I had seen recent reports from Tom Berriman, that he'd been getting Common Redpolls at his house. I hadn't seen any this year so I made arrangements and met him there this morning. It did not take long for birds to start coming into his feeders. We were watching several species when Tom suddenly said, "Redpoll, in the bush left of the platform". I got onto it and was as excited as any new year bird that I have had this year. I really wanted to see one before the end of this year. We saw 7 more along with the following species:
Mourning Dove- 5
Downy Woodpecker- 1
Hairy Woodpecker- 2
Black-capped Chickadee- 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch- 2
Common Redpoll- 8
Evening Grosbeak- 56 (I had never seen this many of these before today)
We then headed to Moose Bog in Ferdinand. Along the way while driving on Pleasant St. in Island Pond, we saw a group of Redpolls on the road. Tom pulled over and turned off the engine. He relocated the birds under a Pine Tree about 30' from us. We counted 40 Common Redpolls and another frosty white Redpoll. It certainly stood out from the rest of the birds, and as much as I would have liked to call it a Hoary (and it may very well have been one), I could not. We were going to get a look at it through the scope but the birds put up and did not return. I wanted to get more field marks and better looks than the binos could offer. I wanted to clearly see a white unstreaked rump, few to no streaks on the undertail coverts and what I call, a sort of squashed in looking face with a stubbier/smaller bill than the Common Redpolls have. I was not able to see any of those things so I had to let it go as a "possible Hoary".
We then continued toward Moose Bog and stopped at the pullover on the east side of Rte. 105, about 1 mile before South America Pond Road. It did not take more than a couple of minutes for 3 Gray Jays to come over and greet us. It is always such a treat to see them and couple of times they got as close as 10' from us- nice looks.
Then we headed to the Moose Bog trail and birded there for almost 3 hours. It was great weather conditions for this time of year but there were very few birds. We did get a couple of the Boreal species though.
Gray Jay- 2
Common Raven- 1
Black-capped Chickadee- 10
Boreal Chickadee- 1 (it came in with 4 Black-caps)
Brown Creeper- 2
We then headed back to Tom's house and along Kirby Road in East Burke we saw some Wild Turkeys under a bird feeder next to a farmhouse. Tom pulled over and we got out. We were looking toward the feeder when Tom spotted 2 Northern Bobwhites. They were against the foundation of the house and about 10' from the feeder. We then saw a man walking toward us on the walkway in front of the house. I said hello and asked him is he had raised the Bobwhites. He told us that he was not the owner of the farm and that he was just stopping by for a minute. He then told us that there was another farm down the road that did raise Bobwhites. He added that over the years many of them had been released and that he had seen them all over that area. It would have been nice to count one of those two as a year bird but knowing that they had been raised nearby I could not. They were really nice to see though- very beautiful birds. Species there:
Wild Turkey- 7
Northern Bobwhite- 2
Mourning Dove- 27
Hairy Woodpecker- 2
Blue Jay- 1
Black-capped Chickadee- 2
Thank you Tom for showing me a great outing, your kind hospitality and of course for getting me a Common Redpoll !!