Friday, July 29, 2016

The heat wave finally ends

Green Heron, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, July 29, 2016
Green winged Teal, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, July 29, 2016
Least Sandpipers and Solitary Sandpiper, Lower Mill Pond, Easthampton, MA, July 29, 2016
I got up before dawn today and noticed it was already rainy fairly steady so I thought I would go out to try to find some shorebirds put down by the weather.  I checked a number of fields in Hadley but came up empty.  Most of the spots I have had shorebirds in the past are either overgrown at this time or still full of unharvested crops.  I had some luck at Lower Mill Pond with four Killdeer, two each of Spotted and Solitary Sandpiper and nine Least Sandpipers (including one larger than normal individual that I tried hard to turn into something unusual).  Arcadia and a few spots along the river turned up no shorebirds at all. Yesterday there was a large influx of waders into Stebbins in Longmeadow with dozens of Great Egrets as well as a few Snowy Egrets and Little Blue Herons.  I hoped I would have some luck with some of those individuals coming a bit further north but I didn't find any unusual waders at all.  The Green winged Teal I found yesterday at Lake Wallace was still there today.

The heat wave finally ended (just barely as it made it to 89 today) after eight straight days above 90.  The forecast for heavy rain through most of the day did not turn out to be the case with just some early rain that ended by mid/late morning and we got between a quarter and half inch of rain.  Elsewhere weather wise the tropics now have two invests (96L and 97L) way out in the Atlantic that at least should be watched.  Long term forecast do not show either developing much but there are many variables that could change.
Green winged Teal (with Wood Ducks), Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, July 28, 2016
Green winged Teal (with Wood Duck), Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, July 28, 2016
Virginia Rail, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, July 28, 2016
Green Herons, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, July 28, 2016
Green Herons, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, July 28, 2016
I stayed local yesterday with stops at Lake Wallace and Quabbin Park early in the morning.  Lake Wallace had decent numbers of the expected waterfowl species as well as an unusual for July Green winged Teal.  I last saw the bird heading northeast with a group of Mallards.  Other notables at the lake included at least seven Green Herons and a somewhat cooperative Virginia Rail.  No luck finding the Lesser Scaup at Winsor Dam but there was more noise than unusual there due to some ongoing construction.  My brief stop at Quabbin Park turned up four Spotted Sandpipers at gate 52 plus a flyover Evening Grosbeak.

Common Grackles, Home, Belchertown, MA, July 27, 2016
Cedar Waxwing, Home, Belchertown, MA, July 27, 2016
Striped Skunk, Home, Belchertown, MA, July 27, 2016
I added a couple more bird species to my water feature list when the motion camera caught a couple Common Grackles and a Cedar Waxwing on July 27th.  These two species become species #29 & #30 for the water feature.  I also added another mammal species when a Striped Skunk showed up early in the morning on Saturday.

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