Sunday, January 26, 2014

Quabbin Park and a nice gift to commemorate my big county year

Bald Eagles on ice, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Jan 26, 2014
Bald Eagles on ice, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Jan 26, 2014
Bald Eagles on ice, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Jan 26, 2014
River Otter eating fish, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Jan 26, 2014
Winsor Dam at dawn, Quabbin Park, Jan 26, 2014
After the snow last night more cold air moved in overnight with some fairly strong winds.  I originally planned to head over to some areas along the river but with the cold temps and strong winds I decided to stay a bit closer to home.  I spent about an hour at Quabbin Park with most of that time at Winsor Dam.  Not a whole lot of activity but it was interesting to watch a group of River Otters playing around and fishing near of the small areas of open water.  They managed to catch a few decent sized fish, which caught the attention of first one then another eagle.  Eventually at least six Bald Eagles came in to try to see if they could get in on the action.  If the cold weather continues (which it is predicted to do) the reservoir should freeze over completely and perhaps a carcass will make it out onto the ice.  When a carcass makes it out there (usually from the DCR staff but sometimes due to a deer falling on the ice) the eagles will congregate in good numbers.  It has been several years since the reservoir has frozen completely but this year looks like it will probably happen again.  Beyond the eagles had just over 30 Ring billed Gulls but no big numbers of gulls roosting.  I also had a flyby Common Merganser at Winsor Dam and a group of four of them in a small open water area at Goodnough Dike.

Late in the morning while on my way to Hadley I made a brief stop at the Silvio Conte NWR along Moody Bridge Road and found a single Eastern Meadowlark way out in a field.  I'm sure there were more around (up to 8 have been seen lately) but I didn't have too much time to look around.
Mosaic of a large selection of the birds I found in Hampshire County last year
A big "Thank You" to Steve, Ann and Bob for the fantastic gift they got me to commemorate my big Hampshire County year last year.  They took the time to go through my photos and pull out a large selection of those I found throughout the year and put them into a large mosaic...very cool.  The card along with it was great too.  Although I would have enjoyed a six pack of Imperial beer from Costa Rica, the photo is even better.  Thanks again....if I get gifts at the end of a big county year perhaps I should try it again!  (However, trying to beat last years total of 236 may be beyond my skill and luck!)

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