Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Morning birding before the storm starts produces some good stuff

Winsor Dam before the storm, Nov 26, 2014
Common Loon, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Nov 26, 2014
I had just a little time this morning to get out before the arrival of the first real snow storm of the season and I managed to find some good stuff. With the forecast of rain changing to snow starting between 7-9AM and an appointment at 9AM my time for birding was somewhat limited. I started off a Winsor Dam before daybreak but the wind had already made viewing tough there with a gusty northwest wind. I then headed over to Beaver Lake where I had 49 Hooded Merganser (certainly less than the last few visits there but still decent numbers), three Common Mergansers and a few Mallards plus a continued Belted Kingfisher.  I then headed back over to Quabbin with stops at Goodnough Dike and the Route 9 marsh. The dike was slow with nothing visible on the water but the marsh was a bit more active with 63 Canada Geese as well as 11 Hooded Mergansers plus a very active River Otter. My final stop before picking up Wilson for a quick walk was back to Winsor Dam where I turned up a couple Common Loons plus a flyby Common Goldeneye. Once I got Wilson we headed over to the land trust trail off Route 181 and that is were we had the best birds of the day with the highlight wing four Common Redpolls that flew by heading south. I first heard them and then saw them briefly as they rocketed past. I thought I had heard a redpoll about a week and a half ago but I was not totally certain as I never saw the bird and heard it briefly. The small group this morning was much closer and actually seen. Hopefully the first of many to come of this irruptive species that sometimes can show up in really good numbers (along with its less common cousin, the Hoary Redpoll). The Common Redpolls become species #235 for Hampshire County this year...just one away from tying my old record set last year....if only that Gray Jay and Eared Grebe seen nearby recently had been in the county I would have already broken the old record..oh well. There is still a month plus until the end of the year but I don't have many days available to bird around here so it will take a lot of luck to break the record at this point.


  1. Nice, I've been on the eye out for the Redpolls recently but haven't found one yet. I've had lots of Pine Siskins, a late Common Yellowthroat, and even a White-Winged Crossbill but other than that not much, if that's not much; ).

    1. Keep your eyes and ears out, there are at least some around. Lots of Pine Siskins around here too. No White winged Crossbills out this way this year...but you never know when they could show up.