Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quabbin Park on the first weekend in November


Red Crossbill, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012

Red Crossbills, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012


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Red Crossbills video, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012
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Red Crossbill video, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012

Ring necked Duck, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012

Hooded Merganser, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012

Today I spent the first day of standard time exploring Quabbin Park once again (plus a brief stop at Gate 5). Although less windy today the temperatures started out colder and never warmed out of the 40's.  I began and finished at Winsor Dam and spent the remainder of the time in Quabbin Park itself with stops at Enfield Lookout, Hank's Meadow, Goodnough Dike and the Route 9 marsh.  The highlights were many and included a total of 39 White winged Crossbills with most birds in a 33 bird flock at Hank's Meadow, 11 Red Crossbills, two Pine Grosbeaks, three flyby Great Blue Herons together, five Common Loons, Ring necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, a couple Bufflehead, a Ruby crowned Kinglet,

Black Scoter flock, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012

Black Scoter flock, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012

Black Scoter flock (and Bufflehead), Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012

late AM view from Winsor Dam, Nov 4, 2012

Greater Yellowlegs, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012

Greater Yellowlegs, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2012
I spent some time doing a stationary count at Winsor Dam and had the following waterfowl there: 29 Black Scoter, 7 White winged Scoter, 8 Bufflehead, 3 Lesser Scaup, a Red breasted Merganser, 2 Red necked Grebe, a Common Loon and a single seventeen bird flyby flock of Canada Geese.  There was also a good showing of American Crows as they moved southeast in groups with my total exceeding 325.  Other birds of note here included two Greater Yellowlegs that flew past calling and then landed out of sight along the shore, another group of a dozen White winged Crossbills, and a flyby Evening grosbeak.

Horned Grebe in transitional plumage, Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012

Horned Grebe in transitional plumage , Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012

Horned Grebe in transitional plumage, Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012

Horned Grebe in transitional plumage, Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012

Horned Grebe, Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012

Horned Grebes (right non breeding plumage, left transitional...view I had early on in trying to figure this bird out), Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012

Horned Grebes in early light, Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012


Greater Yellowlegs (left) and Bufflehead, Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012

Bufflehead in flight, Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012

Bufflehead in flight, Quabbin Park, Nov 3, 2012
I started a rather brisk and cool Saturday at Quabbin Park. I intended to make a quick run through there and then get some errands done but I got side tracked and never left there until almost 11. The winds were gusty at times out of the northwest which certainly added a feel of later fall to the air. I went initially to Hanks Meadow but it was closed off by DCR so I went to Gate 52 instead. I ran across an interesting bird almost immediately when I found a group of Horned Grebes and another grebe with them that appeared different. I kept getting fleeting glimpses of the bird as it actively fed but it appeared different. My hope was for an Earned Grebe but it was just not quite right. The bird was in transitional plumage, something I have not seen with Horned Grebes this late in the fall. The bird moved to an area where the shadows made viewing even more difficult. I tried for some photos but nothing was coming out good.  I sent a few messages back in forth to Ian Davies to pick his brain as I tried to get a better look at the bird and look up some info on molt timing on grebes in fall.  I eventually got some decent looks at the bird which made my ID lean quickly toward Horned Grebe once the view was good enough.  I eventually got some fairly good views of the bird in good light and managed a few photos.  As I spent time trying to get a better look at the bird and figure out exactly what it was I got to see a variety of other birds including five other Horned Grebes, three Common Loons, seven Buffleheads, pair of Hooded Mergansers, three Long tailed Ducks plus a few groups of Pine Siskins( 16+ total birds), a flyover Evening Grosbeak, a Greater Yellowlegs working the shore, a Winter Wren and a Red shouldered Hawk harassing a Red tailed Hawk.  With only a short time left before I had an appointment late morning I briefly stopped at Goodnough Dike where I found six more Long tailed Ducks, nine Black Scoters, a Common Loon and a flyby group of eight scoter species that were seen briefly and may have been more Black Scoters.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at home catching up on yard work and had only a few birds around the yard but some good stuff including two Winter Wrens. Mid afternoon I got a call from Ian Davies that they had found a juvenile Northern Shrike at Hampshire College. I was going to be heading over that way late afternoon so I decided to stop there on the way through. I didn't find the bird but that was not really surprising given the fact that a kid was racing around the fields on his ATV certainly scaring away any birds. Hopefully I will catch up with a shrike elsewhere.

Bald Eagles (three), Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Nov 2, 2012

Dusk at Winsor Dam, Nov 2, 2012
On Friday evening I made a brief stop at Winsor Dam before heading home after work.  Only birds of note were a Common Loon and five adult Bald Eagles.  A large gathering of gulls out near gate 8 contained at least 300 birds with almost all Ring billed Gulls.

At home just after dark I had a Barred Owl calling along the Jabish Brook.

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