Friday, March 30, 2012

Amherst to Turners Falls and back

Song Sparrow singing at dawn, rail trial, Amherst, MA, Mar 30, 2012

Wood Duck, rail trial, Amherst, MA, Mar 30, 2012
I spent the morning travelling from Amherst/Hadley up through Hatfield to Turners Falls and back down through Amherst.  I began at dawn on the rail trail in Amherst beginning at Station Road and going up to Hop Brook and back.  The morning started off quite cool with a slight breeze.  The best bird was a Sora that whinnied once.  Oddly in the same area was a Starling that gave a perfect imitation of the short Sora call.  I believe the actual Sora used this call once in response to the Starling...very unusual to witness!  You don't need to use playback, you just need a starling with you!  I next travelled over to Hadley Cove and had a total of 33 Green-winged Teal here plus several Wood Ducks and a few mallards.

Rusty Blackbird, Great Pond, Hatfield, MA, Mar 30, 2012

I then crossed the river and headed up to Great Pond in Hatfield. There was little in the way of waterfowl here (a pair each of Green-winged Teal and Wood Ducks). There were however some good birds around. One of the first birds I saw was a Yellow-rumped Warbler (the third warbler species for the month of March). Once down at the pond I started hearing Rusty Blackbirds and had a few fairly close for a short time before they flew across the pond. There were at least sixteen rusties here and almost certainly more as they moved around quite a bit and the bad light made it tough to view some areas. Glad to see there are still some around. 

I then headed north up to Turner's Falls to check Barton's Cove and the power canal.  When I arrived on the Gill side I ran into James Smith.  There was a pair of Ring-necked Ducks, a few Mallards, a couple Mute and 80+ Canada Geese including a neck tagged individual.  It was too far away to see well from the Gill side so I headed over the bridge.  The goose had a red neck tag with white writing with the code "F5C4" plus a federal leg tag I was unable to read.  I reported the bird to the federal banding website  and will update when and if I get info back.  There was also a leg banded goose in the group that I could read partially.  The numbers on the aluminum band on that individual was "1078" but that was all I could see...not enough to report. 

A quick stop at the power canal produced little waterfowl but did find 49 Tree Swallows feeding low over the water.

Other brief stops on my way south produced little of note.  There were oddly no groups of geese found in any of the fields I passed during my entire morning.  I assume a large number of the geese have already moved north.

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