Sunday, October 12, 2014

Quabbin Park this morning and a fruitless search for a Nelson's Sparrow at Arcadia this afternoon

Osprey, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 12, 2014
Common Loon, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 12, 2014
Pine Siskins, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 12, 2014
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 12, 2014
Canada Geese, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 12, 2014
With the clear conditions and light northerly winds forecast for today I planned on spending a good portion of the morning at Winsor Dam watching migrants move by.  However the fog made me modify my plans and I spent a portion of the morning at Winsor Dam and the remainder in Quabbin Park itself (with a couple unproductive side trips to Beaver Lake).  I stayed out until almost eleven and by that time the hordes of people just made it less than enjoyable to be out.  Overall there certainly was some migration taking place with some geese moving as well as a few other species of waterfowl but the big numbers of migrants came from the groups of Pine Siskins moving by with a total nearing 200 with my first big groups of the year.  Certainly shaping up to be a big influx of siskins this year...the question is what other northern species will follow them?  I managed to find a total of nine species of waterfowl at Quabbin with highlights being 70 Black Ducks, two Green winged Teal, six White winged Scoters (all males flying by Goodnough Dike), eight Common Loons, a Pied billed Grebe and eight Horned Grebes.  Other notable birds included a Ruffed Grouse feeding in a tree, several Purple Finches and a few dozen Yellow rumped Warblers (likely many more than I actually counted).  A total of fifty species for the morning at Quabbin Park.
Palm Warbler (yellow), Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 12, 2014
Savannah Sparrow, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 12, 2014
Purple Finch, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 12, 2014
After I got home for lunch after walking Wilson I noticed a post about a Nelson's Sparrow at Arcadia.  This species is a great bird for the valley but also exceedingly difficult to relocate.  I was going to just wait until tomorrow to try but then I got a text from Jacob and decided we would go try for it.  No luck with it despite a couple hours of effort.  Lots and lots of other sparrow species around even in the middle of the afternoon.  We will give it hell tomorrow and see what we can find!

Meanwhile the tropics have finally started to heat back up with two named storms in the Atlantic at this time.  Hurricane Fay is brushing past Bermuda now and then heading out to sea.  Tropical Storm Gonzalo is near the Lesser Antilles and expected to move through Puerto Rico and then head north. It is expected to reach hurricane strength after a few more days.  Neither system poises any real danger to the mainland U.S. but I thought it worth mentioning the activity as it has been so quiet lately.

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