Friday, April 11, 2014

Birding around the valley the last couple days

Wood Ducks, Ring necked Ducks and Mallards, Aqua Vitae Rd, Hadley, MA, Apr 11, 2014
Blue winged Teal, Greater Yellowlegs and Wilson's Snipe, Old Pilgrim Airport, Hatfield, MA, Apr 11, 2014
Wilson's Snipe, Old Pilgrim Airport, Hatfield, MA, Apr 11, 2014
Lesser Scaup, Route 9 marsh, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 11, 2014
Bufflehead, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 11, 2014
With all the strong southerly winds last night and the radar lighting up early on and rain predicted overnight I had high hopes of finding some good stuff and did indeed have some good birds (the rain overnight never materialized).  I started the morning predawn at Winsor Dam where I had five Bufflehead, six Common Mergansers and three Great Black backed Gulls (somewhat unusual here…no sign of the Iceland Gull from yesterday).  I then met up with Jacob and we had the following highlights as we explored various areas along the river:  Aqua Vitae Road- 59 Wood Ducks, 8 Black Ducks, 26 Green winged Teal, 39 Ring necked Ducks, four Killdeer and a few hundred blackbirds and grackles.  Lake Warner area- a couple Northern Rough winged Swallows, 100+ Cedar Waxwings and a Field Sparrow.  Old Pilgrim Airport in Hatfield- a female Blue winged Teal, 21 Green winged Teal, a flyby Common Loon heading north, a vocal American Kestrel, six Killdeer, a Greater Yellowlegs, two Pectoral Sandpipers, 25 Wilson’s Snipe and 13 Horned Larks.  Arcadia- five Wilson’s Snipe, a Pine Warbler, a Field Sparrow and two Fox Sparrow.  After dropping Jacob off I hit a few other areas with the following highlights:  Covey WMA- a Ring necked Pheasant, an Osprey, an American Kestrel, two Barred Owls calling back and forth at 11am, four Pine Warblers and a Field Sparrow.  Beaver Lake Ware- a couple Bufflehead, 16 Common Mergansers and a Common Loon.  Route 9 marsh-five Lesser Scaup (odd at this location), a Bufflehead, a Pied billed Grebe and three Pine Warbler.  Winsor Dam- four Bufflehead, a Pied billed Grebe, six Turkey Vulture, an Osprey and another Pine Warbler.  Many stops had Eastern Phoebes, Tree Swallows, Northern Flickers and Chipping Sparrows in decent numbers.  Certainly an influx of birds last night but nothing too extreme.
Pied billed Grebe, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 11, 2014
Horned Grebes, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 11, 2014
Horned Grebes and Bufflehead, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 11, 2014
After getting a few things done around the house I headed over to Winsor Dam again to see what might be moving on the continued southerly winds before the rain came in.  The four Bufflehead and the Pied billed Grebe continued but I also had a group of five Horned Grebes, three Common Loons, ten Turkey Vultures, three Bald Eagles and 16 Tree Swallows.  The rain started up about 3:45 and continued as I left a bit after four.  It was a very nice day to be outside with the temperatures eventually reaching the upper 60's...almost like the tropics!  It was even better to spend some time at Quabbin trying to find some waterfowl (and other stuff).  I intend to spend more time over there this weekend and with any luck I will have some success.  After today and yesterday I have reached 123 species for Hampshire County so far...I may indeed have to try to break my old record.
Blackbirds (Rusty or Brewer's), Old Pilgrim Airport, Hatfield, MA, Apr 10, 2014
Blackbird (Rusty or Brewer's), Old Pilgrim Airport, Hatfield, MA, Apr 10, 2014
Pectoral Sandpiper, Old Pilgrim Airport, Hatfield, MA, Apr 10, 2014
Yesterday I had some interesting birds on a very windy day.  I managed to stop at the Old Pilgrim Airport on the Hatfield/Whately line and had the following highlights: a couple pectoral sandpipers, a couple snipe, 32 killdeer, a couple American Pipits, nine Horned Larks and a couple interesting blackbirds at the old pilgrim airport on the Hatfield/Whately line hat may have been Brewer's Blackbirds.   I initially heard the blackbirds call a few times and my thought was a rusty that didn't sound quite right. I took a look at them through the scope and they were mainly facing away. I took a few shots before they flew off. In retrospect the sound seemed more like a Brewers but it was damn windy there so that may have had an impact on the sound.  After listening to more recordings of brewers I'm more convinced now that is what I heard. The birds certainly looked a bit more iridescent overall but lighting was not great.  Another good one that got away I guess.  I also had a juvenile Iceland gull at Winsor dam at sunset in among the Ring billed Gulls.

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