Sunday, December 27, 2009

CBC's -- 2 down, 3 to go

On Monday, 12/14 we did our first Christmas Bird Count of the 2009 CBC season. Now I admit to having mixed feelings about CBC's -- on the plus side, it's fun to see what birds hung around, the weather can be great (it's always good to be out in great winter weather) and the compilation can be such fun as people always have their little surprises of what they found -- and it's just good to see some folks you only see occasionally. However, on the less-than-positive side -- the weather can be horrible, doing a CBC makes a busy holiday season seem busier and Mark's tension level rises through the roof (especially when the weather's involved!). So we have been talking about "cutting back" but for this year we're still doing our five usual counts. Here are some of the highlights of the Sturbridge CBC (12/14).......
Turkeys seemed a bit hard to come by.
First time we had Mute Swans in our section (the Brookfields)
Wondering about this late Great Blue Heron's foot....seemed to be having problems.
A female Hooded Merg in a sliver of open water near the southern edge of our territory.
Robins were everywhere...
And the big surprise of the White-winged Dove in Sturbridge (which is still around as of 12/30)
The gang at the compilation at Bill & Nancy's store -- The Bird Store and More -- in Sturbridge.
Just over 30 people turned up 79 species (with 5 additional "count week" sightings). A great showing!

On Saturday (12/19) the Worcester count was held and John Liller reported that 20 birders (plus 3 feeder watchers) reported 76 species. Mark & I do a section covering part of Wachusett Reservoir plus some great areas in Boylston.
A very hungry River Otter kept us entertained for about 15 minutes popping up and down through breaks in the ice.
At the Boylston Town Office complex, a territorial Mockingbird was chasing everyone in sight of
"his" berry bushes.
On the border with Northboro, we found a Carolina Wren....
and a lingering Catbird using the same thickets along a brook.
House Finches seemed a little scarce this year, so I thought this female at least deserved to have her picture taken.......
But, chickadees were everywhere (new high count total of over 1300!)
And Tufted Titmouse put in a good showing as well.
But I couldn't ID this lonely duck on the entrance sign at an elementary school in Boylston.
Robins near the high school on Rt. 70....
where a Red-bellied Woodpecker was acting more like a flicker.
We ended the day with some great views of this soaring adult Bald Eagle as we stopped by South Bay to do a final check of ducks and gulls before heading to the compilation at Broad Meadow Brook.


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