Sunday, February 1, 2015

January ends and February begins

Dawn, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Feb 1, 2015
Horned Larks enjoying some fresh manure, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Feb 1, 2015
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 1, 2015
I spent a few cold hours this morning on the first day of February trying to find some good stuff in the valley but didn't have much luck.  I started off at the Honey Pot and had just a few Horned Larks and a small group of Canada Geese and 16 Common Mergansers in the river.  Oddly few sparrows around at all.  The nearby Coolidge Bridge produced just a handful of geese, 50+ Mallards and a few Common Mergansers.  Aqua Vitae Road was also quiet with very few birds to be had.  Another run through the Honey Pot turned up a few more birds but it was still quiet.  I then headed over to UMASS to try to catch up with the Bohemian Waxwings there or perhaps the Gray Catbird that has been hanging on despite the cold weather.  No luck with either species but did have 17 Black Ducks among the 230+ Mallards in the small patch of open water on the campus pond.

Later in the day I stopped by Quabbin but with the only open water way out north I didn't have much luck finding any waterfowl.  The trees nearby hold lots of fruit for a waxwing to enjoy and I had a few Cedar Waxwings enjoying them but nothing else unusual with them.
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Jan 31, 2015
I ended the month of January with a total of 89 species in Hampshire County, breaking my previous best January back in 2013 by four species.  I had some really good stuff including some late waterfowl, a few lingering passerines and a few irruptives (including Common Redpoll, Bohemian Waxwing and White winged Crossbill).  Trying to best my previous best January made me get out a little more in the cold weather.   

Year           Jan 10              Jan 20                 Jan31
2015            74                      83                       89
2014            71                      75                       81
2013            75                      82                       85
2012            50                      52                       60

February is looking to continue to be cold and snowing with temperatures below freezing through at least the next week with lows below zero on several days.  We are also forecast to get another foot of snow tonight through tomorrow.  I have a feeling February will be a long month despite it being just 28 days long.

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