Monday, May 31, 2010

Birding in SE Massachusetts

Went out birding yesterday morning to two spots in SE Mass that I've never been to before: Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary and Turkey Hill. Both spots were gorgeous and I saw a good variety of species.I went to Daniel Webster in search of the Sedge Wren that's been hanging around there for the past few days. The wren sang quite a bit, and wasn't all that shy. It came relatively close to the platform on top of Fox Hill and gave me several quick peeks as it flit around in the field. It flapped its wings so rapidly and almost seemed to hover at times, making it appear very much like a hummingbird. Here are a couple shots of the platform on Fox Hill and one of my better photos of the Sedge Wren:
I enjoyed the large numbers of Tree Swallows and Purple Martins zooming around in the sky above me. There's an impressive Purple Martin colony at Daniel Webster:
There were also lots of Common Yellowthroats and Bobolinks in the fields. The whole morning was a lovely symphony of birdsong, I love listening to Bobolinks. I'm still going through my photos and trying to ID a flycatcher, but right now my species count for the day at Daniel Webster is 30, not counting the flycatcher. If anyone has any skill identifying flycatchers, I made sure to record it singing in addition to taking its picture. I know that Empidonax Flycatchers cannot always be identified without hearing their voices, even when we get them in the mist nets at the banding station and can take several measurements, we often have to write down "Unknown Empidonax Flycatcher". Here's the youtube link:

Couple more shots of Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary:There's a cardinal singing over the flycatcher, I had to turn up my laptop volume all the way to hear it at all, but I'm still hoping it will be enough for someone to ID it for me. I already posted on Birdforum hoping for some help. If you've never visited before, take a peek. It's a nice community of birders. You can get ID help, look at photos, and chat about anything and everything related to birding. Okay, enough of the plug, now for some pics from Turkey Hill:
I added 7 more species to the day's total at Turkey Hill: Eastern Kingbird, Chimney Swift, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, House Wren, and a Cormorant flew by overhead. I likely would have seen quite a bit more if it had been earlier in the day, and I intend to go there again right at dawn when I get the chance. Overall, I had a lovely day, despite the fact that I was silly enough to try to go to Parker River NWR at 3 in the afternoon on Memorial Day Weekend. I grabbed a bite to eat, with some difficulty. [Just wanted something simple, Bob Lobster was packed to the gills. Discovered that they will not make you a grilled cheese sandwich at the Plum Island GRILLE. Was annoyed. Apart from that and my unenthusiastic waitress, it seemed like a nice place, though. ] The refuge lots were full (of course) by the time I got there and finished eating, and I was satisfied with the birding I'd done that day, so I just went home. Too bad that I wasted my time, energy, and gas because I didn't think my plan through, but hopefully it's a mistake I won't make again soon. Until next time, folks:

Take nothing but pictures (and maybe the trash of jerks who came before you), leave nothing but footprints.


  1. Two places that I need to check out one of these days. Great post and photos!

  2. Congrats on the sedge wren - I've only seen it once and not like you did with photo and all.

  3. Great post and pictures. I love the one you did of the bird by the grass. Look so pretty and endearing.