Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Greater Scaup at Winsor Dam and another tropical update

Greater Scaup, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 23, 2014
Greater Scaup, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 23, 2014
Greater Scaup, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 23, 2014
Greater Scaup, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 23, 2014
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 23, 2014
Shapr shinned Hawk (top) and Cooper's Hawk (bottom), Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 23, 2014
With continued northerly winds last night and occasional showers I once again went looking for Black Terns at Quabbin but no luck today. Despite no luck finding a tern I managed to turn up an unusually early no breeding plumage male Greater Scaup. I originally saw the bird on the water swimming steadily east before it turned north. The bird was not in a typical plumage I see (non breeding) so it took me a few minutes to figure out exactly what it was (or what I believe it is). There are three species (and possibly a fourth if you consider Tufted Duck) that are quite similar in appearance, especially at a distance. I eliminated Lesser Scaup due to size, head shape and overall build of the bird and eliminated Ring necked Duck for several reasons including overall shape and bill and plumage details. Somewhat an unusual species inland but really unusual on the third week in August...not really what I was expecting to find this morning but with Quabbin you never know! 

Besides the scaup I had four American Kestrels including a group of three together slowly working their way south, low over the water...interesting behavior for this species.  Also a few other raptors including a Sharp shinned Hawk harassing a Cooper's Hawk as they both moved south plus a couple Bald Eagles.
Pileated Woodpecker, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Aug 23, 2014
Between trips to Winsor Dam I stopped over at Lake Wallace and found some decent stuff including a calling Virginia Rail, 28 Wood Ducks, three Hooded Mergansers, four Green Herons and at least 16 Pine Warblers of various ages in one group.
Winsor Dam at dawn, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 23, 2014
I started my morning before dawn at Winsor Dam which produced 35+ Mallards and about a dozen Ring billed Gull and an impressive sunrise.

Yet another update on the tropics today as the area of disturbed weather in the Caribbean continues to slowly develop and the latest forecast tracks actually show an increase in the chances of a impact on the east coast of the US somewhere between Florida and the northeast (more likely further south). Yet again there are still many questions with where this system will eventually end up and when. Even those with vast knowledge of tropical systems are having a tough time figuring this storm out. It certainly bears watching and my fingers are crossed for some impact here...time will tell.  I have included some of the sites I find quite helpful in trying to figure out tropical systems.

Jeff Masters weather blog

Tropical Tidbits

National Hurricane Center

Fox hurricane site

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