Monday, October 17, 2011

Quabbin gates and other spots

White tailed Deer, three of five seen, Quabbin Gate 45, Hardwick, MA, Oct 17,2011

A final day out and about before a busy week at work.  I had the intention to head over toward Hadley to check some of the farm fields for sparrows but got a bit of a later start so I headed to Quabbin instead and made it over to Gate 45 and walked down to a couple of isolated ponds that usually hold some waterfowl and this was indeed the case today.  I had my first of season Ring-necked Ducks (21 of them) as well as Pied billed Grebe, Hooded Mergansers, Black Duck and Wood Duck plus a Double crested Cormorant fishing in a small beaver pond.  There was only a couple small mixed species flocks around in this area today but I had some decent birds with them including Common Yellowthroat, Blue headed Vireos as well as several Yellow rumped Warblers.  A couple of Winter Wrens popped up into view briefly at various locations and a Ruffed Grouse exploded from the undergrowth as I walked by.  I also had a total of five deer cross my path and (unfortunately) noticed a major increase in deer ticks.  I picked off a lucky 13 on me this morning alone while in this area of Quabbin. 

After leaving here I stopped briefly at Winsor Dam and found more Horned and Red-necked Grebes well out in the reservoir.  They appeared to be closer to gate 5 so I headed over to that location to try and get a better view.  I found a total of 21 (!) Horned Grebes there as well as a group of Mallards, three Gadwall and three American Coots out together.  A close Common Loon rounded out the birds of note here.
Wilson after his walk...finally tired out

I next came home and got Wilson and we headed to the Belchertown Land Trust trail to burn up some of his energy and hope my remaining energy held out for the walk.  The best sighting by far here was a Marsh Wren that was located somewhat near a small wetland in the woods.  The bird seemed lighter in the face with less rufous color overall then others I have seen, perhaps a juvenile?  It seemed out of place here and appeared to be associated with a mixed species flock.  Certainly unexpected here as luck would have it I didn't have my camera with me but I did get great looks at it.

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