My First Day Birding in 2012!

My mother's health issues have prevented me from going birding this year, but since my sister stayed with mom on Saturday and Sunday, and I finally got to visit one of my favorite places in Framingham: the Heron rookery at the Foss Reservoir.  I spend two very happy hours checking out all the herons flying to and from the island in the center of the reservoir.

Unfortunately, the cormorants have returned to the rookery again this year.  As much as I love seeing Double-crested Cormorants down the cape and elsewhere, cormorants nesting in a heron rookery usually means the beginning of the end of the rookery itself.  (see this post for more information on the phenomenon.)

The robins were everywhere, too.  This one appeared to be smiling!

I did see the strangest thing I have seen in the three years I have been observing this island colony - the sudden mass exodus of about fifteen Great Blues!  Something must have frightened them into a mass panic, but I can't imagine what it could be.  There is no way a non-avian predator large enough to threaten a GBH could even gain access to the island.  A Great Horned Owl or an American Eagle might cause such a scare, but I didn't see anything remotely like that in the area.  Most of the herons just flew around the reservoir for a few minutes and then returned to the nests.  One or two just kept one going!

It's been quite a while since I hiked around with that massive lens, and I could tell I was WAY out of practice when it came to shooting pictures.  Most were too blurry and out of focus to post, but I decided to include the last two pictures just for 'proof".  As you can see, the gulls have returned from where ever they were this winter. 

And I saw a couple of male Yellow-shafted Flickers as well.  All in all, it was a spectacular few hours for someone who has been unable to get much beyond the back yard recently.  It was also a learning experience . . . I learned that I had better practice my bird photography pretty darn quick, or Bird-a-thon will be a disaster!

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