Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hermit Thrush Call- Fryeburg Maine

A couple weeks ago we went up to Fryeburg, Maine to visit some of Steve's college friends. They live on Lovewell Pond, which actually seems more like a lake.

I did some birding (and also jogging) on the trails near their house, and didn't see anything too exciting, but did see my first red-breasted nuthatch.

The underside isn't as "red" as typically seen in pictures, although it could just be the lighting. I still wanted to include it in case anyone wants to set me straight!
Every time I went jogging or birding on the trails near their house I heard this "mystery bird" that had an eery whistle-like call. I was very, very, patient but the bird was elusive and I could never get close enough to see it—it always got spooked and moved further away.
I reached out to my friends at the BwBTC Forum and Sharon and "Chickadee" in the Maine forum were very helpful in identifying this call, even without hearing my audio clip! Both suggested thrushes (Chickadee asked if it sounded like a flute, which it did) and sure enough I listened to the Hermit Thrush call clip on All About Birds and it was a match!
Here is my audio clip from the weekend in Maine:

These are a tricky ID for me since I don't see them often. I saw a hermit thrush last spring at Drumlin Farm MassAudubon Sanctuary in Lincoln, MA but that wouldn't have helped me since I never saw the bird in Maine.
I also had fun watching these Eastern Phoebes down by the shore of the pond. There were two of them flitting around on the steps of the house next door.

The loons were fairly active (there was a rumor that one of them flipped our friend's canoe but it couldn't be proved- haha) and the first night we thought we saw one coming up near the house, but this pictures shows it was just a mallard:

After hearing them all weekend, I finally saw one on Sunday.

Common Loon:To set the scene, here's a shot of the pond and our friends' deck/yard on the right:

It was a great weekend! Thanks to Kate & Techer for having us!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cooper's Hawk at Aspetuck Land Trust

I spent the 4th in Fairfield, CT with my boyfriend Steve's family. On Saturday we went for a walk with his mom and dog Toby to Aspetuck Land Trust in Easton, CT. Aspetuck is a really great spot- we usually go there whenever we're in Fairfield.

(I believe this is a Cooper's Hawk because of the white spots on its back.) *UPDATE: Thank you to Chris from Tails of Birding for sharing this helpful insight. He believes this is actually a Broad-winged Hawk because "Tail is short, beak appears dark, eye appears dark, and a brownish hood - all suggest a broadie. Cooper's would have a long, banded tail, lighter eye (if juvie - red if adult) and bigger head." Thank you Chris!

I didn't see any other interesting birds during the trip, just the usual suspects.

I did get some great nature photos though.


Water snake:

Water spider:

And some wildflowers (using the macro feature on my camera):

Orange Butterfly Weed (thanks to Kelly from Red and the Peanut for the ID on this!)

Sunset from Steve's parents' yard:

(This is for you Meg!) Here's Steve's family dog Toby. I actually have a picture of him at Aspetuck Land Trust, but not on this computer...

Monday, July 13, 2009

I love my new lens!

I've been so busy taking pictures that I haven't paused to recognize my cousin Sue (of Nature of Framingham), who was so thoughtful in selling me her Sony telephoto lens (actually she refused to accept my $$ so I'll need to find a way to get her back- I'm thinking of getting her a nice birding gift).

I had blogged about wanting to buy a telephoto lens for my Canon PowerShot S2 IS and got a tip from Spencer at Beginning Birding that he uses a Sony VCL-DH1758 for his S2 IS. I then tweeted about it to see what people had to say about that lens.

I'm very happy with the lens so far, although I'm really just happy to have a tele lens.
Here are some recent pictures taken with it:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Osprey Nest at Monument Beach

Back on June 14th I was home on the Cape for my dad's birthday. He got a shellfishing license for the first time this year (we've been saying we wanted to do it for years) and we went quahoging on Sunday. We didn't realize the restrictions, but you can only go on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays and you need to do it before 7:00pm I believe. The way the tides fell that Sunday we timed it just right and got in just before the cut-off.

On our way to Monk's Cove I asked my dad to stop at Monument Beach so I could take pictures of the osprey fledglings in the nest there. The nest is located to the left of the bridge out to Tobey Island.

I always enjoy watching the osprey family at Monument Beach. Last summer I got a picture of the mother in flight, after being alerted by the cries of the babies. She flew right over Shore Rd. and the beach itself but the babies were off on the other side of the street near the safety of the trees.

Look at the size of that fish she's carrying!

Mom and hungry baby clash:
Nice hairdo:

On my way back to the car I saw this juvenile herring gull doing something weird- it was standing on just one foot at the top of this pole.

And of course I have to include a picture of my dad quahoging!

Where we went quahoging (Monk's Cove) is just on the other side of the bay, so while we were digging for quahogs we got to see the mother osprey continuing to hunt for fish during low tide.
It was a great time. We got off to a slow start but then during the last 20 minutes or so we hit the jackpot and got a bunch of quahogs. I made my first batch of stuffed quahogs and seafood chowder- they turned out not bad for my first time! Can't wait to go back and get more.

BwBTC Massachusetts Trip!

In this photo: Bev, Jeff, Pam (Christopher's wife), Christopher, and Steve

Back on June 13th Dawn Fine of Dawn's Bloggy Blog organized a Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp trip to coincide with her and Jeff's visit to Mass. Christopher from Picus Blog took the reigns and planned an exciting itinerary that included Plum Island, a Mississippi Kite nest in Southern New Hampshire, and another spot where sharp-tailed sparrows has been sighted.

I cannot possibly do the story justice, so if you are interested in a recap of the day please read Christopher's post since it is a very comprehensive one:

Many of the other Birders who Blog, Tweet, and Chirp wrote good recaps too so if you're interested in seeing additional pictures and points of view check out the links I've provided below. Please check out their blogs if you haven't already. I was surprised I wasn't already connected to everyone. It was a great experience meeting new local birders, and discovering new birding blogs.

Dawn & Jeff from Dawn's Bloggy Blog—Trip Recap: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3
Bev from Behind the Bins
John from Birding Maine—Trip Recap
Sharon from A New England Life—Trip Recap
Janet from The Plover Warden Diaries—Trip Recap: Part 1, Part 2
Amanda from The Fledgling Birder—Trip Recap
Lauren (Lowie)from Worn Field Guide Blog—Trip Recap
Laura from The Interstitial Spaces—Trip Recap
Mark from Strack16 Blog—
Trip Recap
Dan from Nature Observances by Forestal—
Trip Recap
Andy from Andy's Lens—Trip Recap: Part 1, Part 2 (he met up with everyone, but got a flat and had to skip the trip onto the refuge so he could get it fixed)

Here are my pictures from the day.

Purple Martins:

Song Sparrows:
*Noisy* Red-winged Blackbird:



Great Egret:

Eastern Kingbird:

Willow Flycatcher:

Greater Yellowlegs:

I also have a bunch of sandpiper pictures but I'm terrible at ID-ing them. Steve from Shooting My Universe identified a White-rumped Sandpiper (I believe that was what he said he saw), but I was absolutely clueless. Here's a picture of the group we were looking at:

And finally, come pictures of the Mississippi Kite sitting on her nest:

Oh, and I couldn't resist this adorable muskrat (I actually ran into one on a trail behind my house a few days prior, which was the first time I had seen one on land):