Friday, December 28, 2012

Adding Birds #90 and #91 to My Year List

A light dusting of snow covers a field at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, Massachusetts. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.
I recently made it out to Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, Massachusetts, for a quick birding trip. Moose Hill has always been a special place for me, I've been going there practically my entire life, and when I was in college I worked as a counselor at the nature camp one summer. While I may not often have as many species at the end of a typical outing at this location as I would perhaps at other places, it does offer diverse habitat, including pine and mixed woodlands, wetlands, streams and fields. In the spring and summer it's one of my favorite spots to watch Tree Swallows, Eastern Blue Birds and Baltimore Orioles and in the winter I can always count on lively mixed foraging flocks and occasional surprises.

On this most recent visit I spent about fifteen minutes outside the nature center watching the feeders. In addition to the usual suspects - Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Juncos and American Goldfinch, I was also delighted to come across a Carolina Wren, which was bird number 90 for me for the year. As I continued watching the feeders I heard a familiar grunting/croaking call overhead - I immediately thought "raven !"  and looked up to see a large black bird soaring overhead. Through my binoculars I could see its wedge-shaped tail, and as the bird turned and made an acrobatic dive, wings held gracefully back, I was sure I was looking at a bird I have seen many times in southern California and the Middle East, but only rarely in New England. With that sighting I hit 91 species for the year.

I spent the next 45 minutes or so wandering around, taking in the quiet, snow-dusted scenery. As I walked along I was accompanied most of the way by the cheerful song of chickadees and the semi-maniacal calls of the nuthatch. It was a nice day to be outside.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

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