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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Petersham MA June 17-21, 2011

We recently went running at Trout Brook Conservation Area where we found among other things: 1 Veery (heard), 1 Scarlet Tanager (heard), 1 Prairie Warbler (heard), 2 Barred Owls and best of all a LIFE BIRD Northern Goshawk.

We got a very quick glimpse of the goshawk flying low over head calling! Although the lighting was bad we could just see the gray on it's belly. The other main factor of the identification was the call which perfectly matched recordings of goshawks on our ipods.

The Barred Owls were the only other highlights of the run. I spotted both of the owls. The first one I saw fly to and land on a branch close to the path while chickadees angrily scolded it. It provided great views and even our dog saw it! We could still hear chickadees chattering at it somewhere deeper in the woods when we ran by the spot again. The other owl we found thirty minutes later. This one was much harder to see and not all of us saw it. It flew off soon after we spotted it.

A few days ago we visited our grandparents in Petersham, Massachusetts. There were many really nice bird species, the best being a Barred Owl which I heard hooting while hanging out in the backyard.

The best day of the five day visit was when Theo (our dog) and John (me) went for a walk down into the wet grass, mist and Bobolinks of the North Common Meadows Reservation. The mist was so thick that we couldn't even see the far side of the meadows.
If you study the photo that I took there I bet that you can't see the far side either!

There was grass (not surprisingly, don't forget that it was a meadow) and Bobolinks every where: fluttering about in loose flocks, swaying slowly back and forth (the grass was swaying not the Bobolinks), males chasing the females back and forth, singing their luxurious, bubbling song (this was also the grass) and generally being lazy.

Theo studying a Bobolink

Down by the pond we found: Alder Flycatcher (heard), Eastern Kingbird, Swamp Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat among other things. Both me and Theo saw the Swamp Sparrow; it was the first one I have ever seen in Petersham.

The only other really exciting walk we did was when we visited the nearby town of Amherst where I spotted a probable life bird Louisiana Waterthrush. Although I didn't get a photo of the bird I got a video of it, which clearly shows the main field marks: the pure white eye stripe (the Northern Waterthrush has a dull brown white eye stripe) and the habitat. This bird which we discovered at Amethyst Brook Conservation Area was searching for food along the rocky shores bordering the fast flowing water of Amethyst Brook. I am fairly certain that this is a Louisiana opposed to Northern Waterthrush.

Other highlights of the visit included a probable Snowshoe Hare which would be a life bunny and a life butterfly Harris' Checkerspot which we found in large numbers in the Bobolink field.
Snowshoe Hare?

Harris' Checkerspot note unusual blotch of green on the wing

It was a somewhat extremely exciting vacation!

1 comment:

  1. John-Be aware that some mature Cooper's can have very light red vermiculation on chest and belly. Also it certainly appears to me that Cooper's calls can be similar to that of the Gos. Notice: I will never say that you have identified a bird improperly - unless I am with you in the field, and (this is of course is important) we are onto the same bird. The Best- Nelson Briefer- Goshawk specialist.