Monday, January 28, 2013

Morning along the Connecticut River before the snow

Peregrine Falcon, Connecticut River, Northampton, MA, Jan 28, 2013
I spent the morning, along with Ian Davies, checking various locations along the Connecticut River from the Holyoke Dam up to the Honeypot.  We arrived near dawn below the Holyoke Dam where we had a fair number of waterfowl with the following seen: 17 Common Goldeneye (still could not get great looks at these distant birds), 3 Mute Swans, 212 Canada Geese, 66 Mallards, 34 Common Mergansers and half a dozen Hooded Mergansers.  We also had all three expected species of gull (including a Ring billed Gull with a single green wing tag which we were never able to read...the color shows it was tagged in the Quabbin area) plus a Bald Eagle and a kingfisher.  We tried a few locations nearby to get better looks at the goldeneyes without success. 

We started our way back north with a handful of stops along the river with the most productive being the Dinosaur Footprints area where we had couple Mute Swans, a couple Black Ducks, a half dozen Mallards, 15 Common Goldeneyes and nine Common Mergansers. 
Canada Geese with ice formations on bills, Connecticut River, Northampton, MA, Jan 28, 2013

Peregrine Falcon, Connecticut River, Northampton, MA, Jan 28, 2013

Peregrine Falcon, Connecticut River, Northampton, MA, Jan 28, 2013

We then headed through the East Meadows working our way over to the airport to get get views of the river and look for some redpolls seen in the area yesterday.  Highlights here included 89 Common Redpolls (flock was too skittish to see if any Hoary Redpolls were present), 80+ American Tree Sparrows, nine Horned Larks, a Peregrine Falcon that came up river over the waterfowl and then perched in a tree nearby, 1000+ Canada Geese including two neck tagged individuals ("18MA" and "34MA"), plus ten Black Ducks, 18 Common Mergansers and 35 or so Mallards.  Several of the geese and ducks were noted to have ice hanging on their bills which they attempted to remove without success.  They will certainly appreciate the upcoming warm up. 

Bald Eagle, Honeypot, Hadley, MA, Jan 28, 2013

River Otter running on ice, Honeypot, Hadley, MA, Jan 28, 2013

Northern Pintail (female-2nd from right) with Mallards, Honeypot, Hadley, MA, Jan 28, 2013

After helping a fellow birder in distress we headed over to the Honeypot to try our luck in finding the...I don't even want to mention its name...but you can guess.  A vigil here did not produce the main target but we did have a Peregrine Falcon, a Rough legged Hawk, a Northern Harrier, a Bald Eagle, a Northern Pintail in among the 278 Mallards and ten Black Ducks and 13 Common Mergansers.  With our time running out for the morning we headed back to UMASS with a quick stop at the campus pond where we had 31 Black Ducks (an impressive number) and just over 200 Mallards.

Winsor Dam as snow begins to fall, Jan 28, 2013
I dropped off Ian and then headed toward home to take Wilson for a walk before the snow hit.  A brief stop at Winsor Dam found the water already starting to freeze here too.  In the open spots of water were a dozen Common Mergansers and five Black Ducks.  A walk at Covey WMA produced even more waterfowl with at least 28 Hooded Mergansers, five Black Ducks and 18 Mallards.  The snow continued to pick up while there so I called it a day and headed for home.

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