Saturday, January 26, 2013

A cold day but some birds still around

Ring necked Duck (with Mallards and Canada Geese), Connecticut River, Hadley/Northampton, Jan 26, 2013
Yet another sunny, windy cold day here with temperatures starting out just above zero and topping off in the mid-20's with near zero wind chills.  I initially was going to spend some time this morning at Quabbin but the light snow we got overnight kept the park gates closed plus the wind was very strong at Winsor Dam so I headed over to the Hadley/Northampton area instead.  I started out in the East Meadows heading over to the shore of the Connecticut River to check out the large congregation of geese on the Hadley side.  With large portions of the river frozen the geese were all bunched up which made finding something odd among them difficult.  Among the just over 1000 Canada Geese was a male Ring necked Duck and a few Mallards.  Further up river around the Coolidge Bridge were around a dozen Common Mergansers.  As I was watching the area of the bridge I noticed a large falcon fly in and dive at a Bald Eagle.  Although I wanted it to be something more it was 'just' a Peregrine Falcon.  The bird came back around the bridge a couple times before heading north.  Besides the Bald Eagle that was the subject of the Peregrine Falcon's attention there were two other adult Bald Eagle sitting in a tree nearby.  I tried to catch up with all these birds by heading to the bridge but I could not relocate them. 

Rough legged Hawk, Honeypot, Hadley, Jan 26, 2013

I next headed through the Honeypot and Aqua Vitae Road.  Aqua Vitae Road was fairly quiet with only a couple of Savannah Sparrows noteworthy.  At the Honeypot I had a light morph Rough legged Hawk teed up in a small tree right near the dike.  It then flew to one of the large trees near the transfer station were I got a few digiscoped photos.  The rest of the Honeypot was fairly quiet so I headed over to the Mill Valley Road/South Maple St/Moody Bridge Rd area.  Fairly quiet here also but I did find a new species for the year when I found four Brown headed Cowbirds (#83).  Also had an adult Red winged Blackbird in the area of Moody Bridge.
Bufflehead (poor photo but the bird was hardly ever on the surface...and it was damn cold!), Quabbin Park, Jan 26, 2013
Horned Grebes (2 of 12), Quabbin Park, Jan 26, 2013
Hanks Meadow at Quabbin Park, Jan 26, 2013

In the early afternoon I headed over to Quabbin Park and the road was open.  The reservoir is starting to freeze up with the Goodnough area totally frozen, the Hank's Meadow area 3/4 frozen and the area below Enfield Lookout frozen solid.  The area at Winsor Dam is mainly ice free at this point but due to the strong winds I didn't have too much here beyond a few Mallards and Common Mergansers.  Hank's Meadow was the most productive (and coldest) with a dozen Horned Grebes, a Bufflehead, a Hooded Merganser and seven Black Ducks.

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