Monday, March 25, 2013

If Its Thursday I Must Be Birding #12

I was monitoring the lists because a Fieldfare, a ABA Code 4 bird had been discovered in Carlisle Massachusetts. Not only is this a great discovery and bird, but it was looking like it was sticking around, I could actually get a life bird out of seeing it, and Thursday was approaching!

But despite looking good, and having made tentative plans with Earic and Gary, the few reports posted were negative. That night we all gathered for the monthly QCBC meeting, and Avian informed me that the bird ~had~ been seen, but by the end of the day. 

Encouraged, Earic, Gary and I made plans to go the next day. The one wrinkle was that I was supposed to have a contractor come do work at 8am. We agreed to leave afterwards, pending the job completion. But as it turns out, they didn't show up despite promising being on time. After an hour of waiting I called, only to  be told that they were emptying the truck at the dump and were on the way. "Never mind" I said, and called Earic and Gary to tell them the news.

I caught both of them in the shower, though to be fair to them, I am fairly certain it was different showers. We met at Mickey Deez an hour later and set off. 

The trip was uneventful, and we arrived to find that there was a stake-out behind a barn on the street; the owner being very accommodating. Word had it that the bird had been revealed to like eating the Barberry, and had been seen coming in twice in the morning with a group of Robins.

Despite being told "authoritatively" the bird would return in about an hour, it did not. And standing around on a stake out for hours can get tedious. We each took walks at various points in the hope of finding the bird at the other previous locations, or at least something interesting. 

In the fields we relocated a singing Norther Shrike. At first it was shy but it eventually found a perch it liked and deigned to permit us closer looks and some photos.

Northern Shrike
Meanwhile back at the ranch, folks were tailing off and giving up. I joined Gary who was not as keen about walking around as we were, and we kept hoping. 

While may people amused themselves in conversation with other birders, I amused myself by observing that they were so preoccupied that if the bird flew in they would miss it.

I was scanning the surrounding trees that had groups of Robins and Blackbirds come and go. From time to time a group would venture down to the Barberry, and we would look at each one hoping it was ~not~ a Robin. 

And then at about 4:30 pm, a group of ~8 Robins beset the Barberry. I looked at each one, and then at the back of the shrub and well hidden was the Fieldfare! I yelled out: "I got it! The bird's in the right bush, in the back center!"  I was very gratified that I got others on it before it left, but the most pleasing aspect of this twitch was that despite chasing someone else's discovery, I was the one to 'find' it. For lifer # 1080, ABA lifer # 690,  it felt good!

I had put my scope away some time before, getting tired of shlepping it around. Another birder some 20' away had his though, and he got on the bird too. From there everyone present including Gary got on the bird. Earic was still off elsewhere, so I called him and he came running. I went over by the horse fence and fired off a couple of hail-mary shots, hoping for something, anything.

And then the bird departed, but before Earic could arrive. We waited around hoping for its return, but Earic got antsy and we walked off again towards the fields of piggery road. And the Gary called.  We ran back as fast as we could but the bird did not stay long. Gary got a good look at the bird perched on a branch, but had put his camera away. 

As is common at these sorts of events, I ran into some old familiar faces. One such was Linda Ferrarasso, who I originally met at her discovery of a Mongolian { now re-named 'Lesser Sand' } Plover in Rhode Island in 1999.  That bird got me my first 'published' photos in Bird Observer and North American Birds. 

Finally, with daylight departing we decided to leave. Maybe the bird would stick around a few more days for Earic?

Crappy shot #1 of a Fieldfare

Crappy shot # 2 of Fieldfare

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