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Monday, September 20, 2010

June 25-27, 2010 Sunny/warm-cloudy/warm Camping in Washington MA

Many wonderful birds greeted us as we stepped out of the car and surveyed our campsite which our grandparents had rented for us and our family to stay in for the weekend! When I say many I mean MANY. We almost instantly found a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker and a Purple Finch, two of the common but unusual residents of Washington, MA!

There was a large number of bird species right outside of our front zipper like the resident American Redstarts who were always in the trees by the side of the road or the reliable and common Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. Reliable because we had discovered a tree close to our patch of grassy earth that almost always had one on it - the bottom of the tree looked like a crazy man with a dull dill head and drill had attacked it and seeing that he really liked art tried to make it look artistic in the process (what I mean is that the artistic woodpeckers made shallow holes in neat and tidy rows often forming a square formation. The tree was covered with these boxes and stripes).

Since we arrived late in the day the birds weren't in great numbers the bird watching would be better in the early morning and slowly get duller and duller and duller.

Late in the night we heard two Flying Squirrels chattering and then all was quite.

The next few days I was up dark and early (as opposed to "bright and early") listening to the morning chorus. American Goldfinches and warblers flitted over head and American Crows cawed raucously in the distance. Redstarts, Ovenbirds and other unidentified species sang from each and every
direction. A Veery sang and a Purple Finch replied in his frolicking tones. But as it was very dark out so it was hard to make out any defining details which made it almost impossible to identify any birds.

Later in the day we found some nice birds like Eastern Bluebirds who were residing in the field across the street, Warbling and Red-Eyed Vireos and a Flicker. Robins and Tree Swallows, Cedar Waxwings and a Veery, Chipping Sparrows and a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak at the bird feeders (eating with goldfinches, Chipping Sparrows and Purple Finch).

I also saw a Black and White Warbler and some Ovenbirds, a Scarlet Tanager and maybe even a Vesper Sparrow which is a bird that I have never seen before (it may have been a immature Chipping Sparrow though).

Many Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers were present, as usual, we even found their nest. It was fun watching the parents and the baby bird(s?) socializing and glaring at us. The unfeathered young would freak out when their parents appeared close by, their shrieks easily drew in their well feathered, handsome (and completely exhausted) parents.

One morning me and my grandfather went for a stroll around the camp-grounds. We had not gone far when my grandfather said "Raven, I hear a Raven". At the very moment he said it we both saw a large, thick-billed corvid came flying over! My grandfather had said that he had heard it croak (the most well known of the Common Ravens large and very hoarse variety of calls). Though I didn't here the croak I did hear a hoarse rolling "hhhhawrrr hhhhawrrr hhhhawrrr" which is another Raven call. So it was very likely that the bird that came flying over was a Common Raven! A lifer for me though I won't mark it on my life list because I am not one hundred percent positive and I didn't get the best of looks.

On another early morning walk I could have sworn that I saw an American Wigeon flying by. It was more likely that it was a Wood Duck or a Green-Winged Teal. Wigeons are winter ducks and are most commonly seen in bays and estuaries (at least that is the case in Providence).

And now for something completely different (trumpets blasting) and here it is: The Wonderful Land of the Bathroom: Moth hunting at it's utmost (why oh why can't we do this with birds?) (dramatic weeping)

We had been so wrapped up with birding that we had never considered wildlife watching in the bathroom but the bathroom ended up being one of the best places to see wildlife in the whole campground. Luna Moths were the most common there: big green wings and plump bodies littering the ground and clinging to the screens and walls. They rarely moved and instead tried to look stunned (they were experts at this enjoyable past time). One large Polyphemus Moth gloomily stared at the immpenatrable glass of the on of the bathrooms clouded dirty windows trapped and unaware of the open doorway to freedom was only three and a half feet away from him. Tons of smaller moths of all shape, size and color turned the bathroom into a brown and yellow rainbow but on closer inspection you would realize that it was really just a dirty old bathroom hosting a large and gloomy colony of moths.

Only a very few could I identify later though, while looking at a website called "The Bug Guide". I decided that one of the more brightly colored moths we had seen (I found it in the shower!) was probably a False Crocus Geometer (see a picture here). I have never seen so many brightly colored moths at the same time. It was such an amazing bathroom experience! And now back into the realm of birds!

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