Some birds of Merrimac, MA

There are some farm fields not far from Jennifer’s house which have nice tree and brush lines and are a favorite place to bird while allowing the dog to roam to her heart’s content. We spent an hour there the evening before leaving for Vermont and it was a nice productive outing.

I nearly always hear and see Red-bellied Woodpeckers which are pretty special since they hardly ever frequent my Vermont haunts — and sure enough, there were at least three squawking and pecking away. Penny works ahead of me up the windrows of plants and weeds and for a while, all I saw were wings and tails of small brown birds. They were Song Sparrows and a whole host of Dark-eyed Juncos.

Heading up the second open field, two raptors suddenly soared overhead pretty low. I got the bins on them and then tried to frame them in the camera as they circled, often blocked by trees. At first I thought they were Red-tails but there was no red on either tail — and I’m pretty certain that they were Rough-legged Hawks. ( a birder friend, Sue McGrath wrote that they appear to be Red-tails, and I defer to her expertise.) Here’s one of them:

Rough-legged hawk circling farm field in Merrimac.

Red-tailed Hawk circling farm field in Merrimac.

We walked up to the fields on top, enjoying the fall afternoon but not seeing much, but returning, I noticed a couple of birds high in a tree down at the end of the field. The light was awful — I could not figure out what they were as we descended. I got closer and closer, with the dog cruising here and there, figuring that they would get scared off. Finally, almost right below them, I got to a place where the sun was behind me and sure enough, they were a couple of Rusty Blackbirds.

Rusty Blackbird high in tree

Rusty Blackbird high in tree

The truck was parked by an abandoned landfill which often has a lot of birds around it. As we approached, I saw some Tufted Titmice foraging in the leaves but then noted some flashes of blue — brighter than the Titmice. About six Eastern Bluebirds were feeding and being relatively uncooperative for long-range photos. The one I zeroed in on was doing all sorts of grooming but finally slowed down enough for this shot:

This Bluebird spent five minutes grooming, and still has some feathers askew.

This Bluebird spent five minutes grooming, and still has some feathers askew.

I had logged my sightings into Birdlog as we went along and so I submitted the report as I got back to the truck. Just as the report swooshed off, I heard a Pileated Woodpecker – a nice ending to a nice outing.


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One Response to Some birds of Merrimac, MA

  1. Mary Robb Mansfield says:

    Enjoyed your post!

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