Sunday, February 7, 2016

Post snowstorm birding over the weekend

American Tree Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, Feb 7, 2016
Savannah Sparrows, Honey Pot, Hadley, Feb 7, 2016
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 7, 2016
Red necked Grebe, Hank's Meadow, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 7, 2016
I made an attempt to get over to Quabbin Park early in order to check out the waterfowl roost but the gates didn't open until too late in the morning.  Without any luck in getting into Quabbin Park itself I instead went to Winsor Dam where I had a gathering of around three hundred gulls with most being Ring billed Gulls with about a dozen Herring Gulls and two Great black backed Gulls.  With the gates still closed at Quabbin I decided to head over to Hadley and check the Honey Pot and a small part of the rail trail.  The Honey Pot had just over forty Horned Larks, 45+ American Tree Sparrows and at least 13 Savannah Sparrows.  A brief stop along the rail trail near the mall was unproductive.  With the calm conditions I decided to use my remaining time in the morning over at Quabbin looking for waterfowl.  On my way there I had a group of 32 Wild Turkeys at a house that feeds them on Bay Road in Belchertown (largest group I have had there in a while...I guess the snow pushed them in).  Quabbin Park produced 15 Common Mergansers, a calling Common Loon, a Red necked Grebe (a darker individual compared to the one I had yesterday at Winsor Dam...see below), a kingfisher and a flyby Snow Bunting.
American Tree Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, Feb 6, 2016
Dark eyed Junco, Honey Pot, Hadley, Feb 6, 2016
Savannah Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, Feb 6, 2016
Dawn in the East Meadows, Northampton, MA, Feb 6, 2016
Predawn, Honey Pot, Hadley, Feb 6, 2016
I spent the entire morning yesterday at various areas along the Connecticut River with most of my time spent in the East Meadows and the Honey Pot. I was not sure how accessible the areas would be after the snowfall on Friday but the area of Hadley/Northampton received only a few inches of snow so access was not really an issue. It was very cold (8 degrees before dawn) but it was thankfully not breezy. The cold temperatures created some ground level fog as well as lots of ice crystals on everything along the river which made for some spectacular views. The East Meadows were a bit tricky in spots due to some snow and ice and ruts but I still managed to hit a few spots that were not occupied by hunters. Flocks of Horned Larks were around as well as the typical sparrows plus a single Red winged Blackbird. The Honey Pot was a bit more active with a heard only White crowned Sparrow that sang a partial song a couple of times but was never seen (it was in the same area where the 'Gambel's' has been but I never got a look at the bird). More Horned Larks were around too as well as numbers of American Tree Sparrows plus at least eleven Savannah Sparrows. I spent some time along the rail trail near the mall looking for a Pine Warbler that Harvey had there a few days ago. He said it was associating with a flock of juncos and bluebirds but I was only able to find juncos and the warbler was not with them.
Cedar Waxwing, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 6, 2016
Cedar Waxwing, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 6, 2016
Cedar Waxwing, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 6, 2016
Red necked Grebe, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 6, 2016

I made a quick stop at Winsor Dam in the early afternoon and found a Red necked Grebe (#89) as well as all three species of mergansers including a female Red breasted Merganser. The fruiting trees also attracted a number of Cedar Waxwings and American Robins and they allowed for some close up Bohemian Waxwings with them but I certainly hoped for them.

The early through mid part of the upcoming week looks to feature at least the chance of snow with the potential for either just a few minor bursts of snow or a big storm. No one wants to commit to any concrete forecasts at this point...I assume because they flubbed the last storm so badly.

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