Friday, September 12, 2014

Quabbin Park, Quabbin Gate 5 and prospects for the rest of the year in Hampshire County

Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Sep 12, 2014
White throated Sparrow (photo through binos with iPhone), Quabbin Park, Sep 12, 2014
The migration conditions looked OK last night but the radar was not super active so I was not really sure what to expect this morning when I headed out. The forecast for today was sunny with winds of 5-8 MPH out of the north...reality this morning was clouds and a sustained 15-20 MPH wind out of the north with temperatures in the low 50's. It felt more like mid October than mid September as I arrived at Winsor Dam before dawn. I had hoped to try to turn up a late whip poor will but the wind was just too strong. I decided to try my luck at Lake Wallace but I was right behind a couple of kayakers driving in so I decided to skip the lake and head back to Quabbin Park instead. The continued strong wind made birding difficult and I didn't find too much that was noteworthy beyond my first of fall White throated Sparrow and a Tennessee Warbler (one of only four warbler species in the park this morning).  I also spent some time checking out Winsor Dam again in the distant hope of finding a Northern Wheatear which is a very, very rare migrant through the area (I have only seen one in western mass before...up in Franklin County). The time of year is right and with all the northerly winds (and a bird currently in Ohio) perhaps one will show up around here again?

I came home and picked up Wilson for a mid morning walk along the Jabish Canal.  We hoped (or at least I did) to find some hawks migrating but we didn't see any at all.
Eastern Towhee, Quabbin Gate 5, Sep 12, 2014
Eastern Towhee, Quabbin Gate 5, Sep 12, 2014
Quabbin Gate 5 (boat launch area on left and winsor dam on right), Sep 12, 2014
After lunch I decided to try a walk over at Quabbin Gate 5. Again nothing too extraordinary but ran across a few small groups of birds. At least the temperatures had warmed up by this point so it was more comfortable.

Tonight looks good for migration so I'm hopeful tomorrow morning will be productive...we shall see.  I'll be out listening for flight calls and hopefully enjoying some northern lights courtesy of some strong solar activity. I didn't notice anything last night but will be looking for it tonight.

Now to take a look at where I stand in regards to my Hampshire County birds for the year.  At this point I'm at 226 which is ten shy of my record from last year and three ahead of last year for the same date.  Below is a list of birds I have seen in the past in Hampshire County grouped by likelihood of being found again this you can see many are quite unlikely so making it to the record mark will involve a lot of luck.

Likely with enough looking
Black Scoter
Connecticut Warbler

Unlikely but possible with a bit of luck
Greater White fronted Goose
Ruddy Duck
Orange crowned Warbler

Very unlikely but still possible
Tundra Swan
Rufous Hummingbird

Very unlikely
Ross's Goose
Eurasian Wigeon
Barrow's Goldeneye
Great Cormorant
Least Bittern
Snowy Egret
Common Gallinule
Ruddy Turnstone
Baird's Sandpiper
White rumped Sandpiper
Black headed Gull
Lesser Black backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Western Kingbird
White eyed Vireo
Boreal Chickadee
Sedge Wren
Golden winged Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Nelson's Sparrow
Yellow headed Blackbird

Possible with a late season irruption of species
Snowy Owl
Bohemian Waxwing
Pine Grosbeak
White winged Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Hoary Redpoll

Nearing impossible this year
Trumpter Swan
King Eider
White tailed Tropicbird
Tricolored Heron
White tailed Hawk
Hudsonian Godwit
Wilson's Phalarope
Red Phalarope
Parasitic Jaeger
Black legged Kittiwake
Sooty Tern
Allen's Hummingbird
Varied Thrush
Lazuli Bunting


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