Saturday, October 3, 2015

A windy day spent around Quabbin

Bonaparte's Gull (with Ring billed Gulls), Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 3, 2015
Bonaparte's Gull (with Ring billed Gulls), Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 3, 2015
Bonaparte's Gull (with Ring billed Gull), Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 3, 2015
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 3, 2015
The strong northeast winds continued all day today along with rain and drizzle until after midday with a temperatures in the 40's made for some very miserable conditions outside.  I nonetheless spent hours trying my best to turn up something unusual.  The best I could do was a Bonaparte's Gull at Winsor Dam in among nearly a hundred Ring billed Gulls (and one Herring Gull).  I picked up the bird as it flew in with a group of gulls and then settled on the water before disappearing later on.  Distance and poor weather conditions made trying to get photos a bit difficult but I managed a few marginal shots.  The numbers of gulls present throughout the day was quite variable with the highest numbers during the worst weather of the morning.    I made a number of stops at Winsor Dam over the course of the day as well as stops at Quabbin Park, Beaver Lake and Lake Wallace.  Not much at any of these spots but I did turn up nearly fifty Wood Ducks at the Route 9 marsh.  Once the rain lifted later in the day there were a few raptors moving but few species of waterfowl.  Another noteworthy sighting occurred when I lifted my head from viewing through the scope to see a Cooper's Hawk zipping past me at eye level just a few feet away as it went past me to try for a Gray Squirrel (which it barely missed).  Late in the day at Winsor Dam I had a brief look at a swallow species that went zipping past...too brief of a look in poor light to say for certain what species it was.  

A few (of many) lists from today:

Quabbin Park:
Winsor Dam:
Winsor Dam:
Winsor Dam:

Satellite image of Hurricane Joaquin showing well defined eye as a strong Category 4 storm and large plume of moisture streaming into the carolinas, Oct 3, 2015 (image courtesy  NASA/GSFC)
Hurricane Joaquin projected path as 2PM, Oct 3, 2015 (courtesy NHC)
Hurricane Joaquin has finally started to move away from the Bahamas but it actually strengthened again to nearly Category 5 status with winds at 155MPH.  Truly amazing given the area the storm is in and the fact that there is a very strong El Nino.  It appears the incredible warm waters in the area are really powering up the storm.  It is still forecast to head rapidly off the the northeast, way off shore from the US and far enough away from Bermuda to spare them a direct hit.  The storm is likely to displace some birds all the way over to Europe and I'm sure some really unusual stuff will show up over there.  The storm (along with some other weather features) continues to funnel copious amounts of moisture into the areas of the carolinas with historic flooding conditions being the result. 

Below are the latest projected positions and wind speed per the NHC. 


INIT  03/1600Z 26.0N  71.6W  135 KT 155 MPH
 12H  04/0000Z 27.9N  70.2W  130 KT 150 MPH
 24H  04/1200Z 30.7N  68.0W  115 KT 130 MPH
 36H  05/0000Z 33.0N  66.9W  100 KT 115 MPH
 48H  05/1200Z 35.0N  65.5W   80 KT  90 MPH
 72H  06/1200Z 39.0N  59.0W   70 KT  80 MPH
 96H  07/1200Z 43.5N  45.0W   60 KT  70 MPH
120H  08/1200Z 48.5N  26.0W   55 KT  65 MPH...POST-TROP/EXTRATROP

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