Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Southwest winds=migration

Lesser Scaup (distant digiscope shot), Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 7, 2012
The temperatures have started to warm up on the heels of a strong southwest flow that began yesterday and will continue through Thursday. A wind flow set up like this in early March could easily result in some unusual birds showing up. At the very least there should be an appreciable uptick in migrants, especially waterfowl. To test this theory I headed over to Winsor Dam before work and had a male Lesser Scaup, some Common Mergansers and a large amount of crows heading northeast (nearly 600 in 15 minutes). After leaving Quabbin I stopped briefly at Hadley Cove and had a pair of Green-winged Teal, some Black Ducks and lots of geese that flushed out of the river and came overhead (nothing beyond canada's that I saw). In checking various websites and some personal correspondence it does look like a nice movement of waterfowl did occur last night with a large number of geese (all Canada) on the UMASS campus pond as well as some Ring-necked Ducks, a sighting of a Greater White-fronted Goose in Gill in a farm field, and a report of Snow Geese in southern Berkshire county. Although waterfowl can be expected to make up a bulk of the migrants there should be a good chance of Tree Swallows, Eastern Phoebes, American Woodcocks and some sparrow species as well as the outside chance of something really unusual. I'm sure there is other stuff out there just waiting to be discovered.

In addition to the current bird migration there is another natural phenomenon that is taking place now as a massive solar flare erupted on the sun. It is one of the largest flares in years and was directed toward earth. This could lead to several negative aspects in regards to our technology but could also result in some fabulous auroras. See more about this occurence at:

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