My Life’s Birds: #494-495
January 29, 2010 – Mary Cummings Park and Waltham, Ma – It occurs to me, looking back on my most recent life birds, that about 15 of my last 18 were seen as part of the Bloggerhead Kingbirds Super Bowl of Birding team. It’s hard then, to come up with unique and interesting stories concerning the same cast of characters every time (though this incarnation subtracted Patrick and Quintus and added Mike of Feather and the Flower, John of A DC Birding Blog and Andrew of Birding Dude). It’s also a testimony to the holes in my list just waiting to be filled by a trip to the far north in the inhospitable winter. Also, getting in the field with good birders means good birds more often than not. It’s not much more complicated than that.
In keeping with the precedent set the previous year, Christopher set us up with an owl, this time a little Northern Saw-whet Owl not more than a few hundred meters from the hotel at which we were staying. The bird had been present in this spot for some time, and Christopher had been keeping an eye on it specifically for out viewing pleasure. The little owl looked unsympathetically down at us in that drowsy way that only owls can do, the only clue to its continued presence the splattered whitewash on the branch directly below its perch. A great bird, but not the best of the day.
Christopher had an ace up his sleeve, the kind of bird that can make the folks at home green with jealousy akin to some sort of canned veggie spokescartoon. Because visiting the feeder of a friend in Waltham was one of those birds for which the serious twitchers will make plans to travel to the northeast. It was a Common Chaffinch, a little pink finch that had no business coming to a feeder in suburban Boston. Finches, like waterfowl, offer some interesting questions as to provenance. It turns out that little pink finches are popular cage bird too, and the odds of a legitimately wild bird making it across the Atlantic are complicated by the chances that any one of them are a possible escaped cage bird. Whether or not this one came from such poor stock is still unknown, but it look wild enough. So I’m counting.
More soon. Turns out Massachusetts was very very good to me.