Monday, March 19, 2012

Quabbin Park, rail trail and home

Eastern Phoebe, Rail Trail-Amherst, MA, Mar 19, 2012

Ring-necked Ducks, Quabbin Park, Mar 19, 2012
I intended to look for waterfowl first thing this morning but the dense fog of the last few days struck again.  I did manage a little birding at the Route 9 marsh and had the largest group yet of Ring-necked Ducks there (22) as well as Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Mallards and Canada Geese including the tagged individual first seen there in February (E878).  I added a flyby Tree Swallow and a pair of Belted Kingfishers chasing each other at Quabbin Park but the fog was tough to get through. 

Mallard in fog, Rail Trail-Amherst, MA, Mar 19, 2012

Downy Woodpecker, Rail Trail-Amherst, MA, Mar 19, 2012

Eastern Bluebird excavating nest hole, Rail Trail-Amherst, MA, Mar 19, 2012

Hermit Thrush, Rail Trail-Amherst, MA, Mar 19, 2012
I decided to try my luck in the Hadley/Amherst area.  The fog was only worse there and none of the fields or coves could be seen due to the fog.  I headed up toward UMASS and the fog lifted a bit, at least enough to check the pond there.  Little activity beyond the usual 'stuff' there.  I then decided to try the rail trail from Station Road.  The fog was not nearly as thick over there and it lifted after about 20 minutes there.  Lots of Tree Swallows, Northern Flickers and Eastern Phoebes around.  A pair of Eastern Bluebirds were busy excavating out a nest hole in an old stump, a White-throated Sparrow called a few times and Song Sparrows were everywhere.  There was a single Hermit Thrush near the Hop Brook bridge as well as at least two Eastern Meadowlarks singing.  I next headed back home to get Wilson and we headed over for a long walk at the Covey WMA.  Again lots of Tree Swallows and Eastern Phoebes around but the best bird there was a singing Pine Warbler.  The earliest date I have had them back here ever, beating my old record of April 1 in 2006.  A normal year finds the first one arriving the first week of April.  I also had two Winter Wrens with one singing a full song several times.
Turkey Vulture, Home-Belchertown, MA, Mar 19, 2012

Red-tailed Hawk, Home-Belchertown, MA, Mar 19, 2012

Common Raven, Home-Belchertown, MA, Mar 19, 2012
I spent the afternoon at home working outside and checking the birds coming overhead which included several Red-tailed Hawks, a few Turkey Vultures, a Sharpshinned Hawk and a pair of Cooper's Hawks doing their courtship flight over the house...very impressive to see as always.  Other birds of note around the yard included a Common Raven, at least two Eastern Phoebes and a couple Belted Kingfishers.  Also had my first Mourning Cloak butterfly of the season in the yard.

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