through an inhospitable 
    grove of Multiflora Rose and Barberry, boots crunching through heavily shaded 
    patches of granular snow, barbed tentacles of vegetation clutching at my 
    clothes.  I arrive at the edge of the narrow inlet and tread warily into the 
    shallow water, using a hiking staff to prod carefully for unseen ice.  Once 
    situated upon surer footing, I peer into the surrounding shrubbery and begin 
    mimicking avian distress calls, delighted to find that my efforts elicit much 
    curiosity.  Countless sets of wings flicker, shining eyes blossoming from every 
    corner of the nearly impenetrable thicket.  A quick scan of the underbrush 
    reveals an inquisitive band of sparrows, a happy tumult of predominantly 
    White-throated, Song, and American Tree Sparrows.  Disjointed pewter auriculars 
    magically expand into a trio of Swamp Sparrows, while compact twin domes of 
    jaunty black-and-white stripes betray the presence of a pair of the 
    White-crowned variety.  The eye-catching wedges of yellow bedizening the outer 
    branches of a Barberry reveal themselves to be the myriad crowns of a cheerful 
    band of Golden-crowned Kinglets.  A narrow, menacing shadow glides over the 
    copse, sending its inhabitants fleeing in every direction.  I glance up as 
    elegant tapered wings traverse the sky.  The graceful raptor traces the border 
    of the marsh and the forest beyond, its tawny wing linings peppered with dark 
    brown.  The aristocratic Northern Harrier plots a course over this choice 
    feeding area with supreme ease, unfazed by the vagaries of a rising wind, 
    nimbly dipping out of the swirling maelstrom of currents present above the tree 
    line into the more stable air present above the matted weeds. Its uppertail 
    coverts glow with such  intensity I ponder if they may betray the lithe 
    hunter's presence to desired prey as it dips and weaves away, dropping behind a 
    gaunt collection of snags.
    Emotive nasal cries fill the sudden sensory void.
    Two plump white bellies, one decidedly larger than the other, rear above the 
    surface of the water, revealing striking marbled underwing patterns, the 
    dramatic silvery borders of the birds' underwing coverts tapering into clusters 
    of brown dots immediately above the point at which their wings merge with their 
    bodies.  Glossy contours impact the water, glistening waves spilling away from 
    their flanks.  Spring has arrived with an electrifying flourish, the jaunty 
    pair of Wood Ducks busily refamiliarizing themselves with the haphazard 
    dimensions of their favored wetland, heads and necks enthusiastically poking 
    into the dank recesses of the Tussock Sedge lining the water's edge.  The 
    drake's extravagant head coloration is especially magnetic juxtaposed against 
    the waterway's restrained sepia tones.  The female's tan facial disk bordered 
    with white conveys an opposite effect, temporarily dissolving against the 
    backdrop of lifeless beige grass as she
    and her mate paddle steadily through the murky water, disappearing at a 
    serpentine bend in the stream bed.  I opt to expand my search for captivating 
    views of newly arriving waterfowl, and I return to the car, flinging a favorite 
    map onto the passenger seat beside me as I travel northwards as rapidly as road 
    conditions allow.
    I reduce my pace, five squat tan shapes waddling hurriedly away as I advance 
    along the edge of an elongated patch of fine gravel.  They gradually come to a 
    stop, delicate pink feet peeking out from the edges of portly brown midriffs. 
    The Mourning Doves take a brief respite from ingesting minute quantities of 
    digestive grit to savor the newfound warmth of the sun, heads compressing 
    further into shoulders, eyes narrowing to slits, and breast feathers expanding 
    as the birds arrange themselves side by side in endearingly neat fashion. A 
    flock of unruly Blue Jays bullies its way through the nearby shrubbery, the 
    doves remaining comically imperturbable as the raucous band flaps overhead. 
    Two of the birds crane their heads downward to stare quizzically at the 
    peculiar elongated forms concentrated at the border of the road.  They collect 
    in a pocket of saplings at the edge of the high-tension lines, bickering among 
    themselves before dispersing.  As the din
    abates, I advance cautiously, but overlook the effect of my body's shadow 
    pressing to the edge of the sleeping birds.  Eyes spring open, pert brown heads 
    snapping to attention, and they take to the air in quick succession.
    As the agile doves streak over the horizon, a bright white triangular dot dips 
    out of the heavens.  Prominently streaked with black and white, it appears 
    attached to a pale streaked crow-sized belly accentuated by reddish-brown 
    stripes.  Contours flatten, the image soon disappearing altogether.  I continue 
    to extend my binoculars along its initially established flight path, and I 
    reacquire the unusual figure, which promptly executes a flurry of wing beats. 
    Its left wing skews upwards, revealing shock-white feathers crisply bordered in 
    black at the trailing edge of the wings, contrasting sharply with minute black 
    speckles generously sprinkled throughout the carpal area.  The bird drifts 
    towards the sun, its pale coloration intensifying still further, soon becoming 
    a glowing ember of white.  A volley of assured, staccato wing beats follows. 
    The successive blurs of motion briefly eliminate any possibility of gleaning 
    further details from the under surface
    of the squat raptor's wings, and my eyes are drawn once again to the striking, 
    chunky fanned tail highlighted by substantial black and white stripes.  A pert 
    head twists down, stunning yellow cere plainly visible directly above the 
    bird's nostrils.  Upon sifting through all salient field marks, I am astonished 
    to find myself viewing an adult Broad-winged Hawk, now tracing a methodical 
    figure eight over a steep hillside dotted with massive electrical towers.
    I push slowly uphill over the buckling asphalt, avoiding the compacted ice 
    present in a pocket of frost heaves, pausing to wring out a cap at the edge of 
    a monstrous pothole.  The roadway levels off, and my legs and knees welcome the 
    sensation of more supportive asphalt rising to meet them after having pitched 
    and rolled over the irregularities scattered throughout the boundless expanse 
    of agricultural land that produced such satisfying views of the feisty plovers. 
    I settle happily into a steady rhythm, impatience growing, feet inexorably 
    narrowing the divide between the hilltop and the ragged shoreline.  I progress 
    into a sunlit expanse of trail, warm air floating up from the road against my 
    chin.  The powerful sun penetrates through my thick fleece, and I opt to remove 
    it as I reach a patch of coarse gravel studded with a remarkable variety of 
    velvet-smooth elliptical stones abutting the water.  I squint overhead, 
    scanning the enormous dome of bare sky, eyes hungrily alighting upon a passing 
    flock of Rock Pigeons, their vigorous wing beats a riot of metallic blue, soft 
    gray, and mottled white.  The birds exit to the southwest, the heavens lifeless 
    once more.  The colorful fuselages of small aircraft wink in and out of the 
    glare of mid-afternoon, my eyes initially passing over a sliver of black 
    melting into view above the rapidly dissolving contrail of a passing jet. 
    White dots appear fore and aft, the largest of which appears slightly curved at 
    its leading edge.  Fanned individual feathers distinguish themselves as the 
    smaller white speck tipped with soft yellow methodically pivots to the right. 
    The pristine adult Bald Eagle approaches slowly, carefully adjusting its 
    course, and I drink in the mammoth raptor's unblemished dark brown wing 
    linings, flanks, chest, and belly as it advances.  I reluctantly pause to 
    examine the opposite horizon, adopting the strategy of aligning the bird's 
    established trajectory with readily discernable terrain features below to 
    facilitate rapid visual reacquisition.  I lower my binoculars briefly, 
    rearranging my wide-brimmed hat to better shield my face from the sun.  The 
    fleeting moment of unaided viewing allows me to see an oval blob plummet past 
    the distant eagle, the relatively stationary bird forced to twist swiftly away. 
    I snatch a scope from its temporary resting place atop my pack, jamming it into 
    my shoulder as I make a frantic attempt to relocate the mysterious interloper. 
    Two huge sets of dark wings simultaneously clash and climb violently upwards, 
    each jockeying for supremacy in a desperate bid to gain altitude.  I am 
    awestruck by the spectacle of two Bald Eagles locked in remorseless combat, 
    utterly enmeshed in a bid for territorial dominance.  In an instant, 
    hostilities cease, savagery abating as quickly as a capricious summer 
    thundershower.  The two predators level off, gliding wingtip
    to wingtip in perfect synchrony.  Viewed through the compressed field of view 
    imposed by optics, they temporarily appear motionless, suspended against a 
    clear sky that briefly defies depth perception. Banking to the left, the rear 
    eagle attempts to overtake the first, the lead bird deftly executing an 
    intercepting roll, lethal talons inverting upwards with brutal precision. 
    Ear-spitting squeals fill the air.  Two sets of weaponry quickly clash, 
    separate, and lock together once more.  Four giant wings windmill violently 
    downward, hurtling towards the earth in a savage yet eerily noiseless embrace, 
    the landscape below wrapped in reverential silence.  My hands pull my 
    binoculars towards my chest as the birds freakishly accelerate further, and I 
    edge closer to averting my eyes, disaster appearing imminent.  Miraculously, 
    the eagles assertively realign in a near perfect "H" shaped silhouette, leg 
    feathers billowing crazily, separating at last.
    Mesmerized, I take in the sight of the two birds flapping in opposite 
    directions, each alighting within one hundred feet of one another in stout 
    White Pines.
    The sound of feet scampering through the detritus littering the forest floor 
    behind me shatters my enchantment, and I turn to investigate it. I glass the 
    shady, ample patches of brown pine needles, finding nothing.  I pan slowly to 
    the right of the stone wall abutting the roadway, keenly sensing the burning 
    gaze of unseen eyes.  My eyes drink in taut muscular hindquarters covered with 
    lustrous black fur almost imperceptibly inching forward. Piercing black orbs 
    return my stare, pinkish nostrils flaring, framed by silvery whiskers that 
    seesaw cagily.  The magnificent Mink continues to examine me intently, and it 
    is only when I shift position to obtain a marginally better view of the 
    striking mammal that it disappears, bolting across the remaining width of the 
    roadway and into the lush evergreens beyond.
    I consolidate personal effects and re-lace my boots, steeling myself for the 
    substantial trek to the highway.   I press into the welcome shade along the 
    south side of the road, pausing for any sign of avian activity.
    The emphatic alarm note resounds along the irregular length of stone wall 
    appearing on my right, rising above the steady cadence of my feet crunching 
    into the shallow loam stretching along the road's shoulder. I feverishly study 
    the surfaces of the countless lichen-covered rocks, in hopes of detecting any 
    hint of movement. Maddening silence ensues, thankfully concluded by a lengthy 
    barrage of notes erupting from the base of a fallen log.  I am fixated once 
    more, and shuck my pack with abandon, sprinting down the embankment immediately 
    beyond the lowest portion of the wall in hopes of flushing the invisible 
    songster.  I reach firmer footing as the song concludes, situating myself at 
    the base of a huge maple in hopes of being treated to another exhilarating 
    A barren expanse of rock sprouts a brownish finger of feathers strongly barred 
    with black and bordered with white stripes.  A muted chalky eyebrow appears, 
    followed by a throat filled with fine red and brown speckling.  Its head and 
    throat feathers pulsating excitedly, the diminutive bird rears backwards, and 
    my ears are lost once again within the breathtaking peaks and valleys of the 
    soundscape carved out by the tireless singer.  The rock appears to quickly 
    swallow the head and tail of the Winter Wren at the conclusion of its 
    performance, the bird ducking out of sight, continuing to forage in 
    characteristically hyperactive fashion in plain view for nearly five minutes 
    before retreating within the endless cracks and fissures of the dilapidated 
    masonry.  I reluctantly rise to go, the shimmering wavelets lapping the shore 
    the only sound.
    Pied-billed Grebe   1
    Great Blue Heron    1
    Turkey Vulture  5
    Canada Goose    22
    Wood Duck   4
    American Black Duck 7
    Mallard 9
    Hooded Merganser    4
    Common Merganser    6
    Bald Eagle  2
    Northern Harrier    1
    Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
    Cooper's Hawk   1
    Red-shouldered Hawk 1
    Broad-winged Hawk   1
    Red-tailed Hawk 2
    Ruffed Grouse   3
    Killdeer    2
    Ring-billed Gull    5
    Herring Gull    2
    Rock Pigeon 13
    Mourning Dove   5
    Great Horned Owl    1
    Barred Owl  1
    Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
    Yellow-bellied Sapsucker    1
    Downy Woodp
    Pied-billed Grebe   1
    Great Blue Heron    1
    Turkey Vulture  5
    Canada Goose    22
    Wood Duck   4
    American Black Duck 7
    Mallard 9
    Hooded Merganser    4
    Common Merganser    6
    Bald Eagle  2
    Northern Harrier    1
    Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
    Cooper's Hawk   1
    Red-shouldered Hawk 1
    Broad-winged Hawk   1
    Red-tailed Hawk 2
    Ruffed Grouse   3
    Killdeer    2
    Ring-billed Gull    5
    Herring Gull    2
    Rock Pigeon 13
    Mourning Dove   5
    Great Horned Owl    1
    Barred Owl  1
    Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
    Yellow-bellied Sapsucker    1
    Downy Woodpecker    2
    Hairy Woodpecker    2
    Northern Flicker    2
    Pileated Woodpecker 3
    Blue Jay    14
    American Crow   23
    Common Raven    3
    Black-capped Chickadee  8
    Tufted Titmouse 4
    Red-breasted Nuthatch   5
    White-breasted Nuthatch 2
    Brown Creeper   4
    Carolina Wren   1
    Winter Wren 2
    Golden-crowned Kinglet  11
    Ruby-crowned Kinglet    1
    Eastern Bluebird    5
    American Robin  17
    Northern Mockingbird    1
    European Starling   7
    Cedar Waxwing   5
    Yellow-rumped Warbler   2
    American Tree Sparrow   9
    Song Sparrow    4
    Swamp Sparrow   3
    White-throated Sparrow  7
    White-crowned Sparrow   2
    Dark-eyed Junco 15
    Northern Cardinal   6
    Red-winged Blackbird    15
    Eastern Meadowlark  1
    Rusty Blackbird 1
    Common Grackle  9
    Brown-headed Cowbird    4
    Purple Finch    1
    House Finch 3
    American Goldfinch  8
    House Sparrow   6
    Mink 1 (Graves Landing)
    (trip report and narrative from Chris Ellison).

    2/6/10 -- Quabbin Reservation, Quabbin Park
    From 7:22 A.M. to 4:27 P.M.:
    Today's brilliant sunshine and diminished winds facilitated easy viewing of
    resident species at the east end of Winsor Dam and in the underbrush
    surrounding Ned's Field. The antics of a vocal quartet of Ravens provided
    much mid-morning entertainment.  The birds pitched, rolled, and spiraled
    across the sky directly above Mount Ram, disappearing into low-hanging
    clouds at the extremity of Franklin County. 
    The appearance of an immaculate Bobcat investigating a grassy slope along
    the east side of the Prescott Peninsula enlivened the frigid conditions that
    characterized the afternoon?s raptor watching efforts.  As its soft pink
    nose, riveting almond eyes, and lustrous black-tipped ears melted out of the
    brush, the animal immediately conveyed its awareness of my studying it
    intently, fixing me with a stare both baleful and inscrutable over the
    yawning chasm between us.  It stood against a backdrop of matted grass for a
    fleeting instant, and was soon swallowed whole by the terrain. 
    A chance encounter with a Massachusetts Audubon Society Arcadia Wildlife
    Sanctuary eagle-watch outing led by Patti Steinman allowed the participants
    a momentary glimpse of a single bird, a juvenile specimen that remained in
    view for a maddeningly short interval as it dashed across the icy expanse
    between Prescott Peninsula, crested the heights of Mount Pomeroy, and
    plunged into the recesses of the mature coniferous forest approaching the
    access road to Gate 35.
    Not long after the departure of the Massachusetts Audubon Society group, the
    afternoon winds escalated sharply, the nearby evergreen canopy creaking and
    groaning under the strain.  Two mottled, flapping shapes materialized out of
    the swirling pewter clouds above Mount Ram and muscled through the vexing
    headwinds.  They quickly plunged down Mount Ram?s eastern slope, alighting
    in fast succession amongst the gnarled branches of a massive White Pine. 
    Like their feline alpha-predator counterpart observed earlier, the birds
    hovered briefly at the cusp of detection before settling into comfortable
    perches and vanishing from sight. 
    *Bald Eagle
    1 adult ? 9:48 AM
    1 adult ? 2:11 PM (MAS group)
    1 adult - 3:26 PM
    2 juveniles ? 3:53 PM    5
    Red-tailed Hawk    3
    Sharp-shinned Hawk    1
    Ruffed Grouse    2
    Ring-billed Gull    3
    Rock Dove    11
    Mourning Dove    6
    Barred Owl    1
    Downy Woodpecker    2
    Hairy Woodpecker    1
    Pileated Woodpecker    1
    Blue Jay    8
    American Crow    22
    Common Raven    4
    Black-capped Chickadee    7
    Tufted Titmouse    3
    Red-breasted Nuthatch    1
    White-breasted Nuthatch    1
    Brown Creeper    1
    Golden-crowned Kinglet    6
    Ruby-crowned Kinglet    1
    Eastern Bluebird    2
    American Robin    32
    Cedar Waxwing    5
    American Tree Sparrow    4
    Song Sparrow    1
    White-throated Sparrow    5
    Dark-eyed Junco    11
    Northern Cardinal    2
    Red-winged Blackbird    29
    American Goldfinch    5
    * - Enfield Lookout
    (trip report from Chris Ellison).

    2009 Extended Narratives

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