Crane WMA and more.

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 Hawk flew in low over my head and immediately received attention from a pair of Eastern Kingbirds. 

The kingbirds dive-bombed the hawk for awhile before the hawk flew to another spot, then eventually took off.  One of the kingbirds showed off its little red patch (that I didn't know it had) when it got worked up.

 Bad photo of the red patch

See ya

I never found the Blue Grosbeak that was being seen in the area but it was still a solid morning of birding with two new Barnstable County birds.

That evening my dad and I returned at sunset in hopes of hearing (and maybe seeing) American Woodcocks.  The big fields seemed ideal for woodcock displays and they had been reported a couple times on eBird. 

What I had not counted on was a steady flow of helicopters coming in and then circling before heading to the joint base nearby.  Ugh.  But eventually...

There's only one woodcock peent at the beginning of that video.  We heard two birds for a bit, but they disappeared (or stopped calling) by 9:00. 

I birded other spots around the Cape with my dad while I was there so here are some of the highlights...

Piping Plovers, Dowses Beach

 Pink lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule), Hawthaway Pond

Frog, Hathaway Pond

Great Crested Flycatcher, Long Pasture Wildlife Area

Prairie Warbler, Sandy Neck

 Sandy Neck 

 Red-eyed Vireo, Barnstable Great Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary

 Ovenbirds, Skunknett River Wildlife Sanctuary

Willet, Forest Beach

 So many fiddler crabs, Forest Beach

 Dad, West Barnstable Conservation Area

 Wild Turkey, West Barnstable Conservation Area

 More Cypripedium acaule, WBCA

Lastly, also at the WBCA, was this thrush:

I'm assuming Hermit, but I am not used to having options...

That's it from Massachusetts.  Good times!!!


  1. Some great Eastern favs in this's been a long while since I've seen an Ovenbird!

    1. It had been awhile for me too, and I had never seen one off the ground before!

  2. Pretty sick FJ. I agree about your HERMIT THRUSH ACTION with the contrasting reddish tail, the eastern birds can look pretty different from the coastal western birds. However, before you get arrested by the TOAD POLICE, you should know your frog is not a frog.

    1. Ya know, as I was typing "frog" I thought "that's totally a toad" and then I TYPED IT ANYWAY.

  3. Sweet Overnbird and Grasshopper crushes!

    Is "Lady Slipper" a euphemism? I can see what Georgia O'Keefe was on about now with her stylized (or maybe not) flower renditions.

    1. Get yer mind outta the gutter! These ones actually look like little slippers.

    2. O’Keefe? The gutter!?
      How dare you.

  4. Those little Piping Plovers look super sweet!

    Also I love the photo of the Turkey, just going for a stroll in the nice green forest.

    1. New England has more strolling turkeys than anywhere I know!

  5. So when I was like 7 years old there was a story in Ranger Rick magazine about the animals searching for Pink Lady's Slippers. At the time I got the impression that those flowers were super rare because they were the McGuffin of the story. This is an assumption I have carried into adulthood. Is it true?

    1. I am debating between crushing your dreams and giving it to you straight....

      Meh, dreams shmeams. They're pretty common, at least in eastern Massachusetts the first week of June.


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