Thursday, 5 September 2013

Boston + Spectacle Island - 22.8.13

Cedar Waxwing
Cooper's Hawk
Black Swallowtail?
Grey Catbird
American Robin
American Goldfinch + House Finch
Ring-Billed Gull
Northern Mockingbird
Double-Crested Cormorants
Mourning Dove
Song Sparrow
Monarch Butterfly
Whilst on yesterdays whale cruise we travelled past a group of small islands some of which you could visit so after a quick breakfast we wandered up to the quay where the boat travelled from. On the way 2 Peregrine Falcon flew over and a male Northern Cardinal sang from a roadside tree. After booking our tickets we had a short wait till the boat sailed so we waited in Chris Colombus park. Within minutes I noticed a BLUE JAY foraging in the grass then fly up to feed a young bird in a nearby tree. Shortly after I heard an unfamiliar call from overhead which got closer till a group of 6 birds landed on some weeds in a flower bed and once in the bins I saw that it was a family party of AMERICAN GOLDFINCH including a cracking male. 5+ Ring-Billed Gull were around the harbour. It was then time to go to Spectacle Island and after 20 minutes we had arrived. The first bird I saw was an adult Laughing Gull on the pier and then the next 4 hours it went tick crazy! By the visitors centre an adult Red-winged Blackbird was feeding with more American Goldfinches. 2 Mourning Dove flew over closely followed by my first ever Monarch Butterfly and presumably Black Swallowtail that fluttered by. A handful of hirundines above the trees contained at least 3 TREE SWALLOW and a few yards down the path I noticed a small group of birds fly catching from the tree tops. They were only 6 CEDAR WAXWING!! I watched them for a good 5 minutes before I realised I'd been bitten on the leg by a Horse fly. I stopped at a bench to apply some bite cream when suddenly all the small birds became agitated and when I looked up I saw the reason why. A COOPER'S HAWK was patrolling the skies. I went and had another quick look at the waxwings and up popped a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER. The hirundine flock then moved overhead again and with them was a single CLIFF SWALLOW along with their American Barn Swallow cousins. It was 10 minutes later before more ticks came my way when an EASTERN KINGBIRD sat alongside the path in a small copse of trees. Also in the copse were 2 more lifers with a GREY CATBIRD and a LEAST FLYCATCHER along with a juv American Robin. We then headed back to the visitor centre and a Chimney Swift flew over. Once back at the centre I sat down at a picnic bench to watch the birds coming down to feed on presumably seed put out for them. 5 Mourning Dove were joined by a handful of American Goldfinch and then I realised some of the grey/brown birds were actually HOUSE FINCH. I'd seen the bird in the UK down in Devon but these were the first confirmed wild birds I'd seen. All of a sudden I realised there was a sparrow sp in front of me. A quick check of my book and the black spot on the front of the breast surrounded by heavy streaking told me it was a SONG SPARROW. I managed a half decent pic but the boat was on its way back so I packed away my camera gear. This turned out to be fatal as after a Northern Mockingbird showed distantly another sparrow sp dropped in as I was walking away. This one I knew straight away what it was after seeing photos of this species after they had turned up on the Azores. It was a LINCOLN'S SPARROW but with me having to walk by to get to the boat it flew up and out of sight. A truly great 4 hours!

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