Winter Woods Birds

carmel terrace downy
Even the Sudbury River near Carmel Terrace was frozen on Saturday! We did manage to get some pretty active Downy woodpecker action in the woods on the steep river bank, though.

carmel terrace downy 2
Not quite sure why he's going into the black hole. (Black hole! Pretty funny, huh?)

carmel terrace downy flying
You don't see them like this everyday! He's flying straight up from one branch to another!

carmel terrace downy 3
He is peeking at something through the branches. I love the black and white eye ring - it gives him such a sweet looking expression.

carmel terrace nuthatch
Tom managed to capture this White-breasted Nuthatch. He also snapped a shot of a Red-breasted Nuthatch, but it was too blurry to post. I never even saw the guy!


Last duck show for the year?

pintail grist mill II
Yesterday all my favorite sites were frozen over and barren of bird life. I hope the rain brings everything back to normal. but just in case here's another look at last weeks duck species bonanza. This is the perfect Northern Pintail.

male female hoodies
Male and Female Hooded Mergansers - don't you love 'em?

wigeon 3
Male American Wigeon in first winter plumage.

grist mill mallards
Mallard mates.

common hooded merganser
Last weekend's winter wonderland of ducks and geese; now a frozen wasteland.


Pintails, Wigeons, and Mergansers

male pintail female merganser
Two of my favorite ducks together in one shot. The elegant and gorgeous Northern Pintail, and the always adorable female Hooded Merganser.

pintail grist mill sudbury
I saw my first Pintail this year, but the pictures I took then were deplorable. But isn't he a stunning fellow in this shot?

female hooded merganser
How can anyone not love a hoodie? Female Hooded Mergansers always make me smile. They are amusing and adorable, and I can't help thinking of the 'I Love Lucy' show whenever I see one.

I saw my first wigeon about a month ago, and I'm thrilled to finally get a few half decent shots of this species. An adult male and an adult female are in ront, a first winter male in the back.

The green crescent sported by male wigeons remind me of a tonsured monk for some reason.


A brand new bird species in Massachusetts!

possible canada goose hybrid
I thought, at first, that I had finally caught sight of one of the rare geese in the area. This bird wasn't in any of my field guides, though, so I knew it was either a strangely mutated Canada Goose (which seemed unlikely considering the shape and size of the bill, which looked like a whole different species of goose), or a Canada Goose hybrid. It turns out to be a hybrid of a Canada Goose and some other goose.

white headed canada goose 3
The pictures are horrible, so you'll have to take my word for it when I say it looks very much like the head of a Snow Goose attached to a Canada Goose's body. A little bit disturbing, actually! I found out that geese do hybridize quite a bit, and I even found a picture of one like this one: Bill Schmoker's possible Canada x Snow Goose

whiteheaded canada goose
Jim Berry, from the massbird email list, said that "the size of this goose (same as the Canadas) implies that it's a hybrid with a white domestic goose". He could very well be right.

whiteheaded canada goose 2
The black bill and small head has me thinking Snow Goose X Canada Goose hybrid still, but you know me - I always go straight for the exotic if at all possible!


Funny Feeder Birds!

nuthatch foliage
Funny Bird #1:
Upside down Nuthatch in front of the last lingering foliage.

sparrow finch titmouse
Funny Birds 2:
Happy looking House Sparrow, House Finch, and Tufted Titmouse chowing down.

house sparrow female
Funny Bird #3
Female House Sparrow staking out her feeder spot.

spinning chickadee
Funny Bird 4:
Spinning Black-capped Chickadee.


Snow Goose!

snow goose
Snow Goose! A LIFE-LISTER FOR ME! The photo quality is pretty horrible, but the lighting was poor and we were very far away from the goose.

sudbury snow goose canada goose
Snow Geese breed in the arctic, and are rare in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, they are all too common elsewhere, and their population explosion in recent years threatens the very arctic lands they need in order to breed.

snow goose and canada geese
The Snow Goose with two friendly Canada Geese in Sudbury, MA. We were thrilled to see this beautiful bird. After seeing him, it seems all the more tragic that drastic methods such as allowing spring hunting of Snow Geese is necessary to keep the population in check.

They really are quite lovely. I wish I had better pictures so you could see for yourselves.

snow goose in the sun
It seems strange to think that this one little white goose is such a problem - even more of a problem than the hundreds of Canada Geese blanketing the landscape. Very sad, in any case.


Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wishing Everyone a Happy Turkey Day!

Have a nice Turkey Day!
Wild Turkey at Nauset beach September 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Wild Turkey at Nauset beach September 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!
Wild Turkey at Broadmoor Audubon Sanctuary 03/2010

Happy Turkey Day Again!
Wild Turkey off Grove Street in Framingham, MA.


Winter Finches have arrived!

house finch bushes
Winter Finches have taken over! They are all over the feeders as I start another year of Project Feederwatch backyard bird counts.

house finch red cedar
Seen in my very popular Eastern Red Cedar tree. There are usually bunches of birds hidden in the inner branches, invisible to the human eye.

feeder finch
Through the window shot.

Finch on the bottles 2
Empty Pepsi bottles are strung along the feeder line, effectively eliminating squirrels from any of those feeders. They don't even try any more!

A lone goldfinch to round out the bunch. There was also a single purple finch, but he wouldn't sit still for a photo.


Cold Weather Backyard Birds

closeup jay
He's checking me out - and not overly pleased with the result.

drinking jay
Throwing water down his throat.

female house sparrow feeder
Just a house sparrow, I know, but pretty nonetheless.

november nuthatch
I saw my Red-breasted Nuthatch yesterday, but couldn't get a photo. The White-breasted performed nicely.

november nuthatch II
There were actually three White-breasted Nuthatches eating suet yesterday.


Concord and Sudbury

dancing mallards concord
I could barely hold my camera in the gusty wind, but despite a little blur I really liked this image.

immature mute swan
A family of Mute Swans flew in while I was there, making so much noise I thought there must be a dozen or more. In fact, there was only five; one adult and four juveniles. The juvenile swans will turn white over the winter.

domestic goose
Hager Pond in Sudbury, MA is right next to a nice looking restaurant, and the fenced in pond contains quite a few domestic ducks and geese. I truly hope they aren't there in case a customer orders a duck dinner!

male mallard sudbury
AN interesting view of the male Mallard's head feathers. The feathers are shaped in such a way that they sometimes appear green, sometimes blue, and sometimes both! The male Mallard's head feather's are actually black.

A lone leaf blown onto the water.