Friday, October 27, 2017

Waterfowl influx and an upcoming storm

Brant, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 27, 2017
Brant, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 27, 2017
Wood Duck, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 27, 2017
Black Scoters (with a few Surf Scoters and White winged Scoters), Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 27, 2017
Black Scoters (with a few Surf Scoters and White winged Scoters), Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 27, 2017
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Oct 26, 2017
After a rainy day yesterday plus some north and northwest winds into this morning it seemed like a good day to try to find some waterfowl and the day did indeed provide the first good push of waterfowl for the season so far with the 14 species including a group of ten Brant, a large influx of Black Scoters with lesser numbers of the two other scoter species, Long tailed Duck, Lesser Scaup and others.  I started off at dawn at Winsor Dam which was surpisingly quiet so I headed over to Hank's Meadow where I had just Horned Grebes and a few Mallards.  I was thinking I may have misjudged the migration conditions and waterfowl was not moving but a brief stop at Goodnough Dike provided the first hint that some good stuff would indeed show.  This location featured the above mentioned Brant as well as a group of 69 Black Scoters.  I decided to make my way back to Winsor Dam but not before making a brief stop at the Route 9 marsh which held a Ring necked Duck, a Black Duck, several Wood Ducks and three male Hooded Mergansers.  After getting a few distant photos of some species I made it to Winsor Dam where I found the scaup, Long tailed Duck and 24 Black Scoters.  I figured stuff would move out during the day but I decided to make a return trip to Winsor Dam nonetheless when I was out running errands in the early afternoon and found even more stuff there than before with at least 155 Black Scoters, a dozen Surf Scoters, half a dozen White winged plus the scaup and Long tailed Duck.  All the birds were in a large strung out group.  A very nice waterfowl day indeed!

Full eBird lists for the day-
Quabbin Park
Winsor Dam- morning
Winsor Dam-afternoon

The southerly winds during last weekend and into the early part of this week brought some unusual species into the area including five Cattle Egrets to a farm in Franklin County and a juvenile White Ibis to the area of the Oxbow in Northampton.  The Cattle Egrets are still around in smaller numbers but the ibis seems to be gone after the water levels got higher and moved it from the shallows it was seen in for a few days.  Unfortunately word about the ibis did not get out until days after the last sighting so few people got to see this rare for the area species.  It could still be in the general area but so far no one has turned it back up since last being seen earlier this week.  James has a post with some great photos of the Cattle Egrets at the following link: Cattle Egrets

Looking further afield a large number and variety of southern species (or species that should be well to the south by now) made it up to southwest Nova Scotia the last several days from the same system that brought us our unusual birds.  The species found included Tropical Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Rose breasted Grosbeak, Yellow billed Cuckoo, Veery, Wood Thrush, Swainson's Thrush, Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Wood Pewee, White eyed Vireo, Yellow throated Vireo and Red eyed Vireo (and certainly others I have not heard about yet). and a variety of warblers (Hooded, Yellow throated, Blue winged, Cape May, Tennessee, Blackpoll, Magnolia,  Black and White and Northern Parula).  Several of these species were even seen in multiple numbers.

Precipitation forecast for next three days (courtesy of NOAA)
An upcoming storm starting late Saturday and continuing into Monday will feature a long fetch of southerly winds before and during the storm which could displace additional birds that would not normally be seen around here in late October so it will be worth getting out there to see what shows up.  The storm will feature strong winds (near hurricane strength is certainly possible, especially in southeast New England) and heavy rain (perhaps several inches).  There is a strong cold front coming in from the west and this will capture some tropical moisture associated with a tropical depression moving northeast.  Right now the tropical system is off the coast of central america and could develop as a tropical storm before heading north and being caught up in a front sweeping in from the west.  The various forecast models disagree a bit on exactly how strong the system will be but all show a vigorous system.

As far as what species this storm could bring us there are several possibilities.  We could get more species from the south (as mentioned above), waterfowl (or other late season migrants) grounded by the weather or even the chance of more pelagic species making it inland.  Although the conditions will be tough to bird in as the storm hits it may be worth the effort.  It will certainly be worth getting out after the storm passes as some of the effected species could hang around for a few days.

No comments:

Post a Comment