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Crane WMA and more.

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While I was visiting my family I made one early solo birding trip to Crane Wildlife Management Area in hopes of finding some different kinds of birds.  The internet describes the area better than I could:  "Crane WMA is largely flat, with dry, sandy soil. Habitats include forested uplands, pitch pine/scrub oak barrens, sandplain grasslands, scattered wetlands, and small forest openings and fields that were once used for vegetable farming and pasturing livestock."


One of the big attractions here is also the most conspicuous:  Grasshopper Sparrows.  They were all over, singing from any perch they could find.


 Eastern Meadowlarks were also around and I did not remember them making such weird sounds. 


In the forested area I found more cool stuff. 

Active Baltimore Oriole nest

Eastern Towhee

Gray Catbird


Field Sparrow

I made a loop back around to the open area where a couple of combos happened.

Eastern Bluebird-Chipping Sparrow combo

Field Sparrow-Mourning Dove combo

A Red-tailed Ha…

Massachusetts yard stuff.

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Most of my time back east was spent at my parents' house on Cape Cod where the yard birds are pretty damn good on there own.  Here's a brief rundown to tide you over until I get to the fun non-yard birds from the Cape.

Baby robins fledged the day before I arrived

Their cozy below-the-deck nest

The grackle king

Eastern Kingbird = cool

Eastern Kingbird on a nest = even cooler

Very well concealed

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Chippy stuffing its cheeks

Baltimore Oriole

My parents attract tons of orioles, both Baltimore and Orchard, with their jelly feeders.  One evening I saw a feather hanging out of the jelly and thought it was an oriole feather, but when I gave it a tug a whole dead baby bird came with it.  :(


Not sure how this scene came about. 


That's it from the yard, the rest of Cape Cod to come soon!  Good times and many thanks to my parents for always keeping their feeders stocked when I'm in town!!!


Vermont!

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Last week while visiting my family in Massachusetts I had a bonus day trip up to Vermont with my brother.  He was doing the final walk through at a house in the woods his family was buying and I tagged along to see Vermont for the first time in 25+ years. 


The weather was familiar, if not ideal, and we spent most of the day getting soaked.  Our first stop was a spot my brother wanted to show me, Quechee Gorge, Vermont's deepest gorge, along the Ottauquechee River. 


We followed the wide trail down to the river and poked around for a bit.


Tadpoles for dayz

We walked back up the trail the other direction to the dam where snapping turtles and birds began to distract us.

Chestnut-sided Warbler!



Past the dam the trail turned grassy with Deweys Pond on one side and the dammed river on the other.  The birds loved this area. 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow


Warbling Vireo snacky

The highlight here was an empid that I was trying to track as it hopped around in dense leaves.  Finally it stopped and…