Sunday, February 17, 2013

Windy and cold

Greater Scaup, Connecticut River near Coolidge Bridge, Northampton, MA, Feb 17, 2013
Common Loon in among the waves at Quabbin, Winsor Dam, Feb 17, 2013
Common Loon, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Feb 17, 2013
A windy and cold day made being outside a bit tough but at least we were lucky to have missed out on the snow that hit the eastern part of the state with several more inches.  I made a quick swing by Winsor Dam which took on the appearance of the ocean with white caps kicked up by the strong northerly wind.  Despite the less than ideal viewing conditions I still managed to find a Common Loon, a couple Hooded Mergansers and a Common Merganser in among the waves plus a handful of Bald Eagles flying around and a group of 13 Wild Turkeys feeding under the crabapple trees.  I then headed over to Covey WMA to try to get out of the wind.  Highlights here included 18 Hooded Mergansers and a couple more Bald Eagles.  A return trip to Covey WMA late in the morning produced bird #90 for the county this year, a Pine Siskin with a group of American Goldfinches.

In the afternoon I went back out with Ian Davies to check a few areas around the Connecticut River.  We made a quick ride through the honeypot and had 30+ Horned Larks and an American Kestrel.  We then went over to the river near the Coolidge Bridge and found the male Greater Scaup that has been there for a few days (a county bird for Ian).  In addition we found a handful of Common Mergansers, some Mallards and a flock of 800+ Canada Geese well south of the dam including at least one neck tagged individual (18MA -which has been around and was tagged in 2005).  In addition we had some great looks at a pair of Peregrine Falcons flying upriver and chasing the pigeons near the bridge.  The rest of the afternoon didn't turn up anything too noteworthy.

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