Friday, November 28, 2014

Lark Sparrow at the Honey Pot plus lots of other birds around the valley

Lark Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Nov 28, 2014
Lark Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Nov 28, 2014
Lark Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Nov 28, 2014
Lark Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Nov 28, 2014
White throated Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Nov 28, 2014
After spending the early morning birding (more about that below) I was at home when I got a call from Scott S. telling me he had spotted a Lark Sparrow in the Honey Pot in Hadley.  As this would be a great bird to catch up with I headed right over, arriving around 10:30.  Scott was still there when I arrived but the bird had flown away and was not being seen at the moment.  After a bit of scanning around we were still having no luck finding the bird so I decided to walk one of the hedgerows trying to find it.  I spent about a half hour looking without success.  I then headed back to my car with the intention of checking a few other spots before I headed for home.  Thankfully the bird was waiting for me when I returned to my car as it happily fed near, and at times, under my car.  It was a very cooperative bird that fed right along the edge of the busy Cemetery Road.  I enjoyed close up looks of this species of the west.  Not only did this bird add a new species to my Hampshire County list for this year it was a new county bird (#283) overall as well as a new state bird (#315).  I have seen the species out west at numerous times but never out east.  The Lark Sparrow became species #236 for Hampshire County this year, matching my previous best year.  What (if any) species will be #237 and break my old record?  Who knows?  Besides the Lark Sparrow highlights at the Honey Pot included a Merlin, 85+ Horned Larks, a dozen Snow Buntings, a Savannah Sparrow, 11 White thoated Sparrows and an immature White crowned Sparrow.
Savannah Sparrow, Aqua Vitae Road, Hadley, MA, Nov 28, 2014
Canada Geese and Mallards, Hadley Cove, Hadley, MA, Nov 28, 2014
After my time at the Honey Pot I made a swing through Aqua Vitae Road and then over to Hadley Cove.  Aqua Vitae Road had a dozen Horned Larks, three Snow Buntings and 13 Savannah Sparrows.  Hadley Cove had some decent waterfowl numbers but nothing unusual.  My totals there included 428 Canada Geese, 8 Black Ducks, 118 Mallards and a few MallardxBlack Duck hybrids.
Pine Siskins, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Nov 28, 2014
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Nov 28, 2014
Hooded Merganser, Beaver Lake, Ware, MA, Nov 28, 2014
Before heading over to Hadley to go after the Lark Sparrow I spent a few hours this morning around the south Quabbin area with stops at Winsor Dam and Beaver Lake.  Quabbin Park itself remains closed as the roads have still not been plowed as of this morning.  Winsor Dam featured some waterfowl over the course of the morning including 140 Canada Geese (90+ on the water way out in the distance), 28 Black Ducks, 169 Mallards, a Hooded Merganser and a few Common Loons. Other species of interest included half a dozen Snow Buntings and around 50 Pine Siskins.  Beaver Lake held four Mallards, a female Bufflehead, 83 Hooded Mergansers and a lucky 13 Common Mergansers.

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