Saturday, October 26, 2013

Northern Saw whet Owl becomes species #230 for Hampshire County this year

Wood Ducks, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
Hanks Meadow looking toward Gate 52, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
Spotted Sandpiper, record shot of late record, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
Ring necked Ducks (L) and White winged Scoter (R), Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
Black Ducks, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
Herring Gull (L) and Ring billed Gulls, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
Northern Harrier (male), Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
View near Winsor Dam as fog lifted, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013

American Crow, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013

Wild Turkeys, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
Wild Turkey, Quabbin Park, Oct 26, 2013
As we all know (or at least should know) finding particular birds involves a certain amount of luck and I proved that this morning when I found another new county bird for the year. I had every intention of sleeping in a little this morning before heading out as I knew it would be in the upper 20's and my cold continues to hang on to some degree ('sleeping in' is a relative thing....perhaps not getting up until 6:30 instead of before six. However that plan didn't work out as the coffee maker went off at the typical weekday time of 5:45 instead of the weekend time of seven. With the signal to begin the day with the starting of the coffee maker, the animals all decided to come in and wake us up. I decided to just stay up and perhaps do a little unplanned owling. I headed over to Covey WMA and after a few stops before dawn I had a Northern Saw whet Owl respond to some playback. The owl became species #230 for Hampshire County for me this year. This species is the last really likely species for me to get this year and I was very happy to get it. Glad the start of the morning worked out the way it did!

As the sun came up I started my way around Quabbin Park once again looking for waterfowl. I made a quick stop at Winsor Dam but it was just too foggy to see anything yet so I headed over to the park itself with a stop at Hanks Meadow and then a brief stop at Goodnough Dike and then the Route 9 marsh. The fog was a bit of a challenge in spots while other spots were already getting windy...very odd weather! Hanks Meadow featured a group of 100+ individuals of various species on the water (I'll give the totals later) plus a couple of hooting Great Horned Owls and a somewhat late Spotted Sandpiper. Goodnough was too foggy to see much early on. The route 9 marsh featured more waterfowl with the expected species there. I then headed to Winsor Dam just as the fog was lifting and stayed there for about an hour before heading back to one area near Goodnough Dike. The only waterfowl at Winsor Dam were all flying by and featured nothing unusual. Yet again I had an adult Northern Harrier flying by, moving southwest. The trip back to the area of Goodnough Dike produced some more waterfowl but again, nothing too unusual. My totals for waterfowl included a White winged Scoter, 15 Ring necked Ducks, 99 Black Ducks (some seen flying later in morning may have been repeats seen earlier), 21 Wood Ducks, a couple Hooded Mergansers, 4 Horned Grebes, 8 Common Loons, a Double crested Cormorant, 40 Mallards and 41 Canada Geese.
The morning got progressively more windy with a strong southwest breeze with gusts approaching 30 MPH.  With the strong south winds that originate in the deep south the chance is always there for some bird to get caught up and pushed north.
A year ago Hurricane Sandy was moving through the Caribbean on her way to the Atlantic seaboard.  Quite a change from last year with no tropical activity and a quiet season overall so far.


  1. Nice day birding. Now about that independent coffee makers....:)

  2. It was a good day....the worst part is the coffee is not even for me...I hate the stuff!