Monday, October 28, 2013

Quabbin produces again with a Dunlin (species #231 for Hampshire County this year)

Canada Geese, Quabbin Park, Oct 28, 2013
Hanks Meadow at dawn, Quabbin Park, Oct 28, 2013
Hooded Mergansers, Quabbin Park, Oct 28, 2013

Mourning Dove, Quabbin Park, Oct 28, 2013
Yet another frosty morning with temperatures in the 20's found me making a run through Quabbin Park looking for waterfowl.  The morning eventually added another species to my county list for the year but more on that later.  I was a little later than usual in getting to some of the areas I usually check so I only found a few Black Ducks (they leave their roost quite early).  Overall the numbers and variety were a bit lower than yesterday but still some decent stuff around including 13 Hooded Mergansers, 3 Common Mergansers, 13 Black Ducks, 12 Wood Ducks, 8 Horned Grebes, a couple Common Loons, two Mallards and 34 Canada Geese (I added White winged Scoter and Double crested Cormorant later...see below).  Still looking for a Brant to show up but no luck yet.  In addition I once again had a trilling Eastern screech Owl, robins leaving their evening roost, some crows seemingly migrating and other expected stuff.  After a relatively short time in the park and a few stops at Winsor Dam I headed off to run some errands before heading home to get Wilson to go for a walk.
Wilson listening to some juncos, Jabish Canal trail, Belchertown, Oct 28, 2013
Wilson and I decided to take an earlier than usual walk along the canal.  It was a bit too early to have any of the trail in the sun so it was a bit cool but fun nonetheless.  Wilson kept seeing and hearing juncos and sparrows moving around but couldn't figure out how to herd them!  After an hour walking we decided (more my idea than his) to make a quick stop over at Winsor Dam to try once again to get some Brant moving by.  We got there about 10:15 and after several minutes I had a brief look at a shorebird as it passed by the far end of Winsor Dam.  It looked interesting but I couldn't ID it from that distance and with such a brief look.  After a couple minutes I heard an odd call and then noticed the shorebird flying east to west over the water in the same general area as a Ring billed Gull.  The bird flew around in a big circle before I lost it heading southeast back over the dam calling the entire time.  I got great scope looks at the bird.  A mid size shorebird with a longish (seemingly drooping) bill, short legs, light gray on chest with the color slightly darker on the head, with white wing stripe and light underwing.  Luckily I got great looks at the bird and it called several times.  I tried to get photos through the scope but the bird was too fast and I also tried a quick video to get audio but the bird was too distant by the time I tried that.  I listened to recording of Dunlin to reconfirm by ID and the call matched perfectly.  Not only did I had a new species (#231) for my county year in Hampshire County but the Dunlin became a new Quabbin and Quabbin Park bird bringing my total in Quabbin Park to 219 and my total in all of Quabbin to 229.  Yet again a bit of luck and good timing on my part resulted in a great sighting.  I stayed for another 45 minutes or so and added a White winged Scoter and a migrant group of 13 Double crested Cormorants.  Although I was looking for Brant I was very happy to come up with the Dunlin proving yet again you never know what Quabbin will produce.  In addition I ran across several friendly people as I scoped out the water including a few locals as well as a nice couple from China on their first visit to Quabbin whom I talked with for quite awhile.  A refreshing change from yesterday!

A few other stops at Winsor Dam during the afternoon didn't produce anything noteworthy.  Today also marks the beginning of the anti gull boat patrols at Quabbin so trying to find any waterfowl there in the early evening is no longer an option, at least during the week.

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