Friday, January 2, 2015

A morning along the Connecticut River from South Hadley to Amherst

Cackling Goose (middle), UMASS fields, Amherst, MA, Jan 2, 2015
Goose flock (2300+ birds),UMASS fields, Amherst, MA, Jan 2, 2015
Canada Goose with odd neck pattern, UMASS fields, Amherst, MA, Jan 2, 2015
Common Goldeneyes, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Jan 2, 2015
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Jan 2, 2015
I did more birding by car today covering the area from below the Holyoke Dam in South Hadley up the Connecticut River through Hadley and then over to the area around UMASS.  The area around the dam held around 700 Canada Geese plus 17 Common Goldeneyes, 25 Common Mergansers, a pair of Hooded Mergansers and Black Ducks and Mallards plus Mute Swans.  The Connecticut River near the East Meadows held 1200+ Canada Geese, 245+ Mallards and a few Common Mergansers.  A stop at the Honey Pot produced more sparrows as well as Horned Larks and 1000+ Canada Geese heading north.  I headed north to try to find where the large groups of geese had settled down to feed and I eventually caught up with them on the UMASS campus as they fed on the athletic fields.  I counted a total of 2316 Canada Geese (including one with an odd neck pattern) plus one Cackling Goose in among them.  With such a large gathering of geese I was very hopeful to find an unusual goose among them and luckily turned up the Cackler (not as nice as the Ross's Goose that was recently up in Turners Falls or the two Barnacle Geese found along the river in Longmeadow today but better than nothing).  The nearby campus pond still held hundreds of Mallards and two Northern Pintails plus some Black Ducks and Canada Geese.  A run through Quabbin Park later turned up three female Ring necked Ducks in among 100+ Mallards viewed from Enfield Lookout plus a total of four Hooded Mergansers.  Very happy to have already made it to 52 species for the year so far in Hampshire County (not even attempting another big county year but just fun to catch up with this many species in just a couple days birding mainly from the car). 

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