2 Greater White-fronted Geese, 2 Snow Geese, and 2 Canada Geese all foraging together on a local ballfield. Both Greater White-fronted Geese and Snow Geese are rarities here on Cape Cod, so to get such an unusual conglomeration of all 3 Goose species was quite the treat the other morning. Canada Geese are common year-round birds here…Snow Geese, while unusual on Cape Cod, are not completely unheard of…White-fronted Geese, however, are very rare for this area. I didn’t approach the Geese too closely, because I didn’t wan’t to scare them away, so photographs were distant…but this rare grouping of birds was still fun to capture.
This lovely Canada Warbler had the lucky distinction of being my 400th life bird! I was lucky to get some looks at this awesome bird the other morning…he was one of the last few warblers I hadn’t seen yet. I’m not sure how long it will take before I reach 500, but this milestone feels great…I can’t wait to see more!
This beautiful male Blackburnian Warbler was a very special life bird #399 for me and my wife this morning. They are very tough to come by on Cape Cod, so we were very lucky to get a glimpse of this little gem. It wasn’t an amazing photo opportunity, but I was still able to snag a pic before he flew away. This bird was definitely on my target list, and I was super happy to check him off, finally!
In their normal range, Tricolored Herons aren’t all that uncommon, but here in Massachusetts, they are tough to come by…there may be one, or two appearances a year during migration season. I have seen Tricolored Herons before in Florida, so this wasn’t a life bird, but it was a new state bird for me. As their name suggests, Tricolored Herons are multicolored in shades of blue, white, and red. Fortunately, this heron decided to make a stop in a marsh very close to where I live, so I didn’t have to go far to catch a glimpse and get some pictures!
American Woodcocks are strange, secretive birds. The males come out at dusk in springtime to sing and dance for the ladies..They bob up and down, fly around, and make loud, nasal “peeent!” noises. I photographed this one at the edge of the local Walmart parking lot of all places. It’s an odd location to see such an interesting bird, but it lies adjacent to their preferred wet, swampy habitat. The ambient light from the parking lot let me get close enough to get a snap of this one.
As of Today, December 24th, I have seen 247 bird species in Barnstable County, MA in 2014. I got married this year, and had a full time job, and still managed to put up a pretty good number! I did not expect to see so many…and there have definitely been a few challenges, and near-misses. I still have the next week to fill out the list and perhaps hit 250, but most of the remaining birds can be tough to find. I’ve been putting together a list of potential remaining birds for the year…some are more likely than others
…Some target species I need, and can still get with a little luck are:
Among the highlights of the year, all of which were lifers:
-Cape May Warbler
Among the near-misses that eluded me despite my efforts:
This week, a male Tufted Duck has been seen among a raft of Scaup on a pond in my neighborhood. These ducks are Eurasian, and only show up in the U.S. when single individuals get blown across the ocean by the weather…it is a pretty rare event. A rare bird like this draws a lot of attention from birders, and many people travel hours just to get a glimpse of it. Although the duck spends a lot of time sleeping with its head tucked away, I was able to get a distant snap of the duck that clearly shows the “tuft” on its head. Other than the tuft, the main features that separates this duck from the rest of the Scaup are the black back and the sharp white flanks. Fortunately, this pond is 5 minutes from my house, so I did not have to travel far to get a look!
I got a nice close look at this Savannah Sparrow recently…the hint of yellow on their lores is the only bit of color they have, but they have some very crisp lines and details, which makes them easier to ID from further away. This particular bird turned its face into the morning light at just the right moment for me to catch this snap too!
Some video I took recently of Hooded Mergansers doing mating rituals…the males enthusiastically chase the females and bob their heads up and down in an attempt to impress a mate.