Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday and Sunday

Ring-necked Ducks, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 17, 2012

Ring-necked Ducks, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 17, 2012
Yet another warm weekend in March found me exploring around various spots of Quabbin and the valley. On Saturday I started at Winsor Dam and then moved through Quabbin Park.  Just as dawn broke I ran across the first of two pairs of Great Horned Owls calling back and forth.  The first pair were near the Route 9 marsh and the other pair on the opposite side of Quabbin park.  In addition pre dawn I had at least two American Woodcocks displaying at Winsor Dam.
Common Goldeneye pair,  Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 17, 2012

Common Goldeneye pair with Wood Duck pair, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 17, 2012
There was a bit of waterfowl around on Saturday with a noticeable increase in numbers and variety but still not overwhelming.  There were Common and Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, Wood Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Mallards and Canada Geese.  The viewing was great as several birds were close in at the route 9 marsh as well as fairly close at Winsor Dam.  Even the birds fairly far out could be seen quite well as the water was calm with no winds.  Other notable sightings from Quabbin included at least 3 Fox Sparrows including one singing and a few phoebes.

A walk down to the water from Gate 5 was quite productive with a pair of Barred Owls calling back and forth as well as a couple of Ruffed Grouse.  On the water there were several Common Mergansers as well as several Mallads.

After my trip to Quabbin I went home and picked up Wilson to go on a walk along the Jabish Canal in the hopes of finding some other good stuff.  I hoped for Rusty Blackbirds in a large wooded swamp along the canal and I got what I wanted.  At least four Rusty Blackbirds with three adult males.  They called the entire time I was there.  Lots of bird song today from Song Sparrows, American Robins, Brown Creepers and many others.  It is beginning to feel like spring. 

At home I had my first Eastern Phoebe at home as well as an Eastern Bluebird that will hopefully be enticed to stay and use one of my nest boxes.

Common Grackle flock (with a few Red-winged Blackbirds), Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 18, 2012

Common Grackle flock (with a few Red-winged Blackbirds), Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 18, 2012

Common Grackle flock (with a few Red-winged Blackbirds), Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 18, 2012
Sunday was yet another very warm and  (eventually) sunny day for the middle of March with temperatures making it up to the low 70's.  I started my day predawn at Covey WMA with temperatures in the mid 30's.  I tried for owls here and found a pair of Great Horned Owls as well as at least five displaying American Woodcocks.  I then headed over to Winsor Dam for dawn and had seven Common Mergansers and a single Common Goldeneye.  At this point there were low clouds but no fog.  I then went to Quabbin Park with a stop at the route 9 marsh first.  There was an enormous flock of grackles and blackbirds numbering at least 1400 with the vast majority Common Grackles.  They made quite a bit of noise as they perched in the surrounding trees and then dropped down to the marsh to feed.  Just after dawn the fog closed in and cut visibility down quite a bit.  In Quabbin Park the thick fog made it very difficult to find any birds on the water.  I did find a group of vocal Rusty Blackbirds near Quabbin Tower.  There were at least a half dozen but probably more.  I also ran across a Winter Wren near Gate 53 as well as several Eastern Phoebes in various locations around the park.   I then headed for home to get ready for a trip down to southern Connecticut for the day.  Although not a birding trip I still managed a few birds down there inlcuding a state bird for me...a Red-shouldered Hawk.  The rest of the week here is suppose to still be warm in the 70's with southerly winds on a few nights.  Perhaps some good stuff will come in on these winds?

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