Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stuck In Marsh & Hairy Woodpecker Video

The marsh area seen in this photo borders Pecausett Pond , a tidal cove which is connected to the Connecticut River by way of a small stream. The cove is popular among fishermen, especially for ice fishing during the winter months. I accessed the area from Grove Street in Portland. There was no established trail so I had to fight my way through prickers and flooded woodlands to reach the marsh. I saw a few interesting birds. There was a Sharp-shinned Hawk picking at some food source on the ground , 2 sub-adult Bald Eagles perched in trees at the edge of the pond, Turkey Vultures circling overhead, and a few Eastern Bluebirds moving about in the area. I walked slowly across the marsh towards the edge of the pond hoping I could get close enough to take some pictures of some of the birds I mentioned. The dead vegetation may look dry but about half way across I sunk down into the mud up to my knees. After that, all I was worried about was getting back to my truck safely. It took some time but I eventually found my way back out. I noticed that the Middlesex Land Trust bought some of the surrounding land. This would make a nice place make an early morning visit if a boardwalk could be built for improved access to the area.

I've been using Google Earth trying to find new areas to explore along the Connecticut River. It's given me some ideas for places to explore but sometimes they're not what I expected when I get there. This male Northern Flicker has been showing up at our suet feeder throughout the winter. My wife is always happy when it shows up for a visit. I thought that I would post his picture before Spring officially arrives (click on the photo for greater detail).

Here is a video of a Hairy Woodpecker that I encountered while walking along a trail in Meshomasic State Forest. Hairy Woodpeckers are larger than downies but their size seems to vary among individuals. In field guides the Hairy Woodpecker's bill length is described as being almost the same length as their head but the bill length seems to vary too. When you see a hairy side by side with a downy the difference in size and bill length really stands out. The female in this video was repeatedly making her loud peek! call while excavating a hole in a tree. It's usually this call that helps me locate Hairy Woodpeckers. I also saw 3 Brown Creepers and my first Chipping Sparrow of the year in the same stretch of woods.


Jayne said...

A Flicker at your suet feeder? Wow! That's cool.

I've yet to see a Hairy in my neck of the woods. Enjoyed the video Larry.

Chris said...

Hi Larry,
nice post once again and I WOULD definitively love to see a flicker at my feeders (I do not have any you know that, does not work in Iceland ;-) )... This bird is just majestic and your picture gorgeous! Gosh I love that!

John (Tucker) said...

Great flicker picture! I feel that spring is close at hand in southern New England. Great story too!

Dan Huber said...

sounds like a nice but messy spot. it's amazing how many great spots are in our local area.
we have also had a pair of flickers throughout the winter, but with springlike weather, havent seen them for a week.
great video too


Ruth said...

Spring is coming on so quickly here in Ontario. I need to get out to check for migrants who may be arriving earlier than usual. Our Flickers leave for the winter but should be back soon with the Sapsuckers.

Larry said...

Jayne-thanks-A flicker is a nice bird to have visiting your feeders.

Chris-Thanks-you reminded me to click on my own photo-it came out pretty good for a cloudy day.They are an interesting woodpecker to see when you get a close look at them.

John-I'm getting the same feeling.I wish this weekend wasn't going to be a rainout.

Dan-.I like reading about new local areas that you explore and post on your blog. That is one of my favorite parts of Connecticut birding.

Ruth-The weather has been strange all around this winter.I didn't realize flickers occurred that far north.

Lana Gramlich said...

I hear you about Google Earth. I should have realized things weren't as they seemed when I looked at our house & all they showed was the driveway. <:\ Still, not bad for some rough investigating, anyway!

MaineBirder said...

That's what you have to do sometimes in finding birds. Go into the most inaccessible places and you usually come back out happy.

I photographed a male Northern Flicker last week in our yard. First I have seen since last fall.