Friday, May 27, 2016

Summer like heat arrives

Lesser Scaup, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA. May 27,2016
Lesser Scaup, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA. May 27,2016
Common Yellowthroat with odd face pattern, Quabbin Gate 15, MA. May 27,2016
The summer like weather continued today with early morning temperatures already in the mid 60's and highs once again reaching to near 90.  I headed out at first light with a stop over to Winsor Dam where I once again found the male Lesser Scaup...amazing the bird is still around after at least 3 1/2 weeks at the same location.  It seems to be able to fly without trouble and I have watched it actively fishing on several will be interesting to see how long it stays around.  With the conditions so calm and the water like glass on the reservoir I decided to make a quick stop at a few spots at Quabbin Park in the hopes that something of note be out on the water but no luck.  I then decided to head to the west side of Quabbin and check a few spots that have produced Acadian Flycatchers in the past including Gate 15 and Gate 8 but I found none.  I did come across an interesting looking Common Yellowthroat at Gate 15 with an unusual facial pattern.  Late in the morning Wilson and I took a long walk at Dufresne Park in Granby and came across a number of thrushes with the best being a Gray cheeked Thrush (#206).  I tried to get a photo with the phone through the binoculars but I failed.

Meanwhile the tropics have started to stir a little with a tropical system poised to develop in the waters between the Bahamas and Bermuda.  The National Hurricane Center gives it a 90% chance to develop into a tropical system with the next day or two.  The forecast for the storm has it impacting the southeast coast of the US with the main threat being heavy rain.  If it does become a named storm it will be Bonnie (the first named storm of the season, Alex, formed in January with an impact on the Azores.  NOAA also issued its hurricane forecast for 2016 calling for a near average year but several other forecasting entities call for an above average season.  A nice synopsis of the predictions can be found here:
Common Mergansers, Quabbin Park, MA, May 26, 2016
Common Mergansers, Quabbin Park, MA, May 26, 2016
Common Mergansers, Quabbin Park, MA, May 26, 2016
Black thoated Green Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 26, 2016
Black thoated Blue Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 26, 2016
Chestnut sided Warbler, Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 26, 2016
Blackburnian Warbler, Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 26, 2016
American Robin on nest, Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 26, 2016
On Thursday I started the morning predawn at Lake Wallace where I wanted to check to see if anything noteworthy was around.  I ran across the expected waterfowl as well as four occupied Great Blue Heron nests (no sign of young yet).  After Lake Wallace I headed over to Quabbin Park where I spent the next few hours, joined by Taylor (a bird bander working for the Neighborhood Nestwatch Program), mid morning.  We covered quite a bit of territory but I had to leave by late morning to take care of some stuff at home.  The trees have really leafed out at the park since my last visit but I still got some decent looks at some birds.  Nothing really out of the ordinary as far as birds go but seeing a family of Common Mergansers was nice, as was a spot along a small stream that attracted several species of warbler that came down to take a bath.  The big highlights for the morning were mammals with a Bobcat that appeared behind me as I watched the mergansers and then quickly disappeared into the brush plus a weasel that ran right across the road in front of me.  It was yet another hot day with highs reaching 90.
Gray Catbird on nest, home, Belchertown, MA, May 26, 2016
The birds continue to nest here at home including a Gray Catbird in a relatively exposed location...hopefully they will be successful.

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