Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Day birding

Lapland Longspur, Honeypot, Hadley, Jan 1, 2013
Peregrine Falcon, Honeypot, Hadley, Jan 1, 2013

Horned Lark, Honeypot, Hadley, Jan 1, 2013
Savannah Sparrow, Honeypot, Hadley, Jan 1, 2013
Vesper Sparrow, Honeypot, Hadley, Jan 1, 2013
I started off the new year by heading out to a few areas to see what might be around and to start adding to my Hampshire County list for the year. I doubt I will be able to top the 228 species from last year but who knows? Perhaps I can break the 230 mark? Either way I will have fun trying. I started out with some great birds with the first species seen for the year being a Horned Lark at the Honeypot. The Honeypot produced some great bird including flocks of Horned Larks (100+), Snow Buntings (130+), many Savannah Sparrows, at least two Vesper Sparrows, a flyby American Pipit, many American Tree Sparrows, a Northern Harrier, a Peregrine Falcon, a few small groups of Common Redpolls and a few Lapland Longspurs. In the river there were a pair of Hooded Mergansers, several Common Merganser and a few dozen Mallards. The number of other people out in the area checking out the birds was much more than I'm accustomed to seeing and made trying to get good counts of flocks tough as the birds were constantly flushing.
Vesper Sparrow, Aqua Vitae Rd, Hadley, Jan 1, 2013
Northern Harrier, Aqua Vitae Rd, Hadley, Jan 1, 2013
I took a brief ride through the Aqua Vitae Road area and turned up another Vesper Sparrow, another Northern Harrier, a dozen plus Horned Larks and 20+ Savannah Sparrows. A brief return to the honeypot to try to find the shrike from yesterday or some other new species did not result in any new sightings. I ran across Tom Gagnon and he mentioned a Rough legged Hawk off S.Maple St so I headed over there and found the bird. 

Pine Grosbeak, Quabbin Park, Jan 1, 2013
Pine Grosbeak, Quabbin Park, Jan 1, 2013
Pine Grosbeak, Quabbin Park, Jan 1, 2013
 I then headed toward home to check out Quabbin. I ran across an even dozen Pine Grosbeaks still feeding in the crabapple trees at the headquarters building. The grosbeaks were briefly joined by a Common Redpoll. The winds were quite strong which made viewing any species on the water difficult. I did manage to find a Common Loon. A later ride through Quabbin Park found a few Common Mergansers, a Common Goldeneye and a Winter Wren.

Overall a very productive day despite the strong winds with a total of 44 species.  More photos from the day at:

I'm not sure if I can top my total of 228 species in Hampshire County from 2012 but I'm going to give it a try.  It makes me get out even more and check areas I might not otherwise get to.  Keep checking back from time to time and I will update my progress.


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