Monday, November 4, 2013

Winsor Dam (and other areas)....possible sighting of a very unusual species

Bald Eagle with leg band, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2013
Bald Eagle, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2013
Red tailed Hawk, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2013
American Crow, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2013
American Crows, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2013
Snow Buntings, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2013
Snow Buntings, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Nov 4, 2013
Although yesterday featured lots of waterfowl at Quabbin Park this morning the featured almost no waterfowl at all with only the following seen:  9 Black Ducks, two Wood Ducks, half a dozen Hooded Mergansers, 7 Common Mergansers, six Horned Grebe, two Common Loons, 78 Mallards, a dozen Canada Geese and a few unidentified ducks.  The vast majority of these were at the Route 9 marsh.  Once again the weather today featured lots of wind out of the north and the day felt more like winter as the temperature started out in the low 20's.  I spent a good portion of the morning at Quabbin Park with the vast majority of the time at Winsor Dam.  My hopes were on finding a Golden Eagle but no luck with that species again but I did have nine Bald Eagles (one with leg bands), three Northern Harriers (all together in one group), 8 Red tailed Hawks and a Peregrine Falcons.  Lots of migrating American Crows today with at least 1564 seen in three hours at Winsor Dam alone.  This total is a minimum count and I'm certain I missed many when I was looking elsewhere.  Another highlight at Winsor Dam included a group of 21 Snow Buntings that flew around Winsor Dam before flying across the water and disappearing into the western cove not to appear again.  I was joined for part of my time at the dam by Devin.

The best bird of the day turned out to be one that may have indeed have been a truly unusual bird-a Northern Wheatear.  I initially saw the bird just before 10AM. I found the bird in flight while scoping the far end of Winsor Dam viewed from in front of the admin building. I immediately started following the bird as it seemed interesting as far as flight pattern was concerned (and I had seen so few passerines so far during my time there this morning). The bird was quite a bit smaller and trimmer than a robin but had a thrush like appearance from a distance. The flight pattern was direct with several somewhat shallow wingbeats following by a short glide...very unique in appearance. I kept the bird in view for probably 25 seconds before it disappeared to the southwest, not to be found again. The bird was seen throughout through a spotting scope in very good light. No strongly obvious facial pattern. The overall coloration was a bright light sandy/rufous color with an obvious white on rump/base of tail and dark on tip. The tail was fairly short. The underwings appeared light. No chance to get a photo through the scope or with the camera as I knew looking away would lose the bird and I wanted to try to get as many details before it flew out of view. I took notes after viewing the bird and then consulted a few field guides to see if I could come up with an ID other than a wheatear. I'm stumped as to what else it could be. I have only seen one other wheatear so I'm far from an expert on the species so I'm looking for other possibilities I may have overlooked.  I wish I was able to get a photo!  Worth keeping an eye out in the area if anyone makes a stop there.

No comments:

Post a Comment