Notes From The Field

Grasslands/Wetlands Series

Shaker Trace Wetlands/ Fernald Preserve

Part 2

It was really starting to warm up as I made my way to Fernald Preserve Saturday afternoon. I had already emptied my water bottle, and even though it wasn’t a very hot day the sun was unrelenting. The area I was hoping to bird  in has no cover, and since Dickcissels, Blue Grosbeaks and Grasshopper Sparrows were my photographic target birds I had to go where the birds were. My time at Fernald was going to be short, due to the fact that I was meeting Kathy at her parent’s house for a late lunch. So I got truckin’ with my gear in tow.

IMG_2720Eastern Kingbirds will breed in open, grassy areas much like the habitat found at Fernald Preserve, however they can be found feeding in and around bodies of water, like this bird.

After leaving the Visitors Center behind, the open grasslands of Fernald open up on both sides of the trail. Being late morning and early afternoon I wasn’t sure how my luck would be on the Grasshopper Sparrow. In the past I’ve had pretty good luck with catching them perched on the end of a bush of branch singing away, however things were quieting down as I made my way out into the grasslands.

Dickcissels, Red-winged Black Birds, Eastern Bluebirds, Song Sparrows, Tree Swallows, Killdeers, and Eastern Meadowlarks were the dominate species seen. Only one Grasshopper Sparrow was spotted, and as I reacted to bring up my digiscoping rig the bird dove back into the tall grass never to be seen, or heard again.

IMG_2751An Eastern Bluebird guarding it’s nest box.

IMG_2735I watched this Brown Thrasher for several minutes as it went from one side of the trail to the next before it settled down on this nest box. And it never let go of whatever it has in it’s beak.

IMG_2754Eastern Meadowlark

As for my other target bird for the day, the Blue grosbeak, a lone bird perched on an electrical wire some distance away was my only consolation. Posting a photograph would only show a black speck on a wire. Not exactly what I was looking for.

As I walked further and further the heat and sun were taking its toll onme. So I found a shady spot and parked my butt and waited till my fatigue lapsed. Continued exploration of Fernald without water would have been a stupid mistake. So I wisely exercised my options and decided to head back to the car and search (in vain) for Grasshopper Sparrows along the way.

DSCN1184Dickcissel perched perfectly.

It was pretty much the same kind of bird activity as when I went out. I really do like early morning for when I’m looking for those reclusive sparrows. It’s not that you can’t find them, it’s just that I think they become less vocal, which in turn makes them more difficult to spot. When they sing I’ve noticed their teed up on the top of some vegetation where they’re easy to pick up.

IMG_2718Caught this one of many Cedar Waxwings that were feeding in a Mulberry Tree on the entrance road into Fernald Preserve.

As the appointed hour approached I reluctantly departed for the day. Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Great Egret
  2. Great Blue Heron
  3. Green Heron
  4. Mallard
  5. Wood Duck
  6. Blue-winged Teal
  7. Song Sparrow
  8. Chipping Sparrow
  9. Henslow’s Sparrow
  10. Field Sparrow
  11. Grasshopper Sparrow
  12. American Kestrel
  13. Turkey Vulture
  14. Canada Goose
  15. Mourning Dove
  16. Eastern Bluebird
  17. Dickcissel
  18. Common Yellowthroat
  19. Brown thrasher
  20. Robin
  21. Brown-headed Cowbird
  22. Common Grackle
  23. Red-winged Black Bird
  24. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  25. Tree Swallow
  26. Barn Swallow
  27. Purple Martin
  28. Eastern Towhee
  29. Yellow-breasted Chat
  30. Yellow warbler
  31. Gray Catbird
  32. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  33. Blue Grosbeak
  34. Indigo Bunting
  35. Willow Flycatcher
  36. Eastern Kingbird
  37. Orchard Oriole
  38. Baltimore Oriole
  39. Chimney Swift
  40. Eastern Meadowlark
  41. Northern Cardinal
  42. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  43. Cedar waxwing
  44. American Goldfinch
  45. American Kestrel
  46. Belted Kingfisher
  47. Spotted Sandpiper
  48. Common Crow
  49. Northern Mockingbird
  50. Killdeer
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