Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Weekly, volunteers get together to count the various species of birds found at Great Meadows Concord. The results of the census are shared with other Massachusetts birders via the MassBird list. The results are also entered in the ebird a database of North American bird observations sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

Reading the census reports for a day that I've visited the refuge, I've been impressed about how many more species of birds they see. Curious about the process, I joined Kathy Dia, Will Martens, and Alan Bragg in the parking lot at 6:30AM to get a birder's perspective of Great Meadows and learn some of their secrets of success. David Swain joined us in progress and Clayton Swanson's BBC group also provided some observations.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
Front to Back - Will, Kathy & Alan checking out the Wood Ducks on the Cross Dike Trail

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
Looking for the Least Bittern (Not) at the "Poison Ivy Bench"

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
Will and Kathy checking for birds at the Upper Impoundment Spillway

I am glad they allowed me to tag along. I was amazed at how they are able to identify birds. I learned so much. Probably half of the sightings start with recognizing a birds call. How they are able to hear a Willow Flycatcher while all the Red Winged Blackbirds, Robins, Catbirds, and Goldfinches are calling around the refuge at the same time is amazing. Knowing what they are looking for, they can look in the appropriate area to try to see the bird.

Birds in flight were even more amazing. While I was just starting to notice a bird flying, they would generally sight the bird with their binoculars and identify the bird before it disappeared out of view.

Their identifications helped me put names (and quite a few visuals) with the many calls I hear while walking around. This post is a little light on photos since I spent so much of my time observing, and observing the observers. However, I was able to take a few photos to share. (Note any errors in identification are due to my memory, not their skill!)

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
Tree Swallows

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
Downy Woodpecker

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
OSHA would approve - notice the nictating membrane protecting the woodpecker's eye at the moment of impact

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
Black-crowned Night-Heron perched seen from boat landing

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
Juvenile Eastern Wood Pewee

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;
Willow Flycatcher

I had to take a photo of this Common Whitetail dragonfly as it posed on a rock. Normally, you only see them hiding in plain sight on the crushed gravel path. It was so rare to see one on a natural background that I had to take the shot.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110720 &emdash;

These were just a few of the 50 different species they identified today. Here's the full list

Great Meadows NWR--Concord Unit, Middlesex, US-MA
Jul 20, 2011 6:15 AM - 11:15 AM
Protocol: Audubon NWR
200.0 ac
2.4 mile(s)
50 species

Canada Goose 90
Mute Swan 2
Wood Duck 21 7 juveniles
Mallard 10
Hooded Merganser 1
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 8
Green Heron 1 Upper impoundment, 500' out from the tower in the ditch.
Black-crowned Night-Heron 4 3 flyover, 1 perched seen from boat landing
Red-tailed Hawk 1
American Kestrel 1
Killdeer 2
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 6
Least Sandpiper 4
Rock Pigeon 4
Mourning Dove 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 9 1 Juvenile
Northern Flicker 4
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Willow Flycatcher 3 Observed frequent flying to possible nest site in marsh
Eastern Phoebe 3
Eastern Kingbird 5
Warbling Vireo 11
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 5
Tree Swallow 9 Juvenile being fed by adult in maple tree just past kiosk on cross-dike trail
Barn Swallow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 11
Tufted Titmouse 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
Marsh Wren 23
Wood Thrush 2 Juvenile with adult on RR bed near gate.
American Robin 7
Gray Catbird 8
Cedar Waxwing 3
Yellow Warbler 5
Pine Warbler 1 Near Maintenance Shop
Common Yellowthroat 9 Adult feeding juvenile
Chipping Sparrow 2 near Maintenance Shop
Song Sparrow 11 2 Juvenile
Swamp Sparrow 4
Scarlet Tanager 1 near Maintenance Shop
Northern Cardinal 4
Red-winged Blackbird 200
Common Grackle 40
American Goldfinch 15
House Sparrow 1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2 (