Monday, May 2, 2016

The last few days with continued cloudy, cool weather and occasional rain

Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, May 2, 2016
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, May 2, 2016
With the continued intermittent rain overnight I had high hopes that something unusual would show up but despite much effort throughout the I managed to just turn up a Lesser Scaup (likely the same individual...see below) at Winsor Dam plus a rare for the county American Coot also at the dam at dusk.  I started out predawn at Quabbin and checked various bodies of water in the area before heading over to UMASS and then down south to Mitch's Way and then back to Quabbin.  The rain really picked up in earnest when I tried to take Wilson for a walk so I ditched the walk for awhile as I headed back.  I kept seeing reports from both the Berkshires and the Turner's Falls area where terns and some unusual were showing up.  The Berkshires featured four separate tern species (Common, Forster's, Black and Caspian Terns) and Turner's Falls held at least two species...really amazing diversity and numbers without a tropical storm! Turner's Falls also had a few each of Red necked Grebes and Surf Scoters (rare in spring).  Without much seeming to be happening at Quabbin I decided to head back toward the river and checked several spots between the oxbow and the Holyoke Dam but found nothing too unusual.  Lots of swallows and swifts feeding over the various water bodies today as they tried to survive the rainy, cool weather.  I then made a few more stops at Winsor Dam and Goodnough Dike over the course of the rest of the day but still had no luck with terns.  I did manage to find four new species for the year today including Lesser Yellowlegs (#166) along the river, a Baltimore Oriole (#167) at Mitch's Way, a Cliff Swallow (#168) feeding over a pond in Easthampton and the American Coot (#169).  The weather for the rest of the week is forecast to feature occasional showers with not much in the way of sun.  The potential still exists for some more unusual species to show up so it will be worth looking once again.
Wood Thrush, Quabbin Park, MA, May 1, 2016
Field Sparrows, Belchertown, MA, May 1, 2016
Before the rain showed up yesterday I headed out early to check the south Quabbin area and found a total of 74 species including 15 species of warblers.  A number of new species yesterday included Least Flycatcher (#159), Chestnut sided Warbler (#160), American Redstart (#161), Wood Thrush (#162) including one of the more photogenic individuals of this species I have ever had,  Blackburian Warbler (#163), Black throated Blue Warbler (#164) and Magnolia Warbler (#165).  After the rain started I made a few stops at Winsor Dam to see if anything unusual was brought down by the weather and found 150+ swallows feeding low over the water with most being Tree Swallows plus a few each of Barn, Bank and Northern Rough winged Swallows.  Other notables there included half a dozen Common Loons.
Lesser Scaup, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, May 1, 2016
Around midday I went back to Winsor Dam and had a male Lesser Scaup, a distant Bonaparte's Gull, the continued loons and 200+ swallows.  A final stop at dusk found just the loons on the water.

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