Sightings – Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/6/15

Observation Time: 3:30 p.m.

Observation Location: field near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Eastern Towhee

Scientific Name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Comments: The Eastern Towhee is our largest sparrow. Its song can be remembered easily because it sounds like it is singing, “Drink your tea.”

More Information: All About Birds 

 Towhee

 

Observer: Josh Simons

Observation Date: 5/16/20

Observation Time: 7:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill area

Common Name: Eastern Towhee (female)

Scientific Name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Comments: Towhees are common birds in Sharon, especially along edges between woods and open fields, but they are heard more than seen. The male’s song sounds like he’s singing, “Drink your tea.” They are often seen scratching among dead leaves on the ground, looking for insects to eat.

Towhees are large members of the sparrow family.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Jason Platt

Observation Date: 5/8/18

Observation Time: 10:00 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Eastern Towhee (female)

Scientific Name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Comments: Towhees are common birds in Sharon, especially along edges between woods and open fields, but they are heard more than seen. The male’s song sounds like he’s singing, “Drink your tea.”

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/29/11

Observation Time: 11:40 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Eastern Towhee (female)

Scientific Name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Comments: This female Rufous-sided Towhee chirped “towee” repeatedly as it hopped around in a shrub. It’s a common bird that is heard more than seen. The male’s song sounds like he’s singing, “Drink your tea.”

More Information: All About Birds

Rufous-Sided Towhee (female)

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/23/16

Observation Time: 7:00 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Eastern Wood-Pewee

Scientific Name: Contopus virens

Comments: The unmistakable song of the wood-pewee (“pee-a-wee”) sounds like its name. It’s a member of the flycatcher family that is typically found in or near forested areas.

You can find and play bird songs online. The more bird calls you memorize, the more bird species you will be able to identify in the field, where the birds themselves are often concealed by foliage.

More Information: All About Birds

 

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/24/18

Observation Time: 6:55 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Eastern Wood-Pewee

Scientific Name: Contopus virens

Comments: The unmistakable song of the wood-pewee (“pee-a-wee”) sounds like its name. It’s a member of the flycatcher family that is typically found in or near forested areas.

You can find and play bird songs online. The more bird calls you memorize, the more bird species you will be able to identify in the field, where the birds themselves are often concealed by foliage.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 4/19/15

Observation Time: 4:50 p.m.

Observation Location: field near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Field Sparrow

Scientific Name: Spizella pusilla

Comments: The song of the field sparrow is a series of chirps that gets progressively more rapid like a bouncing ping-pong ball. Check it out at: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Field_Sparrow/sounds

FieldSparrow

 

Observer: Deb Radovsky

Observation Date: 5/12/18

Observation Time: 9:10 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (TTOR), Powerline Trail

Common Name: Field Sparrow

Scientific Name: Spizella pusilla

Comments: The clear trill of the Field Sparrow is a familiar summer sound in brushy fields and roadsides of the East and Midwest. The tempo of its song accelerates like a bouncing ping-pong ball.

More Information: All About Birds

 

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/26/14

Observation Time: 5:55 p.m.

Observation Location: field near Gavins Pond dam

Common Name: Field sparrow

Scientific Name: Spizella pusilla

Comments: The song of a field sparrow starts out slowly and then gets faster, like a bouncing ping-pong ball. There are at least 18 species of sparrows in Massachusetts. Learning their respective calls is a good way to find and identify them.

More Information: All About Birds

Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/27/19

Observation Time: 5:05 p.m.

Observation Location: Rocky bluff under power lines near So. Walpole Street

Common Name: Field Sparrow

Scientific Name: Spizella pusilla

Comments: Field sparrows have a relatively long tail, a thin white eye ring, and a pinkish conical bill. They have a gray face and a rust-colored cap. However, the best way to tell them apart from other sparrows is their song, an accelerating trill reminiscent of a bouncing ping-pong ball.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/2/19

Observation Time: 2:40 p.m.

Observation Location: Rocky bluff under power lines near So. Walpole Street

Common Name: Field Sparrow

Scientific Name: Spizella pusilla

Comments: Field sparrows have a relatively long tail, a thin white eye ring, and a pinkish conical bill. They have a gray face and a rust-colored cap. However, the best way to tell them apart from other sparrows is their song, an accelerating trill reminiscent of a bouncing ping-pong ball.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Josh Simons

Observation Date: 5/12/20

Observation Time: 6:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill area

Common Name: Gray Catbird

Scientific Name: Dumetella carolinensis

Comments: Catbirds are one of three mimics in our area. Mockingbirds and Brown Thrashers are the other two. Catbirds repeat sounds just once, whereas Brown Thrashers repeat sounds twice, and Mockingbirds repeat them three or four times before moving on to the next sound. Sometimes you can hear the calls of other common birds echoed in the calls of these mimics.

Catbirds also make a “mewing” sound, hence their name.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/9/13

Observation Time: 1:55 p.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Road (back yard)

Common Name: Gray Catbird

Scientific Name: Dumetella carolinensis

Comments: Catbirds are one of three mimics in our area. Mockingbirds and Brown Thrashers are the other two. Catbirds repeat sounds just once, whereas Brown Thrashers repeat sounds twice, and Mockingbirds repeat them three or four times before moving on to the next sound. Sometimes you can hear the calls of other common birds echoed in the calls of these mimics.

Catbirds also make a “mewing” sound, hence their name.

More Information: All About Birds

Gray Catbird

Observer: Ilan Fisher

Observation Date: 8/28/20

Observation Time: 2:00 p.m.

Observation Location: near intersection of Beach & Harding Streets

Common Name: Gray Catbird

Scientific Name: Dumetella carolinensis

Comments: Catbirds are one of three mimics in our area. Mockingbirds and Brown Thrashers are the other two. Catbirds repeat sounds just once, whereas Brown Thrashers repeat sounds twice, and Mockingbirds repeat them three or four times before moving on to the next sound. Sometimes you can hear the calls of other common birds echoed in the calls of these mimics.

Catbirds also make a “mewing” sound, hence their name.

Catbirds are mostly gray with a dark cap, but they also have a striking rusty-red patch on the underside of the base of the tail.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 11/11/12

Observation Time: 4:25 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: Great Blue Heron

Scientific Name: Ardea herodias

Comments: These magnificent birds are often seen wading in shallow ponds looking for a meal of fish, frogs, snakes, and even small mammals.

More Information: All About Birds

Great Blue Heron

Observer: Alison Siegel

Observation Date: 4/16/10

Observation Time: 6:00 a.m.

Observation Location:

Common Name: Great Blue Heron

Scientific Name: Ardea herodias

Comments: Great Blue Heron was walking across beach off of Lakeview Street in shallow water.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/26/10

Observation Time: 5:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Great Blue Heron

Scientific Name: Ardea herodias

Comments: Great blue herons primarily feed on small fish, but they are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever comes within striking distance. They occasionally snack on shrimp, crabs, small mammals, amphibians, small birds, rodents, and insects.

More Information: All About Birds

Great Blue Heron

Observer: Ilan Fisher

Observation Date: 7/20/14

Observation Time: 12:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Massapoag Ave/Community center

Common Name: Great Blue Heron

Scientific Name: Ardea herodias

Comments: Probably checking out Sucker Brook, which flows into Lake Massapoag nearby, for a snack.

More Information: All About Birds

Great Blue Heron

Observer: Ilan Fisher

Observation Date: 8/20/20

Observation Time: 10:00 a.m.

Observation Location: Lake Massapoag

Common Name: Great Blue Heron

Scientific Name: Ardea herodias

Comments: Adult great blue herons weigh about 5 lbs. They weigh more than great horned owls, which weigh about 3 lbs., but they are not the largest bird found in Sharon. Bald eagles can reach 14 lbs.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/15/13

Observation Time: 1:40 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Great Blue Heron Rookery

Scientific Name: Ardea herodias

Comments: These three juvenile herons were occupying a huge nest in a big tree, waiting for their parents to bring food. They will fly away soon to fend for themselves.

Note the eyes of the right-most bird in the photo. Being able to look down has obvious utility for a wading hunter. Although Great Blue Herons have a wingspan of around six feet, they only weigh about five pounds because they have hollow bones. This helps them fly. They can live up to 24 years, according to banding records.

Great Blue Herons prey on fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, rodents, and even birds.

More Information: All About Birds

Great Blue Heron Rookery

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/26/10

Observation Time: 3:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Great Blue Heron Rookery

Scientific Name: Ardea herodias

Comments: Comments: The great blue heron nest shown in the photos below was part of a rookery consisting of many heron nests clustered in a pine grove.

While walking in the woods on a summer afternoon, we heard a clattering cacaphony, and followed out ears to find out what was making the racket. We came to a place where the forest floor was splotched in white guano. We looked up and saw many huge nests scattered among the tall pine trees.

It appears from the photo that the juvenile herons were as interested in us as we were in them. Note how their eyes stick out a little and are able to swivel so they can peer downwards. I imagine this trait is useful when the herons are wading around the edge of a pond looking for fish.

This observation occurred late in the nesting season when the young herons were almost ready to fly away.

More Information: All About Birds

Great Blue Heron Rookery

Great Blue Heron Rookery

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/11/18

Observation Time: 2:30 p.m.

Observation Location: meadow at Lakeview & Morse (see photo below)

Common Name: Great crested flycatcher

Scientific Name: Myiarchus crinitus

Comments: The great-crested flycatcher has a pale yellow breast. The memory hook I use to remember its call is “weep, weep, weep.”

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/15/20

Observation Time: 8:45 a.m.

Observation Location: conservation land near Lakeview & Morse Sts.

Common Name: Great crested flycatcher

Scientific Name: Myiarchus crinitus

Comments: The great-crested flycatcher has a pale yellow breast. The underside of its tail is reddish brown.

The memory hook I use to remember its call is “weep, weep, weep.”

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/26/14

Observation Time: 11:45 a.m.

Observation Location: Borderland State Park

Common Name: Great crested flycatcher

Scientific Name: Myiarchus crinitus

Comments: The great-crested flycatcher has a pale yellow breast. The memory hook I use to remember its call is “weep, weep, weep.”

More Information: All About Birds

Great Crested Flycatcher

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/27/19

Observation Time: 5:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Rocky bluff under power lines near So. Walpole St.

Common Name: Great Crested flycatcher

Scientific Name: Myiarchus crinitus

Comments: The great-crested flycatcher has a pale yellow breast. The underside of its tail is reddish brown.

The memory hook I use to remember its call is “weep, weep, weep.”

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Josh Simons

Observation Date: 7/2/20

Observation Time: 3:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill area

Common Name: Great crested flycatcher

Scientific Name: Myiarchus crinitus

Comments: The great-crested flycatcher has a pale yellow breast. The underside of its tail is reddish brown.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/21/12

Observation Time: 5:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Great Egret

Scientific Name: Ardea alba

Comments: The great egret, symbol of the National Audubon Society, is almost as big as a great blue heron, but it is pure white. The legs are black and the beak is yellow. They summer in North America, where they nest, and winter in Central and South America.

Great egrets are easily confused with the white-phase great blue heron, but great egrets have black legs while white-phase great blue herons have much lighter legs. Herons also have slightly heavier beaks and “shaggier” feathers on their breast.

More Information: All About Birds

Great Egret

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 4/17/16

Observation Time: 11:00 a.m.

Observation Location: woods near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Great Horned Owl

Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus

Comments: Half-grown owlet on a branch with its mother, which is partially obscured by branches.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 1/20/10

Observation Time: 4:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Ward’s Berry Farm

Common Name: Greater White-fronted Goose

Scientific Name: Anser albifrons

Comments: Note the white at the base of the beak, the mottled breast and the orange legs that differentiate the white-fronted goose from the Canada geese with which it was mingling.

More Information: All About Birds: Greater White-fronted Goose

Greater White-Fronted Goose

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 12/14/09

Observation Time: 1:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Wolomolopoag Pond

Common Name: Greater White-fronted Goose

Scientific Name: Anser albifrons

Comments: White-fronted geese, barnacle geese, and snow geese, which summer in the arctic, depend on Sharon’s open spaces for winter refuge. Catching a glimpse of one is a reminder of the role Sharon’s open spaces play in global ecosystems. Scan flocks of Canada geese for one that looks different.

More Information: All About Birds: Greater White-fronted Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose

Observer: Will Sweet

Observation Date: 2/22/09

Observation Time: 9:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Ward’s Fields

Common Name: Greater White-fronted Goose

Scientific Name: Anser albifrons

Comments: The Greater White-fronted Goose I saw was with about 180 Canada Geese. This is at least the second individual this winter. The other one was seen from November to mid December

More Information: All About Birds: Greater White-fronted Goose

Observer: Keevin Geller

Observation Date: 8/5/13

Observation Time: 5:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Saw Mill Pond, Sharon

Common Name: Green Heron

Scientific Name: Butorides virescens

Comments: Green Herons are common breeders in coastal and inland wetlands. They nest along swamps, marshes, lakes, ponds, impoundments, and other wet habitats with trees and shrubs to provide secluded nest sites. They may even nest in dry woods and orchards as long as there is water nearby for foraging. Green Herons spend the winter in southern coastal areas of their range, and in marine and freshwater habitat throughout Mexico and Central America.

More Information: Cornell Lab of Ornithology “All About Birds”

Green Heron

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/13/19

Observation Time: 11:00 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Hairy Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Picoides villosus

Comments: Hairy woodpeckers look like downy woodpeckers, but they are larger. This one worked for hours to hollow out a hole for nesting high up in a dead tree. Woodpecker species can be differentiated by the drumming sound they make, as well as their calls.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/6/10

Observation Time: 8:50 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Hairy Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Picoides villosus

Comments: Hairy woodpeckers look like downy woodpeckers, but they are larger.

More Information: All About Birds

Hairy Woodpecker

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 11/14/10

Observation Time: 9:15 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Hooded merganser

Scientific Name: Lophodytes cucullatus

Comments: Hooded mergansers are diving ducks. The drake (male) has a spectacular white “hood” on the back of its head, and striking black and white bars on its body, while the female is drab reddish brown.

“A small fish-eating duck of wooded ponds, the Hooded Merganser nests in holes in trees. It is frequently seen on shallow waters where its only waterfowl companion is the Wood Duck.” – All About Birds

More Information: All About Birds

Hooded Merganser

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 3/10/10

Observation Time: 1:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Hooded merganser

Scientific Name: Lophodytes cucullatus

Comments: I observed two males and a female hooded merganser diving frequently. Also saw one common merganser, several ring-necked ducks, and a pair of wood ducks among a large number of Canada geese.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Ilan Fisher

Observation Date: 3/8/20

Observation Time: 3:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Car Shop Pond

Common Name: Hooded merganser

Scientific Name: Lophodytes cucullatus

Comments: Check out the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnoGijQwyvw

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 11/17/12

Observation Time: 4:45 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Hooded Merganser (male)

Scientific Name: Lophodytes cucullatus

Comments: Hooded mergansers are small but striking diving ducks that migrate through Sharon on their way south for the winter.

More Information: All About Birds

Hooded Merganser (male)

Hooded Merganser (male)

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/2/20

Observation Time: 7:45 a.m.

Observation Location: Ward’s Berry Farm

Common Name: House Finch

Scientific Name: Setophaga discolor

Comments: Male house finches have reddish coloration on their head and breast. Females are brown. Both have a heavy, conical beak for cracking seeds open.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/5/18

Observation Time: 8:05 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: House Finch

Scientific Name: Setophaga discolor

Comments: Male house finches have reddish coloration on their head and breast. Females are brown. Both have a heavy, conical beak for cracking seeds open.

More Information: All About Birds

 

 

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/17/13

Observation Time: 4:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area

Common Name: House Finch

Scientific Name: Setophaga discolor

Comments: Male house finches have reddish coloration on their head and breast. Females are brown. Both have a heavy, conical beak for cracking seeds open.

More Information: All About Birds

House Finch

House Finch

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/13/13

Observation Time: noon

Observation Location: Gavins Pond soccer fields

Common Name: House Finch (female)

Scientific Name: Setophaga discolor

Comments: Male house finches have reddish coloration on their head and breast. Females are brown. Both have a heavy, conical beak for cracking seeds open.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/11/19

Observation Time: 10:50 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: House Wren

Scientific Name: Troglodytes aedon

Comments: This house wren was nowhere near a human habitation. House wrens often fill bluebird nesting boxes chock full of twigs, presumably to prevent other birds from nesting in their territory.

More Information: All About Birds.org

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/13/16

Observation Time: 1:05 p.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Rd., backyard garden

Common Name: House Wren

Scientific Name: Troglodytes aedon

Comments: A plain brown bird with an effervescent voice, the House Wren is a common backyard bird over nearly the entire Western Hemisphere. Listen for its rush-and-jumble song in summer and you’ll find this species zipping through shrubs and low tree branches, snatching at insects.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Josh Simons

Observation Date: 6/9/20

Observation Time: 9:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill area

Common Name: House Wren

Scientific Name: Troglodytes aedon

Comments: House wrens often fill bluebird nesting boxes chock full of twigs, presumably to prevent other birds from nesting in their territory. They have a harsh, jumbled scolding call. Learn it and you will find them around town.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Jason Platt

Observation Date: 5/8/18

Observation Time: 7:00 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: House Wren

Scientific Name: Troglodytes aedon

Comments: House Wrens have a huge geographic range, and they live in many habitats, so long as they feature trees, shrubs, and tangles interspersed with clearings. Examples range from eastern deciduous forests and southern swamps to western conifer forests and aspen groves as high as 10,000 feet elevation. Because they’re cavity nesters, House Wrens thrive around buildings, yards, farms, and other human habitations with their many nooks and crannies.

More Information: All About Birds.org

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/21/20

Observation Time: 9:20 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (TTOR)

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: Indigo Buntings are actually black; the diffraction of light through their feathers makes them look blue. This explains why males can appear as various hues from turquoise to black. Note the different color of the bird in the last photo below. These photos are all of the same bird.

Indigo buntings are more common now than when the pilgrims first landed. This is due to an increase in their favorite habitat of woodland edges, power line clearings and along roads.

They migrate at night, using the pattern of stars nearest the North Star to guide them. In captivity, these birds will become disoriented if they can’t see the stars in April/May and September/October.

A group of buntings are collectively known as a “decoration”, a “mural”, or a “sacrifice” of buntings.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/22/18

Observation Time: 8:15 a.m.

Observation Location: under the powerlines near Moose Hill Farm (TTOR)

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: Only the male indigo bunting is blue. The female is brown. Indigo buntings are members of the family Cardinalidae, which includes cardinals.

More Information: All About Birds

 

Observer: Deb Radovsky

Observation Date: 5/24/18

Observation Time: N/A

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm, Powerline Trail

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: Like all other blue birds, Indigo Buntings lack blue pigment. Their jewel-like color comes instead from microscopic structures in the feathers that refract and reflect blue light, much like the airborne particles that cause the sky to look blue.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Deb Radovsky

Observation Date: 5/27/18

Observation Time: 7:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm, Old Farm Trail

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: Sometimes nicknamed “blue canaries,” these brilliantly colored yet common and widespread birds whistle their bouncy songs through the late spring and summer all over eastern North America. Look for Indigo Buntings in weedy fields and shrubby areas under power lines, singing from dawn to dusk atop the tallest perch in sight or foraging for seeds and insects in low vegetation.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/30/14

Observation Time: 11:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Under the powerlines near Walpole St.

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: Only the male indigo bunting is blue. The female is brown. Indigo buntings are members of the family Cardinalidae, which includes cardinals.

More Information: All About Birds

Indigo Bunting

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/30/20

Observation Time: 2:45 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (TTOR)

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: Male indigo buntings are actually black; the diffraction of light through their feathers makes them look blue. This explains why males can appear as various hues from turquoise to black.

Female indigo buntings are brown (see photos below).

More Information: All About Birds

Male:

Female:

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/18/16

Observation Time: 3:55 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm, Trustees of Reservations

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: Indigo Buntings are actually black; the diffraction of light through their feathers makes them look blue. This explains why males can appear as various hues from turquoise to black.

They are more common now than when the pilgrims first landed. This is due to an increase in their favorite habitat of woodland edges, such as power line clearings and along roads.

They migrate at night, using the pattern of stars nearest the North Star to guide them. In captivity, these birds will become disoriented if they can’t see the stars in April/May and September/October.

A group of buntings are collectively known as a “decoration”, a “mural”, or a “sacrifice” of buntings.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/25/16

Observation Time: 12:55 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Street under high tension wires

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: In parts of the East, Indigo Bunting may be the most abundant songbird, with the deep-blue males singing along every roadside. The plain brown females are seen far less often, and they have good reason to be inconspicuous: they do almost all the work of caring for the eggs and young, hidden away in dense thickets. This species favors brushy edges rather than unbroken forest, and is probably far more common today than when the Pilgrims landed.

More Information: Audubon Guide to North American Birds

Observer: Molly DellaRoman

Observation Date: 7/11/13

Observation Time: 3:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Trustees of Reservations Moose Hill Farm

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Patti Austin

Observation Date: 7/20/10

Observation Time: 4:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary – back yard

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: WOW!

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/5/09

Observation Time: 1:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm, Trustees of Reservations

Common Name: Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Comments: Indigo Buntings are actually black; the diffraction of light through their feathers makes them look blue. This explains why males can appear as various hues from turquoise to black.

They are more common now than when the pilgrims first landed. This is due to an increase in their favorite habitat of woodland edges, such as power line clearings and along roads.

They migrate at night, using the pattern of stars nearest the North Star to guide them. In captivity, these birds will become disoriented if they can’t see the stars in April/May and September/October.

A group of buntings are collectively known as a “decoration”, a “mural”, or a “sacrifice” of buntings.

More Information: All About Birds

Indigo Bunting

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 4/13/13

Observation Time: 6:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Field near Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: American Kestrel

Scientific Name: Falco sparverius

Comments: I was puzzled that five of the six bluebird houses that I checked were empty in mid-April when nesting should have been in full-swing. Then I saw a kestrel (a.k.a sparrow hawk) in a tree by the field. You can tell it’s a male by the blue wings.

Kestrels are the smallest falcons. They are declining in parts of their range.

More Information: All About Birds

Kestrel

Kestrel

Kestrel

Kestrel

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/5/10

Observation Time: 5:35 p.m.

Observation Location: Ward’s Berry Farm

Common Name: Killdeer

Scientific Name: Charadrius vociferus

Comments: This “freshwater sandpiper” was attracted to a puddle in Ward’s field during hot dry weather. A member of the plover family, killdeers lay their camouflaged eggs on the ground without bothering to make a nest.

More Information: Wikipedia

Killdeer

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/18/14

Observation Time: 2:48 p.m.

Observation Place: near Lake Massapoag boat ramp

Common Name: Killdeer

Scientific Name: Charadrius vociferus

Comments: The name “killdeer” comes from their call. Listen to the recording at the link below so you will recognize it when you hear it.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Deb Radovsky

Observation Date: 12/14/17

Observation Time: sunset

Observation Location: Lake Massapoag

Common Name: Lesser Scaup

Scientific Name: Aythya affinis

Comments: The peaked profile of the heads indicates that these are Lesser Scaups. Greater Scaups have a rounder head.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Liam Waters

Observation Date: 5/13/14

Observation Time: 6:50 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Lincoln’s sparrow

Scientific Name: Melospiza lincolnii

Comments: This unusual sparrow was spotted on a morning walk at Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. These walks take place at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in May. Dawn walks at Moose Hill are memorable experiences due to the diversity of bird life, the expert birders who help with identification, and the beautiful surroundings. Check with Moose Hill for confirmation.

More Information: All About Birds

Lincoln's Sparrow

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/11/19

Observation Time: 8:15 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Magnolia Warbler

Scientific Name: Setophaga magnolia

Comments: These gorgeous little birds pass through Sharon in early May on their northward migration. Learn to recognize their song to improve your chances of seeing one early on a clear morning at the end of April or in early May.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/13/14

Observation Time: 1:45 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Magnolia warbler

Scientific Name: Setophaga magnolia

Comments: Magnolia warblers are striking birds, but they are hard to photograph because these nervous little birds move constantly.

More Information: All About Birds

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/13/19

Observation Time: 8:20 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Magnolia Warbler

Scientific Name: Setophaga magnolia

Comments: These gorgeous little birds pass through Sharon in early May on their northward migration. Learn to recognize their song to improve your chances of seeing one.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/24/18

Observation Time: 8:10 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Magnolia Warbler

Scientific Name: Setophaga magnolia

Comments: Magnolia warblers are striking birds, but they are hard to photograph because they don’t hold still. Warblers migrate through Sharon in late April through May, feeding primarily on insects and spiders to maintain their strength for the long flight north. After the leaves come out, warblers are especially hard to see up in the trees. You can find them easier if you memorize their respective songs.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/8/19

Observation Time: 7:55 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Magnolia Warbler

Scientific Name: Setophaga magnolia

Comments: Warblers are like jewels in the woods. I was very lucky to get this shot, but those who spend time looking around outdoors, especially on sunny mornings in early May, are treated to sightings like this once in a while.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 1/20/10

Observation Time: 3:55 p.m.

Observation Location: Knifeshop Pond, Ames Street

Common Name: Mallard

Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos

Comments: The Mallard is a rare example of both Allen’s Rule and Bergmann’s Rule in birds. Bergmann’s Rule, which states that polar forms tend to be larger than related ones from warmer climates, has numerous examples in birds. Allen’s Rule says that appendages like ears tend to be smaller in polar forms to minimize heat loss, and larger in tropical and desert equivalents to facilitate heat diffusion, and that the polar taxa are stockier overall. Examples of this rule in birds are rare, as they lack external ears. However, the bill of ducks is very well supplied with blood vessels and is vulnerable to cold.

The size of the Mallard varies clinally, and birds from Greenland, although larger than birds further south, have smaller bills and are stockier. It is sometimes separated as subspecies Greenland Mallard.

-Source: Wikipedia

More Information: All About Birds

Mallard

Observer: Ilan Fisher

Observation Date: 8/28/20

Observation Time: 12:00 p.m.

Observation Location: near intersection of Beach & Harding Streets

Common Name: Mallard

Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos

Comments: Perhaps the most familiar of all ducks, Mallards occur throughout North America and Eurasia in ponds and parks as well as wilder wetlands and estuaries. The male’s gleaming green head, gray flanks, and black tail-curl arguably make it the most easily identified duck. Mallards have long been hunted for the table, and almost all domestic ducks come from this species.

More Information: All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/13/19

Observation Time: 7:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Mourning Dove

Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura

Comments: The mourning dove is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American bird species. It is also a leading gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure is due to its prolific breeding; in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods of two young each in a single year.

More Information: Wikipedia or All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/15/20

Observation Time: 9:30 a.m.

Observation Location: parking area by Lake Massapoag boat ramp

Common Name: Mourning Dove

Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura

Comments: The mourning dove is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American bird species. It is also a leading gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure is due to its prolific breeding; in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods of two young each in a single year.

More Information: Wikipedia or All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/2/19

Observation Time: 1:10 p.m.

Observation Location: beneath the high tension wires that parallel So. Walpole St.

Common Name: Mourning Dove

Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura

Comments: The mourning dove is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American bird species. It is also a leading gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure is due to its prolific breeding; in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods of two young each in a single year.

More Information: Wikipedia or All About Birds

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/2/10

Observation Time: 8:40 a.m.

Observation Location: near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Mourning Dove

Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura

Comments: The mourning dove is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American bird species. It is also a leading gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure is due to its prolific breeding; in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods of two young each in a single year.

More Information: Wikipedia or All About Birds

Mourning Dove

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 1/20/10

Observation Time: 3:55 p.m.

Observation Location: on the ice at Knifeshop Pond, Ames Street

Common Name: Muscovy Duck

Scientific Name: Cairina moschata

Comments: The Muscovy Duck is a large duck native to Mexico and Central and South America. A small wild population reaches into the United States in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. There also are feral breeding populations in North America in and around public parks in nearly every state of the USA and in the Canadian provinces; feral populations also exist in Europe. Although the Muscovy Duck is a tropical bird, it adapts to icy and snowy conditions down to –12°C (10°F) and below without ill effects. — Wikipedia

More Information: Avian Web

Muscovy Duck

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 10/21/14

Observation Time: 5:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Mute Swan

Scientific Name: Cygnus olor

Comments: Swans are powerful birds that will attack humans if they feel threatened. Don’t allow your children to approach them.

More Information: All About Birds

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