Saturday, March 16, 2013

100th Hampshire county species for the year (and 101st)

Green winged Teal (with Canada Geese), Arcadia, Northampton,MA, Mar 16, 2013
Today I managed to catch up with a variety of species (including my 100th species in the county this year) as I covered quite a bit of territory looking for waterfowl. I started off before dawn at Hadley Cove where I had a few each of Black Duck, Ring necked Duck, Wood Duck, Mallard and 22 Common Mergansers plus 42 Canada Geese.

I next stopped along the Connecticut River in Northampton where I had three Northern Pintail, eight Wood Ducks, a few Black Ducks, 120+ Mallards and some Mallard/Black Duck hybrids.

Green winged Teal (with Canada Geese), Arcadia, Northampton,MA, Mar 16, 2013
Common Mergansers, Oxbow, Northampton,MA, Mar 16, 2013
Wood Ducks, Arcadia, Northampton,MA, Mar 16, 2013
I then made it over to Arcadia and the nearby Oxbow where I had a good show of waterfowl with eight Green winged Teal (#100), 122 Common Mergansers, seven Hooded Mergansers, two Ring necked Ducks, 17 Wood Ducks, four Black Ducks, nine Mallards and 439 Canada Geese.

Canada Geese, Lake Warner, N. Hadley, MA, Mar 16, 2013
I then headed back across the river to Hadley where stops along the river produced nothing of note (the crew boats were out on the river which kept waterfowl away). I then went north to Lake Warner where there was a very large group of geese on the lake. I could view a portion of the 1800+ Canada Geese present but I was unable to find anything unusual among them. Also present were a couple of Wood Ducks and several Common Mergansers. The geese began leaving in groups of 20-100 with some heading north and other east. I also had a male Rusty Blackbird calling at this location. I drove further north trying to find the area where the geese were setting down but most appeared to have gained altitude and continued north.  After a few more stops where I found a few hundred more Canada Geese I headed back east toward home.

Common Mergansers, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 16, 2013
Black Ducks, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 16, 2013

Bald Eagle on ice, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 16, 2013
I next stopped at Quabbin Park where I had a couple Bufflehead, 34 Common Mergansers, 14 Black Ducks, four Hooded Mergansers and four Bald Eagles. 

Late in the morning I went for a walk with Wilson along the Belchertown Land Trust trail where I ran across species #101 when I had an Eastern Phoebe in the same little wetland I had one in on the late date of November 22 last year.  I guess they really like that spot!  Overall I ended the day with 51 species total with ten species of waterfowl.

Winsor Dam at dusk, Mar 16, 2013
American Robins, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 16, 2013
I made a few trips over to Quabbin Park throughout the day with my last stop at dusk when I had 60+ American Robins and several hundred gulls (most Ring billed Gulls) at Winsor Dam.  The view from there when the water is calm is always impressive.

Now that I have reached the 100 species mark for Hampshire County this year I will review where I stand at this point compared to my previous best year (2012) when I reached 228 species.  Below is the cumulative total for January, February and the first half of March for 2012 and 2013.

               2012                                 2013
Jan           60                                     85

Feb          79                                     90

Mar         87 (as of 3/16/12)            101

To reach the 100 species mark in 2012 took me until March 31st. As can be seen by the above numbers I am well on my way to exceeded last years total but time will tell what the end of the year total will turn out to be.

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