Monday, October 12, 2015

Columbus Day weekend birding

White throated Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Oct 10, 2015
Chipping Sparrow, Orchard Hill, UMASS, Amherst, MA, Oct 10, 2015
The forecast for Saturday showed northerly winds all day and I hoped that the winds would bring in some waterfowl. I intended on spending the morning at Quabbin but the activity there was much lower than expected with just a few Common Loons and a couple Horned Grebes on the reservoir plus 27 Wood Ducks and 14 Black Ducks at the marsh. With so little activity at Quabbin I decided to change my plans and headed over to Orchard Hill at UMASS on the long shot chance of catching up with a Yellow breasted Chat that was captured and released in the area yesterday. Not surprisingly I was unable to find the chat but it could still be in the area as there is an extensive amount of good habitat around (or perhaps it has moved on). Stops at the campus pond and a few fields in North Hadley were not very productive. A brief stop at Lake Warner produced a high count of five Blue winged Teal plus two Pied billed Grebes. My final stop over in the Hadley area was over to 'That's a Plenty Farm' where there were decent numbers of sparrows but nothing beyond the expected species. 
Wilson checking out the fall colors, Jabish Canal, Belchertown, MA, Oct 10, 2015
Black Vultures (really!), Jabish Canal, Belchertown, MA, Oct 10, 2015
I then headed for home to pick up Wilson to go for a walk along the Jabish Canal which produced two Black Vultures soaring by together...first time I have had this species there.
Blue headed Vireo, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 11, 2015
Baltimore Oriole, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 11, 2015
Red eyed Vireo, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 11, 2015
Yellow rumped Warbler 'Myrtle', Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 11, 2015
Lincoln's Sparrow, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 11, 2015
Northern Mockingbird, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 11, 2015
Wilson's Snipe, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 11, 2015
On Sunday morning I headed over to Arcadia and despite some dense fog on my way there, Arcadia was relatively clear. I spent the majority of my time exploring the meadows but started off the morning at the marsh and had decent waterfowl numbers including nearly a hundred Mallards, 44 Wood Ducks and 9 Black Ducks plus one each of Green winged Teal and Canada Geese (lots more geese flew over throughout the morning). The meadows once again featured lots of sparrows and Palm Warblers (although the numbers were down a bit from my last visit here a few days ago). Nearly sixty species over the course of the morning was was the weather eventually when it warmed up (patchy frost over there to start the morning). Full lists with additional photos here:
Horned Grebes, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 12, 2015
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 12, 2015
Today I decided to stay close to home in the morning and spent time checking a few spots at Quabbin (Winsor Dam, Hank's Meadow and the Route 9 marsh) as well as Beaver Lake.  The early morning fog made viewing a bit tough but I was able to eventually check the areas I visited fairly thoroughly.  Still not a ton of waterfowl but a slight increase from previous visits with highlights including 28 Wood Ducks, 13 Black Ducks, five Common Loons and a half dozen Horned Grebes plus some Canada Geese and Mallards.  It was much more pleasant today with morning temperatures in the mid 40's and highs reaching the mid 70's (our last gasp of warm weather I suspect).  We have one more day near 70 tomorrow and then the tumble begins with highs by the end of the week and next weekend forecast to struggle to reach 50...fall is certainly here now.


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