Sunday, February 28, 2016

The last few days around the valley add a couple more species for the year

Common Mergansers, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 28, 2016
Common Loon, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 28, 2016
Bald Eagle, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 28, 2016
Got up bright and early this morning to head out to try to find an early American Woodcock over at Covey WMA. I arrived there just after 5:30 and had a woodcock almost immediately fluttering around and added another new species for the county becoming #98. I then made the walk out to the larger fields where I typically find numerous woodcocks but oddly I didn't have any there. I then headed over to Winsor Dam where I had another American Woodcock plus a couple Common Loons and a nice roost of gulls including 228 Ring billed Gulls. I then spent a few hours exploring the fields and a few bodies of water from Amherst to Hadley and manage to turn up a few species of waterfowl but nothing really unexpected and the goose flocks I came across were relatively small. Although the conditions and weather look and feel more like mid March the birds still know it is the end of February. Without too much to speak of over near the river I headed back to the south Quabbin area with stops at Quabbin Park and Beaver Lake but once again low numbers of waterfowl with nothing out of the ordinary. Another nice day to be outside in February with above normal temperatures and no snow. 
Common Mergansers, Beaver Lake, Ware, MA, Feb 26, 2016
Ring necked Ducks, Beaver Lake, Ware, MA, Feb 26, 2016
Common Loon, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Feb 27, 2016
After getting in late from work early Saturday morning I didn't have much energy to get out early so when I finally did get out I stayed local covering a few areas around south Quabbin. Not too much noteworthy stuff but I had three Common Loons at Winsor Dam and a pair of Common Goldeneye at Hank's Meadow.

On Friday I had some time in the morning to explore a few spots before work and I managed to catch up with another new species for the year when I found a Rusty Blackbird (#97) at Arcadia. The area was quite flooded but was fairly quiet waterfowl wise despite some great looking flooded fields. A brief check for geese in the Hadley/Amherst fields turned up several hundred Canada Geese but not much else.

Elsewhere in the state it appears that another new species has been added to the state bird list with the sighting of a Yellow billed Loon at Race Point out on the cape yesterday by Steve Arena (and relocated today)...I have attached his eBird list here:  There was also a Pacific Loon (which increased to two Pacific Loons today!) in the same area which resulted in four loon species in one day.  Yellow billed Loon is a species that has been overdue to show up in the state and I actually had a sighting of an interesting loon that may have been a Yellow billed Loon but more likely an odd Common Loon or some hybrid...

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