Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mendon Ponds Park • October 23

After refreshing myself from birding Oatka this morning, Mary Flood and I headed out to Mendon Ponds Park for our first of the season Birdsong Trail bird feeding run. Being much warmer than this morning, and pleasant overall, the trail was *packed* with people feeding the chickadees by hand with sunflower seeds. Thinking the birds would not be too eager for yet another handout, when the first bird I spotted was a white-breasted nuthatch, I casually pulled out my iPod touch to make a note when the nuthatch suddenly tried to land on the iPod! So, I quickly extending a hand of sunflower seed, though *before* turning my camera on and setting it up for a close-in shot. Mary and I were both surprised when the nuthatch almost immediately landed on my hand, took a seed, and flew off! Doh! Missed opportunity, as I didn't end up with a white-breasted shot today. We had a number of white-breasteds land in our hands, but never when the camera was ready. Anyway, we did get several chickadees and then decided to move down the trail past the "Square" onto the more rolling portion of the trail were far fewer people venture. There is a location next to some evergreens that I have found to be *very* popular with the red-breasted nuthatches, which was one of my target species for the trip. Sure enough, when we arrived, a couple of red-breasteds immediately started feeding from our hands and entertaining us with their belligerent behavior to the other birds! :-) Many times we would watch as the nuthatch would shoo away the chickadees from our hands with an angry call. Meanwhile, we started hearing the call of a red-tailed hawk directly over our heads. It was a very impressive sound, except there was no hawk in the area. We finally spotted a jay making the call, perhaps to scare the other birds away so it could have sole access to our sunflower seeds! Unfortunately for the jay, no one was taken in on the ruse today, as there was absolutely no change in bird behavior. After a while, we moved on, though chickadees kept trying to land on our hands, shoulders, heads, etc. We fed them a bit more and then all were satisfied and we finished the trail and moved on to our next destination: Devil's Bathtub.
After admiring the autumn colors at Devil's Bathtub, we decided to bird the Deep Pond Trail that runs right by Devil's Bathtub. This turned out better than we expected! Pileated woodpeckers called out as we left the Bathtub. In short order we reached Deep Pond and turned right. In the cattails along the water's edge just a few feet away we found a red-winged blackbird. A large "arc" (as opposed to a "vee") of Canada geese flew overhead. We peered into the woods on the opposite side of the trail from the pond and saw it was teeming with birds! Robins, woodpeckers, sparrows, and chickadees made up the bulk with some titmice mixed in. As we reached the trailhead by the paved road that leads to Devil's Bathtub, we heard a raven in the distance. We then noticed there was a large swarm of ladybugs in the air and the ladybugs were landing on the various walkers along the trail. I had four or five on me at one point. It was odd to see them flying right at you in such numbers and close proximity that you could study how the shells were lifted up to the sides like gull-wing doors on a DeLorean. (How's *that* for a cultural reference!) :-) To avoid the last bit of trail that is on pavement, we retraced our path and upon passing Devil's Bathtub a second time, we saw a real bonafide red-tailed hawk. All in all, it was a great birding run!

Downy woodpecker

Black-capped chickadee 

Black-capped chickadee 

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Red-breasted nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatch

Black-capped chickadee

Red-breasted nuthatch

Black-capped chickadee

Red-breasted nuthatch

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Red-breasted nuthatch

Devil's Bathtub

Downy woodpecker

Location:     Mendon Ponds Park--Bird Song Trail
Observation date:     10/23/10
Number of species:     12

Canada Goose     5
Red-bellied Woodpecker     2
Downy Woodpecker     4
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     4
American Crow     1
Black-capped Chickadee     20
Tufted Titmouse     2
Red-breasted Nuthatch     2
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
American Robin     1
Dark-eyed Junco     1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Location:     Mendon Ponds Park--Deep Pond Trail
Observation date:     10/23/10
Number of species:     15

Canada Goose     50
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Ring-billed Gull     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     2
Downy Woodpecker     2
Pileated Woodpecker     2
Blue Jay     3
American Crow     3
Common Raven     1
Black-capped Chickadee     10
Tufted Titmouse     2
White-breasted Nuthatch     2
American Robin     10
White-throated Sparrow     5
Red-winged Blackbird     2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)