Sunday, February 19, 2012

A great morning at Eugene D. Moran Wildlife Management Area

View of Moran WMA from Fobes Hill, Windsor, MA
In the Berkshires overnight. Got up before dawn and arrived at Moran WMA just before sunrise. Northern shrike reported in the area. A nemesis bird.
A great area to visit in the winter. A thick walkable crust of snow with a new inch or so on top. Scrubby edge environment galore.
I started with Fobes Hill, still in shadow.
A dim glimpse of some sort of raptor. Size and shape of a merlin, but don't know for sure. Not much other activity. Moved on to the northern parking lot and started walking down the road. Immediately, familiar Zzzing sounds.

 Waxwings! A gazillion (I counted around 50) in a crab apple tree. Some robins in there too.
Cedar waxwing, Moran WMA, Windsor, MA
They let me get pretty close.
Cedar waxwing, Moran WMA, Windsor, MA
Good views of waxwing crab apple eating styles.

And when you see cedar waxwings in the winter, especially in a boreal-like habitat such as Moran WMA, who might also appear?
Bohemian waxwing, Moran WMA, Windsor, MA
Yes. Their bohemian cousin. Check out the red under-tail coverts.
Beaver dam on Windsor Brook
Given such a snow-less winter in Eastern Mass., it was a delight to see snow-scapes. I made it down to the beginning of the spruce forest before I ran out of time and had to turn back.
Spruce forest, Moran WMA, Windsor, MA
As I trudged through the snow on the way back, I spotted a large gray bird with an up-and-down flight pattern. It landed atop a small tree in the snow-covered meadow and flipped its tail. Well I'll be darned--the northern shrike.
Northern shrike (can't you tell?)
A nemesis bird, finally spotted. Not exactly a high-quality encounter, but an encounter nonetheless. A great morning at Moran WMA.


Larry said...

Some nice birds, especially the Bohemian..very hard to come by this year.

Peter Oehlkers said...

Thanks. Judging from reports from the past two years, I would have expected many more Bohemians at Moran.