Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall officially begins

Bald Eagle swimming, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Sep 22, 2012

Bald Eagle, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Sep 22, 2012

Bald Eagle swimming after catching fish too large to lift off with, Winsor Dam, Sep 22, 2012

Saturday marked the 'official' arrival of fall although the weather on Saturday certainly did not feel like fall. The high reached to near 80 with sunny skies. Even the morning started off relatively comfortable with temperatures near 50. I decided to spend Saturday morning close to home with a visit to Quabbin Park. 

I started at Winsor Dam and then moved through the park hitting the area from the Goodnough Dike entrance to Hank's Meadow along with the Route 9 marsh.  After my time in Quabbin Park I headed back over to Winsor Dam where I ran into Jacob Drucker and another Hampshire College student.  We stayed at Winsor Dam for about 45 minutes before they left to bird Quabbin Park.  I stayed another half hour at Winsor Dam.  During my dawn stop at Winsor Dam I had a total of 112 Mallards moving south plus a Wood Thrush making its 'pop' type call but little else. I then headed over to the Route 9 marsh which held a few dozen Canada Geese as well as 11 Wood Ducks. The highlight at the marsh was a couple of flyby Red Crossbills. I then went over to the western entrance to Quabbin Park and went as far as Hank's Meadow. There were a handful of notable birds including half a dozen Black Ducks and 45+ Mallards plus a Common Loon. There were a few mixed species flocks along the road which contained seven species of warbler and a few vireos plus a handful of Ruby crowned Kinglets. The number of Red breasted Nuthatch's continues to be high with individuals noted in most areas that I stopped at.

My longest vigil at Winsor Dam produced another Common Loon, raptors such as Osprey, Cooper's and Sharp shinned Hawk, Merlin and a Bald Eagle that caught a fish too large to fly off with so it instead had to swim to shore. I have seen this behavior several times with eagles with a few others of those sightings also at Winsor Dam. There were a variety of warblers flying over some of which could be identified and others not. A couple of Bobolinks also flew over as did a fair number of Blue Jays heading south and east.

Blue winged Teal (w/ Wood Duck in background), Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Sep 23, 2012

Blue winged Teal, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Sep 23, 2012
Cooper's Hawk, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Sep 23, 2012
Today I started  my morning at Lake Wallace on a non hunting day to see what waterfowl remained.  The numbers of Wood Ducks and Mallards were much reduced from the totals I got at the beginning of the month.  The highlight here were at least five Blue winged Teal (there may have been as many as nine but five is the most I had in view at once).  Rounding out the waterfowl was a single Hooded Merganser.  After Lake Wallace I headed over to Covey WMA but the winds continued to pick up and the amount of activity was fairly low.  A pair of Cooper's Hawks strafed the handful of Wood Ducks present on several occasions but never came too close to getting any.  A couple of brief stops at Winsor Dam and Route 9 marsh didn't produce much of note.  With the fairly strong northerly winds accipters seemed to be taking full advantage and various representatives were present at my stops this morning.

Tonight looks great for migration and hopefully for some flight calls tonight as the birds head south.


  1. Mr. Larry,
    My name is Sam and I am a Hampshire student. Your blog caught my interest because I am considering writing a piece for a magazine writing class. The piece would be a profile on birding in the Quabbin, but may focus specifically on bald eagle spotting. I am wondering if you are interested in allowing me to interview you or come along on a birding trip sometime in the next few weeks. I do not know how to contact you otherwise, but feel free to email me at I am taking this project very seriously, and i think you may have a lot to offer as an experienced birder. Also, i'm sure it would be great fun to ramble along the trails of the Quabbin and learn a bit about your craft. Please let me know if you are interested in this proposition.
    Sam Anderson