Southern Birds

Mary and I drove three hours southeast to northern Massachusetts yesterday and it is like we became southerners.  Not only have we changed stick season’s chilly rain and fog for mid-seventies and pretty foliage, I’m hearing and seeing birds that I thought I had seen the last of until spring.  Seven Eastern Bluebirds this morning!

I have a walk from Jen’s house that I take nearly every morning I’m visiting — it’s a little over a mile down a busy road lined with oaks and often, very birdy.  I got out yesterday morning early before the homeowners got their leaf blowers going, and before the traffic picked up.  In spite of fog and a little drizzle, what a mix of bird noises greeted me.

We get a lot of Tufted Titmice here and I love their feistiness and constant chipping and singing.  They are sparse in our Vermont woods but dozens were out and about, and a couple were pretty brassy, watching me at about eye level.   I heard, and saw the whole woodpecker gang, missing only a Pileated.  The other real noisy bird was a crew of White-breasted Nuthatches joined by a couple of Red-breasted cousins.  Here’s the list from the hour-long walk:

Cooper’s Hawk  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  2
American Crow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  13
Tufted Titmouse  6
Red-breasted Nuthatch  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  6
Eastern Bluebird  6
American Robin  6
European Starling  12
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2
Dark-eyed Junco  6
Northern Cardinal  4

Later, Mary and I drove over to Cherry Hill Reservoir after doing some errands.  There were lots of ducks on the water but the light was horrible.  We did see a cooperative Northern Mockingbird who posed on a fence rail for quite some time, but flew off just as I got my digiscoping rig set up.  We also saw a duck species I hadn’t seen since 2010 in Texas — Ruddy Duck.  I took some photos through the scope but the light is not helpful other than for identification.

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Ducks are one of the “stiff-tailed” ducks.

We are going to be here for several more days so I hope to get out to Plum Island and up the Cape Ann to see what migration may be bringing in. Check back here for results.

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