Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Decent numbers of waders continue the last couple days including the Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Aug 29, 2016
Little Blue Heron and Double crested Cormorants, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Aug 29, 2016
Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Aug 29, 2016
Green Heron, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Aug 29, 2016
Great Egret, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Aug 29, 2016
Killdeer, Lower Mill Pond, Easthampton, MA, Aug 29, 2016
Green Heron, Lower Mill Pond, Easthampton, MA, Aug 29, 2016
Great Black backed Gull, UMASS pond, Amherst, MA, Aug 29, 2016
Yesterday I was up before dawn and out the door to spend the morning in search of some early migrants and dispersing birds post breeding with the main focus on waders and shorebirds. I had to be over in Hadley late in the morning for an appointment so I decided to spend the whole morning out and about. I started at Lake Wallace where I had my first Great Egret of the day as well as a couple of begging juvenile Great Horned Owls. I then headed down to the Holyoke Dam where I eventually turned up the continued Little Blue Heron. This stop also produced 15 Great Egrets plus a number of Great Blue Herons. I the checked in on the herons and egrets at Arcadia and although the numbers were a little lower than the previous couple days I still had 8 Great Blue Herons, 15 Great Egrets and four Green Herons. Most of my shorebirds for the morning were once again at Lower Mill Pond including an larger than average Least Sandpiper that had me hoping it was something more unusual. I then traveled up through Hatfield and then across the bridge and back down the east side of the river through Hadley before ending up at UMASS. A productive morning that turned up some good stuff. Overall for the morning I had four species of wader with the following overall totals for the morning: 26 Great Blue Heron, 32 Great Egrets, a Little Blue Heron and 11 Green Herons. Shorebirds topped out at five species including Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper and Lesser Yellowlegs.
Great Blue Heron, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Aug 30, 2016
Green Heron, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Aug 30, 2016
Raccoon, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Aug 30, 2016
Great Blue Heron, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Aug 30, 2016
Common Mergansers, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Aug 30, 2016
Woodchuck, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Aug 30, 2016
Great Egret, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Aug 30, 2016
Green Heron, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Aug 30, 2016
Today I once again went out in search of wader (and other stuff) but covered a little less territory.  I started predawn at Winsor Dam where I had at least two Eastern Whip Poor Wills calling.  I was glad to finally find them again here as I had struck out on them the last few times I have tried.  After Winsor Dam I stopped along the river and checked some fields in Hadley before heading over to Arcadia then Lower Mill Pond and finally down to the Holyoke Dam before heading back toward home with a stop off at Lake Wallace.  No luck with the Little Blue Heron this morning but it is probably still around.  Overall the numbers of waders were down a bit from yesterday but the stop at Lake Wallace turned up some decent waterfowl variety and numbers.  Below are a few of the lists from the morning.

Arcadia:  http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31327085
Lower Mill Pond:  http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31327141
Holyoke Dam:  http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31327136
Lake Wallace:  http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31327093
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 30, 2016
The drought continues around here with no real prospects of any substantial rain on the horizon.  The level at Quabbin continues to drop and the reservoir is somewhere around 87% capacity.
Tropical outlook via NHC, Aug 30, 2016
Tropical Depression 9 projected path as of Aug 30, 2016 (courtesy of the NHC)
The tropics continue to heat up with more and more activity. There are a number of systems to watch right now but none should have any direct impact here. Hurricane Gaston (cat 2) continues to churn way out in the Atlantic. Closer to the U.S. are two tropical depressions, TD 8 and TD 9. TD 8 is off the coast of North Carolina and will likely become a tropical storm as it brushes past the outer banks. TD 9 (old invest 99L) is in the southern Gulf of Mexico just northwest of Cuba and is still struggling to form. The forecast is for the storm to gain tropical storm status before impacting central and northern Florida before it too heads out into the Atlantic.  The latest National Hurricane Center projected path has moved the storm a little closer to us but we would still only be on the outer fringes of a fairly weak storm but it bears watching.  There is another decent looking wave (Invest 92L) coming off Africa and heading out across the Atlantic. This will certainly have to be watched as it has a decent chance of developing.

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