Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Arrives!

After almost of week of laryngitis, getting out for some "quiet time" with the birds seemed anticlimactic. Wait, what am I saying? Getting out with the birds is NEVER a disappointment.

We actually started the morning very early (left the house at 3:30 am) to check for owls and woodcock in some of the atlas blocks we're trying to help with in Hampden County. And we had a pretty good showing in Monson; although the woodcock just weren't back in numbers yet. We did have a great pair of Barred Owls "duetting" right next to the pulloff we used on a little back road. All in all a very satisfactory showing and great for adding species to a couple of blocks.On our way back home we decided to recheck some of the ponds and the Quabog River in the Brookfields. The rivers (like the Quabog above) were still quite swollen and we had good numbers of pairs of Common Goldeneye. But for me one of the all-time great signs of spring is the first foal at the Sawmill River miniature horse farm in West Brookfield.

And sure enough there she was....the first of the breeding season. Technically I'm not really sure if it was a she or he, but I'm going to use she for now because it just seems right somehow.
Even Mark (who is totally not impressed by these "mutant equines") laughed at the antics of this less-than-a-week old foal. She just pranced around like the world was hers and since she was the first, she didn't have any competition telling her differently. Of course in 2-3 weeks, she will probably have lots of company to zoom around and play with. Don't know what it is about these little horses, but I really do want one in my life on a regular basis.... Oh well, it's always fun to visit.We also had some great looks at Snipe in the WMA fields across the street from South Pond.
Wow, talk about blending into your surroundings!
Even when you know they're there, it's still hard to refind them when you change your vantage point.
We called it an early birding day, since we had been up since way before dawn and we had a birthday party to go to for our friend Scott Surner out in the Connecticut River valley. I wish I had brought my camera with me, since the photo of Scott "with hair" is priceless! I don't think I've ever laughed that hard in my life. Thank you Jan and Carlos!!!!

When we got home the "supermoon" was still visible and I couldn't resist taking just a few photos. It was pretty magnificent.
On Sunday we decided to check out another block we're doing for the atlas, just to see what the habitat was like. This one is on the southeast coast in Plymouth County, right on the border of Plymouth and Sagamore.
While it was a beautiful day, right along the ocean it was a tad cold and windy. This shot from Sagamore Beach pretty much shows the amount of coast we have going north. As you might imagine quite a bit of the area is marked private, but there are some roads you can poke down.
And we found a great public trail through a phragmites marsh which looked very promising. We had a pair of Catbirds. Although it's hard to tell if they are just overwintering or whether they'll stay in the area to breed.
And we seemed to have a ton of Song Sparrows, most doing their spring song. While I don't think the area is a rich as inland in terms of breeding birds, it will be fun to see what is breeding right along the southeastern coast.
Overall, this was just a real fun weekend....birds, friends and baby miniature horses!


No comments:

Post a Comment