Sunday, May 19, 2013

Another new species and other stuff around the Quabbin

Canada Geese (goslings tucked under the wings of the top bird), Covey WMA, May 19, 2013

Porcupine, Covey WMA, May 19, 2013

With the winds out of the south last night and the radar showing some good movement around 10:30 last night I dragged myself out of bed with too little sleep to head out to see what may have shown up. I started at Covey WMA and had a nice selection of local breeders as well as a few probable migrants. Nothing out of the ordinary for this date but still some good stuff. As I scanned through one of the marshes I noticed a pair of Canada Geese with one looking rather rotund. Further examination revealed a bunch of goslings keeping warm underneath her wings. On my way back out of there I had Porcupine feeding about 40 feet up on a branch that just seemed way too small to support his or her weight. After watching for several minutes I cautiously passed by ever mindful of the ability of an angry Porcupine to throw its quills 50 feet or more (or so I have heard other people say).
View from Gate 52 looking north, Quabbin Park, May 19, 2013
Double crested Cormorants, Quabbin Park, May 19, 2013
I next headed through Quabbin Park making a few stops along the way but skipping some areas as I wanted to make sure to have enough time to visit a few other areas too. Given my more limited time there today I got just 60 species or so but certainly got some good ones including 17 species of warbler (highlights of Tennessee and Blackpoll), a group of six Double crested Cormorants together, Swainson's Thrush and best of all a Yellow billed Cuckoo calling and seen distantly across from Gate 52. The Yellow billed Cuckoo became species #202.

I then made a few stops at gates along the west side of Quabbin with the main focus being trying to find either Olive sided Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler or Acadian Flycatcher. No luck with any of these target birds but still got some fantastic looks at various other species. Later in the morning I got a call from Bob about a certain species I have been looking for but have been unable to find so far.  I made a trip back out to the west part of Quabbin but despite a valiant effort I came up empty again. Perhaps next time?

The next several days will feature occasional showers and thunderstorms. With the right timing, the right winds and a little luck some of these rain events could down some migrants (typically shorebirds at this point in migration but anything is possible). I will be keeping my eye out at first light the next week to see if anything unusual does show up.  Two years ago tomorrow I had a Red Phalarope (perhaps a few) at Quabbin Park.  Maybe history will repeat itself?

As mentioned in a previous post I will be conducting a couple of Eastern Whip-poor-will surveys this year. Despite less than ideal conditions last night I was able to complete the Prescott route for the second year. As in previous surveys the lower part of the peninsula contained all the whips with none noted past the mid point of the peninsula. Managed to find a total of nine Eastern Whip-poor-wills with seven of those at one of the ten survey points (the other two were between the points)
I hope to conduct a new survey route through Quabbin Park and nearby areas this coming week but the weather may not cooperate. 

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