Thursday, September 8, 2016

Birding around Quabbin today and along the river yesterday plus a tropical system that brought some incredible birds to Arizona

Northern Cardinal, Quabbin Park, MA, Sep 8, 2016
Tufted Titmouse, Quabbin Park, MA, Sep 8, 2016
Great crested Flycatcher, Quabbin Park, MA, Sep 8, 2016
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Sep 8, 2016
Looking north from Hank's Meadow, Quabbin Park, MA, Sep 8, 2016
Looking east from Hank's Meadow, Quabbin Park, MA, Sep 8, 2016
Yellow rumped Warbler, Belchertown, MA, Sep 8, 2016
I spent a muggy and cloudy morning around south Quabbin with most of my time spent at Quabbin Park with a few highlights included two calling Eastern Screech Owls, a somewhat late Great crested Flycatcher, all six species of woodpeckers in the area, three species of vireo with Blue Headed and Yellow throated Vireos still calling and seven species of warbler including my first Blackpoll Warbler of the fall.  Full list at Quabbin Park at link: The water levels are as low as I have ever seen them here with the reservoir currently at 85.1% capacity which is the lowest it has been in the several years of online records I could find.  Although the levels are lower than normal, the water authority doesn't even institute water restrictions until the level reaches 65%.  I also had an Eastern Whip Poor Will calling before dawn at Winsor Dam and then had a Common Nighthawk this evening at home making for a two nightjar day...not too bad for the second week of September.
Yellow Warbler, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Sep 7, 2016
Green Heron, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Sep 7, 2016
Least Sandpiper, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Sep 7, 2016
Killdeer, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Sep 7, 2016
Yesterday I hit a bunch of area from Hadley to Arcadia and then down to the Holyoke Dam once again searching for anything unusual brought in by the continued windy and occasionally drizzly weather.  Among the 72 species seen during the morning were eight species of waterfowl, three species of wader (only four Great Egrets), four species of shorebird, a Common Nighthawk and four species of swallows including 160+ Bank Swallows, 110+ Tree Swallows and a Cliff Swallow at the Holyoke Dam (link to video of swallows here:

As the remnants of Hermine have finally spun out of the local area (it is still having some impact on the coast) the amount of interesting tropical weather in the Atlantic has dwindled to just a couple areas of disturbed weather way out in the mid Atlantic that have just a small chance of forming into anything of consequence. As Hermine slowly crawled along the Atlantic coast another tropical system moved rapidly over Baja California then north up through the Gulf of California and then into Arizona.  Hurricane Newton hit Cabo San Lucas as a Category 1 hurricane and then made a second landfall as a tropical storm in Mexico after crossing the Gulf of California before continuing into southern Arizona as a tropical depression.  The rapidly moving storm displaced a number of unusual birds into southeast Arizona on Wednesday the 7th and I have followed the sightings with much envy.  The storm brought in at least four new species to the Arizona state list as of Monday, perhaps more.  Highlights included a first for the ABA area, a Juan Fernandez Petrel seen over a yard in suburban Tucson, a Wedge tailed Shearwater just south of Tucson, dozens of storm petrels of at least two species (Least and Wedge rumped), plus terns including Caspian and Forester's.  Very neat to hear about such unusual species showing up in places I have birded when out in Arizona.  Wish I was there to see the action.

Links to additional information can be found here:

ABA blog post regarding the unusual species seen as of Monday:

Richard Fray's blog with more info and lots of photos:

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