Thursday, February 16, 2012

Long-eared Owl last night and Winsor dam this morning.

I went out owling with Ian Davies on Wednesday evening along the rail trail in Amherst.  We started just before 6pm and spent a couple of hours along the trail.  It was dead calm and just above freezing the entire time.  We oddly struck out on getting any Great Horned Owls in areas that they typically would be.  We were beginning to think we would not find a single owl for the night.  After a couple of playbacks of a Long-eared Owl we stood around for a bit and just when we were about to give up on that spot we had a Long-eared give its single hoot call.  The habitat was right for this species and I have had them in the general area in the past.  Long-eared Owl is a very uncommon visitor here and difficult to find.  We attempted playback one more time but had no more success so we left the owl as being heard and not seen.  The only other bird heard the entire evening were some Canada Geese making lots of noise in Hop Brook.

Common Mergansers at Quabbin

This morning dawned cool (low 20’s) and very calm.  Looking up the camera at Quabbin ( I noticed how calm the reservoir appeared.  I decided to make a quick stop at Winsor Dam on my way to work.  The water was indeed like glass there this morning.  I quickly scanned the water and saw nothing initially.  A Bald Eagle sat in the nest that can be viewed from here but I did not see his/her mate.  I then saw a ripple in the water along the shoreline in front of me and two adult male Common Mergansers popped into view, quietly croaking as they worked the shoreline.  I took a quick couple of photos with my phone and then decided I had to head off to work.  It would have been a great day to spend some time around Quabbin with the water being so calm but I could not.

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