Sunday, December 14, 2014

Northampton CBC and a report of a Black headed Gull in Hadley

I headed out before dawn to cover my area around Hampshire College for the Northampton Christmas Bird Count.  The main focus before dawn is owls and I had decent luck with them this morning finding four Great Horned Owls (plus the two found by Jacob and Alex) bringing our area total to six.  Despite our best efforts to find other species of owls we struck out although we did find some recent owl pellets and some whitewash in a pine grove but no owls.  Once it got light enough we spent the rest of the morning exploring various spots within our territory and by late morning (when I left) we had a total of 35 species.  Highlights included an immature Great Blue Heron, a Sharp shinned Hawk, 12 Red bellied Woodpeckers, two Northern Flickers, 269 American Crows (most heading north), 24 White breasted Nuthatches, two Hermit Thrushes and a flyover Pine Siskin.
Red necked Grebe, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Dec 14, 2014
Red necked Grebe, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Dec 14, 2014
Red necked Grebe, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Dec 14, 2014
As no day is complete without a stop at Quabbin I made a brief stop at Winsor Dam on my way home and had a Red necked Grebe out among the waves.
Gulls heading to roost (Is the Black headed Gull among them?  Maybe), Home, Belchertown, MA, Dec 14, 2014
Late in the afternoon I got a call from Jacob saying he just heard about a Black headed Gull being seen along Mill Valley Road in Hadley but it had flown off heading toward the malls.  The initial observer of the bird managed a few digiscoped shots before it flew.  Not great shots but certainly identifiable.  It was too late in the day to try to make a run over there to find it as the gulls would soon be heading to roost.  Perhaps it was in among the hundreds of gulls that came over the house at dusk heading to roost at Quabbin?  This would be a new bird for the year for me so hopefully it shows back up somewhere nearby and stays put.  The CBC always seems to produce some nice rarity.

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