Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Strong west and northwest winds bring in more cold weather and a few Brant today (among other stuff)

Common Loon, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 25, 2016
Common Loon, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 25, 2016
Mallards, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 25, 2016
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 25, 2016
White winged Scoter, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 25, 2016
Brant (really), Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 25, 2016
Brant (really), Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 25, 2016
I only had a limited time to go out this morning before I had to be back to meet a contractor at the house to get some work done.  Despite having limited time I made the most of it by concentrating my time at Quabbin, beginning before dawn at Hank's Meadow and then hitting the Route 9 marsh before spending about 45 minutes at Winsor Dam.  As is typical this time of year (once the evening anti gull boat patrols have started) the best waterfowl numbers very early on is at a roost spot at Hank's Meadow which featured over three hundred individuals composed of the following: a half dozen Brant that took off to the south calling just as it was getting light (managed a few blurry shots but just too dark for the iPhone to work well), 40+ Black Ducks, 220+ Mallards, 32 Ring necked Ducks, 18 Hooded Mergansers, 5 Horned Grebes and a Common Loon plus some other unidentified ducks.  The Brant were new for the year for Hampshire County and they became species #234.  Other notables at Hank's Meadow included two calling American Woodcock.  The marsh added more Black Ducks and a number of Canada Geese.  My stationary count at Winsor Dam produced a male White winged Scoter with a Long tailed Duck plus more Canada Geese, Black Ducks, Mallards, loons and Double crested Cormorants.  The wind was just starting to pick up when I left around eight.  The wind increased (out of the northwest) during the day and I made a brief stop late in the afternoon before the boats went out on the water but the reservoir itself was devoid of waterfowl but they could easily have been lost from view in the waves.  The conditions looked perfect for a Golden Eagle to come sailing by but I had no luck during the time I was there.  A cold day with highs never making it out of the 40's with a strong wind...a late fall like feel.  The forecast calls for continued cooler than normal weather with even the chance of snow by the end of the week...I call bullshit on that.
Rusty Blackbirds, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 24, 2016
Red breasted Merganser, Quabbin Gate 5, Belchertown, MA, Oct 24, 2016
Looking toward Winsor Dam, Quabbin Gate 5, Belchertown, MA, Oct 24, 2016
Turkey Vulture, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 24, 2016
Red headed Woodpecker, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Oct 24, 2016
Yesterday I had more time on what also turned into a breezy and cool day.  I stayed in the local area with stops at Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, Quabbin Gate 5 and Lake Wallace.  Highlights included three American Wigeons, a flyby Northern Shoveler (with a group of Mallards and Black Ducks) and a small loon that I just could not pin an ID on beyond being certain it was not a Common Loon.  It may have been a Red throated Loon but I could not be certain.  Quabbin park had a flock of 38 Rusty Blackbirds at the marsh but nothing else too unusual.  The best bird at gate 5 was a Red breasted Merganser.  The Red headed Woodpecker continued to show well at Lake Wallace and the Rusty Blackbird flock there continued with a dozen birds present.

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