Friday, 6 September 2013

Boston - 21.8.13

Red-Winged Blackbird, Common Grackle + View of Boston
Our first full day in Boston and we had pre booked a whale watching cruise out of the harbour. Even early in the morning it was boiling hot but thankfully once out of the harbour the cool wind picked up and for a few hours we were able to escape the heat. American Herring and Ring-Billed Gulls were everywhere and 7 Canada Geese were in the harbour. After 5 minutes of sailing the first good bird of the day was seen when a Bonaparte's Gull flew behind the boat. As we sailed past the islands offshore I had a scan and picked out my first ever AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER. What I didn't realise was that this would be the only identified wader I would see all throughout my holiday! 3 Eider then flew alongside and past us and a handful of Gannet appeared. Just then the boat suddenly stopped and a just to one side of us was a Basking Shark. It obviously didn't want to be seen as it immediately dived and disappeared. Eventually some 20 miles offshore we saw the main prize when a Humpback Whale jumped out of the water and cam splashing down. Over the next hour or so we watched two of them as they broke the waters surface showing their hump backs and large tails. They were identified by the crew as Silla and Pinball. The commotion had brought in 25+ Wilson's Petrel that danced on the water around the whales. As we headed back to shore a Minke Whale put in as brief an appearance as the Basking Shark. 2 Sandwich Tern and a juv Laughing Gull were seen.

Back in the city and the heat again hit us so we bought some water and headed to Beacon Park to sit in the shade of the trees. As soon as we walked in my first COMMON GRACKLE was feeding with Starlings. Eventually I realised there were quite a few dotted around. As we sat by the lake in the public gardens 5 more lifers made into my notebook. A RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD landed by the waters edge for a drink and a MOURNING DOVE flew overhead. I then noticed up above the trees were 12 CHIMNEY SWIFT and they looked just as they are described as flying cigars! A male NORTHERN CARDINAL then made his presence known by calling loudly. An unknown warbler sp then flew past me but I couldn't relocate it and just as we were heading to the Cheers Bar of TV fame across the road a stunning RED-TAILED HAWK flew past and perched up in trees by the path.

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