Monday, December 10, 2012

I Picked A Partial Path At Peckham Park

Every weekend I  make a choice about where I want to go birding. Sometimes I have a hard time trying to decide where I want to go. I recently visited the James L. Goodwin Forest And Parks Center in Middlefield hoping to get some new ideas.
I like exploring new places but their is a downside to doing that. A lot of times the place I choose doesn't  turn out to be a good birding spot. Lately, I've fallen into a routine of visiting known birding hot spots like Hammonasset or at familiar places close to home. I wanted to break out of the routine so I searched through all the brochures at the center until I found some places that I hadn't visited before.
One of the places in the booklet that was an old trolley line located behind the athletic fields at Peckham Park. It was cleared by the Lion's Club to make a walking trail.
 The first thing that caught my attention was a sign that explained what this pile of junk was. Apparently, the owners of the surrounding land replaced their cattle with 7,000 minks in the 1940's.  All that's left now is these abandoned cages.
The trail quickly enters a deep wooded area as it  passes through wetlands. There were no real surprises in terms of the birds that I saw which included Golden-crowned kinglets, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Brown Creepers, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrows, White-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted titmice, and Black-capped Chickadees. I enjoyed walking the trail of the trolley that never was but I wished that the little bit longer. I'm guessing that it  was less than a half mile long. It amazing how you can find places that have been right under your nose for years.
I took a ride through town to see if I could find any duck ponds.  My journey was temporarily interrupted by a freight train from Providence @ Worcester Railroad that was passing through. There's something about seeing these old trains that brings out the kid in me.
I found this small pond at the entrance of a housing development. I looked across the pond and thought that I saw a diving duck.
When I first looked at this duck I was a little confused. My first impression was that it was a Bufflehead but then realized it didn't look like a female. I am used to seeing adult breeding males with the entire back of their head being white so I was perplexed. I looked in one field guide which didn't have enough detail to slove my mystery but my full sized Sibley showed me that it looks like a 1st winter male. Please don't tell anyone that I was baffled by a Bufflehead!


Jen Sanford said...

Hey Larry, I always love visiting your blog to remind me of home! Great story about the trail- I have friends from Durham and Meriden and I bet they had no idea that trolley trail was there.

Interesting about the Bufflehead- what made you decide it was not a female? I see in Sibley's how the 1st winter males have white splotches similar to the females... But you said you realized it wasn't a female- I'm really trying to learn here, how did you realize this? Now I'm the one baffled over a Bufflehead dang it!

Larry said...

Jen-Thanks about the comments.As far as the Bufflehead-Iwas thinking the white went to far back on the head and that females were duller than that but I'm used to seeing these ducks in the distance during the winter.You have me second guessing so I'll doublecheck-I might have made a mistake.

Jen Sanford said...

Oh dear I wasn't saying you were wrong! I often see a couple males with a billion females and thought that was odd, but I bet some were actually young males.

Larry said...

I'm just saying I might have been a little quick on the draw.Until now I was only aware of breeding males or females that I saw in the winter.I didn't even know about the markings on a 1st winter male.

Jen Sanford said...

Yeah, me neither, I'm glad you shared this!

Unknown said...

Finding places under your nose, that you have never visited is a treat.. It has been a passion of mine since I've retired..
I'll say here too, I liked your Orion shot!