Monday, July 15, 2013

Loon survey and Prescott Peninsula

Common Loon on nest, Quabbin, July 15, 2013

Common Loon, Quabbin, July 15, 2013

Common Loon, Quabbin, July 15, 2013
Common Loon with leg bands, Quabbin, July 15, 2013
Common Loons, Quabbin, July 15, 2013
Osprey, Quabbin, July 15, 2013
Osprey, Quabbin, July 15, 2013
Double crested Cormorant, Quabbin, July 15, 2013

View toward phragmite island, Quabbin, July 15, 2013
Today I spent a few hours out on Quabbin assisting DCR staff with an ongoing loon census.  I met up with them around 9am at boat area 2 up in New Salem and we headed south visiting several areas and making it down to boat launch area 3 before heading back north. Some great views of various birds including at least two loons on nests and a total of twelve individual Common Loons (most paired). Other notable birds included at least one (possibly two) Osprey (which is an unusual species inland in July), three Spotted Sandpipers, a few Killdeer, three Double crested Cormorants, and at least 150 swallows over the phargmite island with the vast majority being Tree Swallows with a handful of Barn, Bank and Northern rough-winged Swallows. Although I hoped to find an unusual gull or a tern I was only able to find a few Ring billed Gulls.  I also got a report that a Forester's Tern was seen in this area in mid June and I will be getting a photo soon to check it unusual bird for the area.

Bald Eagle at nest, Quabbin, July 15, 2013
Bald Eagle, Quabbin, July 15, 2013
Among the total of five Bald Eagles seen this morning were two juveniles hanging around a new Bald Eagle nest that we ran across on one of the islands on the reservoir. We found the previously unknown nest and it appears that at least two birds have recently fledged from it. Overall a great day to be out on the water despite the warm temperatures.
Indigo Bunting, Prescott Peninsula, July 15, 2013
Wild Turkey, Prescott Peninsula, July 15, 2013
I spent a couple of  hours this morning checking out a few spots on Prescott Peninsula before meeting up for the loon survey. Prescott was active again and I ran across at least three Red Crossbills (two together and a single). I was not able to get a recording of them this morning but the birds were all in the same area as I had a couple of Type 1's a week ago and I suspect they are the same type today. Yet again lots of birds around with lots of evidence of breeding.
Wilson and a Painted Turtle, Belchertown Land Trust trail, Belchertown, MA, July 15, 2013

By the time I got home a bit after midday the temperature already topped 90 and continued to climb a bit more. Wilson and I took a walk along the land trust trail were we had 25+ species but nothing unusual. Wilson had a close encounter with a Painted Turtle and he didn't know what to make of a creature that can make its arms, legs and head disappear.

The next several days should feature temperatures above 90 with high humidity as we enter our fourth heat wave of the season. This one will likely last through Friday, making a six day heat wave.     

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