Sunday, November 11, 2012

A quest for a lapwing or unusual geese...(no success)

Vesper Sparrow, Bridge Lane, Hatfield, MA, Nov 11, 2012

Vesper Sparrow, Bridge Lane, Hatfield, MA, Nov 11, 2012

Horned Larks and Snow Bunting, East Meadows, Northampton, Nov 11, 2012

American Tree Sparrow, UMASS Horse Farm, Amherst, MA, Nov 11, 2012

Lesser Scaup, North Lane Conservation Area, Hadley, MA, Nov 11, 2012
With all the sightings of rare and unusual birds around I spent the morning, along with Jacob Drucker, in a search for a Northern Lapwing among the fields of Hadley, Northampton, Amherst, Hatfield, Sunderland and Whately. A second goal was to catch up with any unusual geese. Although we struck out on the lapwing (we didn't have a single shorebird) and any unusual geese we did find some decent birds. Our first stop at Arcadia produced a Northern Pintail female as well as several Green winged Teal, Wood Ducks, Black Ducks and 240+ Mallards and 525+ Canada Geese. We also had a flyby group of White winged Crossbills and a Great Blue Heron. We then headed to the East Meadows where we had 350+ Horned Larks in a large group along with 8 Snow Buntings and at least two Lapland Longspurs with them. Also in the area were seven American Pipits and a flyover bird that was heard only that stumped us. It may have been another flyover White winged Crossbill but did not sound quite remained the mystery bird for the day. We then turned north to Hatfield where we made several stops that produced several more groups of Horned Larks as well as a group of three Vesper Sparrows together at the end of Bridge Lane. A Northern Harrier and an American Kestrel were the raptors of note here. We then continued up through Whately and over the bridge into Sunderland and then south of Route 47 through Hadley. Despite a lot of great habitat the area was relatively quiet with the only geese (all Canada) noted along Knightly Road on the Amherst/Hadley line. A stop at the UMASS horse farm was also quiet. We stopped briefly at the North Lane Conservation Area to get a look at the river and found a male Lesser Scaup sitting on the river to the south. With the morning rapidly coming to a close we spent the final part of it checking out the honeypot. We found a handful of sparrows, a Ring necked Pheasant, American Pipits and of course, more Horned Larks. We then headed back to Hampshire College where I dropped of Jacob and then headed for home with a brief stop at Winsor Dam (three Common Loons and little else).   Although we were unable to find any mega rare birds we can say it was not for lack of effort. Overall a nice morning out in warm weather (eventually near 60) for the 11th of November.  

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