Sunday, March 11, 2012

Connecticut River valley waterfowl

Common Mergansers, Arcadia near Oxbow-Easthampton, MA, Mar 11, 2012
I began the first day of daylight savings time by heading out predawn toward the Connecticut River to see what I could find for waterfowl.  I made a few stops before dawn to see if I could find any owls.  No luck with the owls but I had several 'peenting' American Woodcocks at various places.  My first stop for waterfowl was Hadley Cove which had a nice selection of birds including a pair of Wood Ducks, a doze Green-winged Teal, a few Black Ducks and Mallards and 550+ Canada Geese.  There were likely even more birds but I could not view the entire cove.  I then headed over the river to the oxbow in Northampton and had 106 Common Mergansers, a couple Hooded Mergansers, Mallards and a couple hundred Canada Geese.  The nearby Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary had a few hundred more Canada Geese, some Mallards, half a dozen Hooded Mergansers, five Wood Ducks and a dozen Common Mergansers plus a Mute Swan.  All the geese lifted off heading north and east at around 8am. 

Pied-billed Grebe, Great Pond, Hatfield, MA, Mar 11, 2012

Arcadia meadows, Northampton, MA, Mar 11, 2012

I then headed north through Hatfield stopping at Great Pond where I had a Pied-billed Grebe, seven Wood Ducks, four Common Mergansers, seven Hooded Mergansers and eight each of Black Duck and Mallard.  In addition there were three River Otters following each other around on the far end of the pond.  I checked fields in Hatfield, Whately, and Deerfield as I headed north but found no fields with any waterfowl at all...none of the fields later in the morning in Sunderland, Hadley or Amherst had any waterfowl either...odd.  I made it as far north as Turners Falls stopping first at the power canal which had a half dozen Ring-necked Ducks, a Common Mergansers, a Hooded Merganser and six Common Goldeneyes plus a single Canada Goose.   I then made a brief stop at Barton's Cove which was relatively quiet birdwise as there were boats out on the water.  Even with the human activity there were six Mute Swans, 40 Ring-necked Ducks, 28 Common Mergansers and a few mallards and geese.  I then headed south stopping at Lake Warner in Hadley and finding seven Hooded Mergansers, a few Common Mergansers, 28 Wood Ducks, five Green-winged Teal, a Mute Swan and a few Mallards and Canada Geese.  There were also three very vocal Killdeer following each other around and a calling Golden-crowned Kinglet. 

Canada Geese (one with odd coloration), UMASS campus pond, Amherst, MA, Mar 11, 2012

Canada Geese (one with odd coloration), UMASS campus pond, Amherst, MA, Mar 11, 2012

Cedar Waxwing,  UMASS campus pond, Amherst, MA, Mar 11, 2012

Cedar Waxwing, UMASS campus pond, Amherst, MA, Mar 11, 2012
I then made a stop at the UMASS campus pond and had the usual Mallards as well as a large group (1100+) of Canada Geese including a few with some additional white coloration on their heads and necks.  The Peregrine Falcon was perched right next to its nest box during my entire time here.  I tried for the reported Bohemian Waxwings found here yesterday but only found Cedar Waxwings.  Although I didn't see the bohemians the number of Cedar Waxwings totalled at least 134.  A brief stop at winsor dam right before I got home was uneventful.  Overall a nice day to be outside as the temperatures made it into the 50's, the sun shined throughout and the wind didn't kick up as much as I expected it to.

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