Saturday, June 1, 2013

Quabbin Gate 22 and summary of year so far (and what come)

Black bellied Plovers (L) and Dunlin ( far R), Quabbin Gate 22, June 1, 2013
Black bellied Plovers (L) and Dunlin ( far R), Quabbin Gate 22, June 1, 2013
Black bellied Plovers (L) and Dunlin ( far R), Quabbin Gate 22, June 1, 2013
Black bellied Plovers, Quabbin Gate 22, June 1, 2013
Black bellied Plovers, Quabbin Gate 22, June 1, 2013
Common Loon, Quabbin Gate 22, June 1, 2013
Tiger Swallowtail, Quabbin Gate 22, June 1, 2013
I spent a good portion of the morning guiding up at Gate 22 for a birder up that way (I do occasionally bird out of Hampshire county!). It was simply a stellar day and the temperatures were actually not too bad in the morning. We walked down to the water and back with a couple of diversions to side trails. We had a total of 51 species during our 4 1/2 hours at Gate 22. The highlights were many and included an Acadian Flycatcher calling a few times from suitable breeding habitat, at least five Common Loons, four other species of waterfowl, a dozen species of warbler and a mother turkey with at least a dozen very small young that were literally at our feet. In addition we had a great shorebird show where we had three Black bellied Plovers, a Dunlin Quabbin species #229), a Greater Yellowlegs, a few Killdeer and a couple peeps (we added a Spotted Sandpiper at another location) giving us an even half a dozen shorebird species...not bad at all for a sunny day on June 1st in Franklin county!  If only all these birds were in Hampshire county I could have added two species to my county year list with Acadian Flycatcher and Dunlin...oh well! I will just have to try to catch up with them elsewhere in the county sometime in the future.  Sorry for the quality of photos as I only had my old scope and the iPhone to try to get photos today so once again some imagination is required to actually see the birds mentioned!  In addition to the avian sights we had a Porcupine feeding fairly low on a tree branch that seemed just too small to support him.

On my way home I stopped at Quabbin Gate 12 and had several species of warbler as well as a Yellow billed Cuckoo. With the temperatures rising rapidly through the 80's I headed for home where I relaxed and tried to stay cool as the temperature eventually reached the low 90's.

As May has now come to an end I will look at where I stand in my quest to best my previous record for a year in Hampshire County (for those following along my old record is 228..for those not following along all these numbers are meaningless!).  As of today I stand at 210.  Last year I reached 210 on October 13th and stood at 185 at the end of May last year (and added only one new bird in June).  From these numbers it looks like I will have no problem surpassing last year...but it may not be as easy as it seems.  I had a spectacular spring this year with many birds I normally don't get until fall seen already.  I will now look at what species I’m still missing that I have seen in the county before with the likelihood of the potential for seeing it again this year.  I will use “1” for likely, “2” as possible, “3” unlikely but still possible, “4” as nearly impossible and “5” as ‘not unless a hurricane hits’ or I get REALLY lucky.  As can be seen by the list the groups most likely to add species at this point include waterfowl and shorebirds. 
Waterfowl: Brant (2), Tundra Swan (3), Trumpeter Swan (4), Eurasian Wigeon (4), Northern Shoveler (3), Redhead (3), Surf Scoter (1), Barrow’s Goldeneye (3), Great Cormorant (3)

Game birds: Northern Bobwhite (2), Ring necked Pheasant (1)

Wading birds: Least Bittern (4), Great Egret (1), Snowy Egret (3), Little Blue Heron (4), Tricolored Heron(4),

Raptors: Golden Eagle (3)

Marsh birds: Common Gallinule (4), American Coot (3)

Shorebirds: American Golden Plover (3), Upland Sandpiper (4), Whimbrel (4-5), Hudsonian Godwit (4-5), Ruddy Turnstone (3), Semipalmated Sandpiper (3), White-rumped sandpiper (3), Baird’s Sandpiper (3), Dunlin (3), Buff breasted Sandpiper (3), Wilson’s Phalarope (4-5), Red Phalarope (4-5)

Gulls and Terns: Black legged Kittiwake (5), Lesser Black backed Gull (3), Glaucous Gull (3), Sooty Tern (5), Caspian Tern (3), Black Tern (3),Common Tern (3), Parasitic Jaegar (5)

Owls: Long eared Owl (3), Northern Saw whet Owl (2)

Hummingbirds: Rufous Hummingbird (3), Allen’s Hummingbird (5)

Flycatchers: Acadian Flycatcher (2), Western Kingbird (4)

Vireos:  Philadelphia Vireo (1)

Wrens: Sedge Wren (4), Marsh Wren (3)

Thrushes: Gray-cheecked Thrush (2), Varied Thrush (5)

Irruptives: Bohemian Waxwing (3), Boreal Chickadee (4)

Warblers: Prothonotary Warbler (3), Orange crowned Warbler (3), Connecticut Warbler (2), Kentucky Warbler (4), Hooded Warbler (3), Yellow breasted Chat (4)

Sparrows, etc: Lincoln’s Sparrow (1), Nelson’s Sparrow (5), Dickcissel (2)

Blackbirds:  Yellow headed Blackbird (4-5)

“Others”: White tailed Tropicbird (5)
Tough to say how many of these I will actually see over the next several months but I have a shot at getting close to the mark I set last year but who knows for sure?  With a good shorebird fallout in late summer/early fall and/or a good show of waterfowl I could break my previous record.  A hurricane that tracked in a similar fashion to Irene would almost guarantee a record setting year but is not very likely.  As always...stay tuned and try not to let the extreme suspense overwhelm you!

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