Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another morning along the river and elsewhere

Wood Ducks, North Lane Conservation Area, Hadley, MA, Mar 15, 2014
Red necked Grebe, Hadley Falls Canal Park, South Hadley, MA, Mar 15, 2014
I spent another morning along the Connecticut River in search of waterfowl and other migrants.  Although I didn't have nearly the show of oddities showing up to the north at Barton's Cove (Redhead, Canvasback, Long tailed Duck, Red breasted Merganser, both scaup, etc...oh...if only Quabbin where not a huge block of ice!) I still found some good stuff including my 100th species for Hampshire County this year (an Eastern Phoebe) which puts he back ahead of last years record setting year (This year turns out to be the quickest I have ever made it to a hundred species in Hampshire County....just barely as last year I reached 100 on March 16...thank you eBird for keeping track of all this info).  I started predawn in Hadley trying to turn up a woodcock (or Short eared Owl) but had no luck again.  I then made several stop along the river and I have included the waterfowl totals below as well as other highlights.

North Lane Conservation Area:  25 Canada Geese, 53 Wood Duck, 14 Mallard, 28 Ring necked Duck, 6 Common Goldeneye, 5 Hooded Merganser, 7 Common Merganser plus a Killdeer.

Honey Pot:  2 Wood Duck, 21 Mallard, 2 Hooded Merganser and 4 Common Merganser.

Coolidge Bridge area: 133 Canada Geese, 13 Wood Duck, a male Gadwall, 4 Black Duck, 312 Mallard, 4 Northern Pintail, 2 Ring necked Duck, 3 Hooded Merganser, 4 Common Merganser, a Winter Wren and an Eastern Phoebe.

Farm Lane-Hadley:  785+ Canada Geese (first large group of geese I have had in any of the fields along the river).  Checked other fields up through North Hadley and only had a handful more geese.

Mitch's Way: 3 Common Goldeneye

Hadley Falls Canal Park:  2 Mute Swan, 20 Wood Duck, 4 Black Duck, 3 Mallard, 12 Ring necked Duck, 11 Hooded Merganser, a Common Merganser, a Red necked Grebe and a Turkey Vulture.

Holyoke Dam:  2 Mallard, 6 Bufflehead, 2 Common Goldeneye, 2 Hooded Merganser and a Fish Crow.

As you can see from the numbers above there has been an increase in the numbers of several species of waterfowl since yesterday.  The numbers of Red winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles also continue to build with both species present at several stops.
Red shouldered Hawk, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 15, 2014
Red shouldered Hawk, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 15, 2014
Red tailed Hawk, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 15, 2014
Red tailed Hawk, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 15, 2014
Bald Eagle with deer carcass, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 15, 2014
I stopped over at Winsor Dam late in the morning to see if anything remained of the deer carcass from yesterday.  Luckily the coyotes did not destroy the carcass and an occasional Bald Eagle, raven or crow would stop to dine on the deer.  With the southwest winds and somewhat warm temperatures I decided to stay awhile doing a stationary count and had some obvious migration taking place.  I hoped for a Black Vulture but no luck today.  I did have the following highlights during an hour and a half at the dam: seven Canada Geese flying by (a highlight only because with the reservoir totally frozen waterfowl have been nearly nonexistent here), a Turkey Vulture, a couple Cooper's Hawks, four Bald Eagles, three Red shouldered Hawks (a very good count for here), at least ten Red tailed Hawks, a flyby calling Killdeer, at least 278 American Crows (almost all moving northeast), eight Red winged Blackbirds, 14 Common Grackles and a cowbird.

Sadly it looks like our brief warm up will quickly come to an end with temperatures tomorrow getting just above freezing with a strong northwest wind...winter is being a real bastard this year.

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