Saturday, March 25, 2017

Brig 3/25--Osprey, Clapper Rail, Laughing Gull

The annual, obligatory Osprey photograph
Attention all photographers: It's over. Today I took THE photograph of an Osprey, the quintessential, definitive, nominative, photograph of an Osprey, so there is no need for anyone to take any more pictures of this species, anywhere, at any time. You can safely delete all the photographs you have stored on disk, on your computer, on thumb drives and in the cloud and can now go about taking pictures of butterflies or orchids or sunsets--whatever you like so long as it isn't an Osprey. No need to any longer clog up the road at Brig, or anywhere else, taking pictures of the bird on its nest because it is easy and sits still for hours while you hold down the shutter button on cameras with enormous, howitzer-likes lenses until your finger goes numb; no longer necessary to get bleary-eyed scrolling through the thousands of photos you shot in rapid-fire bursts, trying to determine if one picture taken 1/100 of second after the the previous picture is somehow "better" than the picture taken 1/100 of a second later. I have taken the only picture needed henceforth. I have performed this service selflessly, with all good intentions and with a pure heart. You're welcome. Now stop it.

Shari & I joined Mike on his semi-monthly tour de dikes of Brig today where Osprey was one of 3 year birds for us--we also heard a Clapper Rail (4 people in the group simultaneously named it when it called on the south dike) and saw, on the 2nd trip around the Wildlife Drive, 2 Laughing Gulls, perhaps a tad early, but not early enough to make a big deal out of them.

Shari, of course, was ready to go home when we found a trio of American Oystercatchers on the south dike. We had heard one that seemed to fly behind a muddy mound on the bay side while so I walked down the dike to get different angle and flushed a couple of Savannah Sparrows, which were year birds for some in the group, including Mike. Better yet, at least one of them was of the Ipswich sub-species.

There were still a lot of ducks there as well as Snow Geese. Tundra Swans have left. Shorebirds, aside from the oystercatchers and a couple of snipe that I missed were absent. Have the Dunlin already departed for northern climes? This will all change dramatically, one assumes, in the next couple of weeks. I may even take a walk in the woods there, one weekday, seeking early warblers.

Shari & I missed the big excitement of the day--a Golden Eagle flying over the exits ponds--a good number of our party got on it, but by the time I was even aware that the bird was being seen--I was searching for coots--it was "above the white cloud" and all I saw, looking into the blue, was floaters.

But 3 year birds at this time of year, before migration has begun, is a pretty good day. Our list:
Snow Geese with dirty faces

58 species
Snow Goose 1600 Spread out all through refuge
Brant 85
Canada Goose 30
Mute Swan 5
Wood Duck 2
Gadwall 20
American Black Duck 150
Mallard 20
Northern Shoveler 60
Northern Pintail 50
Green-winged Teal 50
Canvasback 23
Ring-necked Duck 5
Greater Scaup 10
Bufflehead 20
Hooded Merganser 2 SE Pool
Red-breasted Merganser 3
Ruddy Duck 2
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Double-crested Cormorant 18
Great Blue Heron 6
Great Egret 7
Turkey Vulture 5
Osprey 4
Northern Harrier 2
Cooper's Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 4
Clapper Rail 1 Heard
American Oystercatcher 7
Laughing Gull 2
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 30
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Mourning Dove 1
Downy Woodpecker 1 Gull Pond
Northern Flicker 1
Peregrine Falcon 2 Hacking tower
Eastern Phoebe 2 Heard
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 4
Fish Crow 20
Tree Swallow 20
Carolina Chickadee 2 Heard
Tufted Titmouse 2 Heard
Carolina Wren 2 Heard
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 Heard, parking lot
Eastern Bluebird 1 Box in field by Visitor's Center
American Robin 1
European Starling 5
Pine Warbler 2 Heard
Savannah Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 1 Heard
Northern Cardinal 2 Heard
Red-winged Blackbird 100
Boat-tailed Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 1 Heard
House Finch 2

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