We started with a quick stop at Lake Quaboag and quickly moved on to Quabbin where we had this pair of Common Mergansers looking very at home just below us at the Administration Building....they're obviously going to be nesting somewhere nearby.
We stopped in the Federated Women's State Forest in Petersham to check for more dragonflies and noticed the first Foamflower blooming.
Our final big push was to drive one of the major roads in Rutland State Park -- Whitehall Road.
On Sunday we had a class trip to the Quaboag area which I've already blogged about. But on Monday, May 19th, Mark and I headed to north Worcester County to Otter River State Park. There are wonderful dirt roads to drive and we planned to check it out before leading a future class trip to the area. We had been here on the 11th so we wanted to see how things were progressing. Unfortunately we did NOT have the singing Mourning Warbler so it most likely was just a very early migrant.
And the photo below is one of the reasons this blog is so late. I cannot identify this dragonfly! I think it's one of the clubtail species (probably Ashy or Dusky) but I keep finding field marks that contradict my id each time I study the enlarged photos. So for now please enjoy this close photo of a dragonfly which is driving me crazy!
Probably my best sighting of this trip was coming across a pair of HUGE Snapping Turtles just as they were about to mate. I kept my distance but sat down to get some great close photos of these two.
Our mid-week quick morning trip (Wednesday, May 21st) was to Oxbow NWR. Obviously still hunting for Ringed Boghaunters...and still coming home empty handed. We did get some nice migrant warblers, along with the local residents like this Yellow Warbler though.
Since we had a class trip on Saturday locally, we decided to head out to the Berkshires ourselves on Sunday (5-25) to check out Beartown State Forest in Great Barrington and Monterey. If all the roads looked good we would try to lead a migration class trip out there the following weekend. We did and I blogged about that separately already. But here are some of the photos from our pre-class trip.
We also came across lots of Red Efts crossing the roads...which is always disconcerting since they are so small and you don't even see them when you're driving the back dirt roads all the time. The unusual thing about this little guy is his tail. It was obviously torn off at some point and has started to grow back.
This Juvenal's Duskywing seemed to sit up and pose for this photo...usually they're laying flat on the dirt road and I don't get such good looks.
The last trip I want to talk about in this blog was taken on Monday (5/26). But since the day before had been a long one, we decided to keep it fairly local. We planned to stay in the Ware River watershed and focus on the two roads that are outside of Rutland State Park. We started in the north on Gilbert Road, but when we got to the area on Grainger Road, we found the gates closed. So we decided to head out to Barton Cove and check out the Miller's River for dragonflies. On the way back we checked a few places in Erving and then we stopped in Gate 33 at the north end of Quabbin. The weather was on and off showers, but we had a good day despite the weather.
While Mark walked in to check the Great Blue Heron rookery along the Mid-State Trail I stayed near a beaver pond to check for some dragonflies. While I didn't get one single ode I did have a pair of beaver busily working on their lodge and their multiple dams. I stayed rather quiet and they didn't seem to mind my being there. Although at one point 3 people came by on horses and one of the beavers took to some very loud tail slapping which frightened one of the horses.
So that's it...5 little trips (some not so little) to 5 different areas. Other than the Beartown trip, all were within Central MA too. It continues to amaze me with what can be found not too far at all from Worcester!