Thursday, March 20, 2014

The past several mornings of waterfowl (plus an evening of birding)

Common Mergansers, Hadley, MA, Mar 20, 2014
Common Mergansers, Hadley, MA, Mar 20, 2014

Ring necked Duck, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Mar 19, 2014
Red necked Grebe, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Mar 19, 2014
I woke up a bit earlier than usual on Wednesday so had a few more minutes to spend searching for unusual waterfowl before work.  I hit the area below the Coolidge bridge before the crew teams got a chance to scare everything away and found the following waterfowl: 32 Canada Geese, half a dozen Mallards and a single Hooded Merganser…some of the lowest numbers I have had there in quite awhile.  I then headed over to the North Lane Conservation Area and had 14 Canada Geese, three Mallards and 8 Ring necked Duck.  My final stop was a quick stop to view the Connecticut River from the Honey Pot and had  12 Canada Geese, 7 Wood Duck, 21 Mallard, a Ring necked Duck, two Hooded Merganser, a Common Merganser and a Red necked Grebe.  I also had at least three Horned Larks flying over as well as an eagle sitting on the nest.  While I was at work someone reported a Snowy Owl being mobbed by a couple of Peregrines at the Honey Pot.  Other searching for it later in the day had no luck.  I’m sure the owl was moving through back north and unfortunately ran across a pair of falcons which made it feel less than welcomed.  Hopefully it will find a spot to feed and fuel up a bit close by before continuing north.
On my way home I stopped briefly along the river in Hadley and had three Wood Ducks, 11 Mallard and 21 Common Mergansers plus a couple Turkey Vultures drifting by.
Bald Eagle at deer carcass, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 18, 2014
Bald Eagles on ice, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 18, 2014
On a  sunny but cold (near 10 degrees) Tuesday morning I had just a couple minutes in the morning so I stopped at the Coolidge Bridge area and had 72 Mallard, 10 Ring necked Duck and 3 Hooded Merganser.  Later in the day I took Wilson for a late walk at Covey WMA and we had at least four Turkey Vultures circling around.  We made a brief stop at Winsor Dam on the way home and found four Bald Eagles (with three still on the much reduced deer carcass).  I returned to Covey at dusk and found two distant, displaying American Woodcock as well as some waterfowl including a couple Canada Geese, a couple Black Ducks, at least 27 Mallards and a pair of Hooded Mergansers.  All the waterfowl were flybys as the marshes at Covey remain frozen.  As it got dark I walked a bit checking out spots for owls.  My reward for spending some time out on the icy trails was a Northern Saw whet Owl responding to playback.  Never got a look at it and I didn’t stick around too long as I didn’t want to bother it too much.  Oddly no other owls at all besides this one.

Ring necked Duck, Connecticut River, Hadley, MA, Mar 17, 2014
On Monday I stopped first at North Lane where I had 12 Canada Geese, 18 Ring necked Duck and two Hooded Merganser and then I stopped over near the Coolidge Bridge and had 67 Mallard, 6 Ring necked Duck and a Hooded Merganser.  No time to check other spots that day.

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