Friday, October 17, 2014

Quabbin Park and the east side of the river

Black Ducks, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 17, 2014
Pied billed Grebe, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 17, 2014
Looking north toward shaft 12, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 17, 2014
Horned Grebes, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 17, 2014
I headed out this morning in search of both waterfowl and the possibility of some odd flycatcher being blown in by all the southerly winds over the last several days (plus whatever else I might be able to run across). No luck with any unusual flycatchers but did run across some waterfowl but nothing too unusual. It turned out to be another warm, breezy day with temperatures reaching 70 degrees. I started out predawn at Quabbin Park (with stops at Hank's Meadow, Goodnough Dike and the route 9 marsh) and had the following waterfowl: a Canada Goose, eight Wood Ducks, 63 Black Ducks (most at Hank's Meadow), 55 Mallards, a Hooded Merganser, two Common Merganser, ten Common Loons, a Pied billed Grebe and eight Horned Grebes. Other species among the thirty in the park included a couple Hermit Thrushes, a Gray Catbird and several Pine Siskins flying by. A stop at Winsor Dam on my way west didn't produce any waterfowl. A brief stop at Lake Metacomet didn't turn up the Ruddy Duck that was there a few days ago but I did find a Pied billed Grebe plus some Mallards and a group of 35+ Common Grackles moving through the pines. 
Bald Eagle at nest, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Oct 17, 2014
I then headed over to the Honey Pot and drove the roads trying to turn up an odd flycatcher. I had one distant candidate but it turned out to just be a robin perched at the top of a tall tree. There were some raptors around (five species) including a Bald Eagle back sitting in the nest. I had several groups of blackbirds fly over heading toward the river but not sure where they set down so I wasn't able to comb through the flocks looking for anything out of the ordinary. I did have a flock of 33 Canada Geese flying east and appearing to be heading down in to some of the nearby fields. I went searching for where the flock came down and I eventually found a flock of 120+ geese feeding in among the corn stubble near Rocky Hill Road. I then headed north along the river to check the numerous other fields but didn't find any other groups of geese. 
Mute Swans (with Canada Goose), Lake Warner, Hadley, MA, Oct 17, 2014
A brief stop at Lake Warner on my way through the fields turned up a Canada Goose, three Mute Swans (adults with a juvenile) and a Double crested Cormorant that captured a large fish. Once I had checked the areas I wanted to cover I made my way back home and picked up Wilson and we went for a walk along the Jabish Canal where we had around thirty species including Winter Wren, a few raptors, three Eastern Phoebes, a catbird, and three species of warbler. The number of warblers and catbirds has dropped off considerably lately as more and more birds migrate. I'm sure many more will move once the winds switch around on Sunday.

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