Saturday, December 30, 2017

Quabbin CBC on a very cold morning

Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, dec 30, 2017
I headed out for a few hours this morning to take part in the Quabbin CBC covering the area around Winsor Dam and then down Blue Meadow Road and then off along the road to Gate 4. It was yet another brutally cold morning with a low of -3.  I joined three others as we tried our best to turn up some decent birds despite the frigid temperatures.  I left late in the morning by which time we had reached 25 species including six species of waterfowl (Canada Goose, Mallards, Black Duck, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser and Common Merganser...oddly no loons but the viewing conditions were far from perfect) and a flyover Purple Finch (my 86th species in the county for December...more on that below). 
Fox Sparrow, Ware, MA, Dec 29, 2017 (photo with phone through binoculars)
After work yesterday I stopped in a variety of spots on my way home in search of whatever I might run across.  The morning low of -10 (another record low) certainly made it uncomfortable to be outside for any length of time but nonetheless there were still birds around.  The best stuff over the course of the morning included a Merlin in the East Meadows, a Northern Harrier along Aqua Vitae Rd and a somewhat late Fox Sparrow along a roadside in Ware.  The harrier became species 85 for the month in Hampshire County. 

This December has been great for diversity (especially early in the month when it was warmer than normal) with a total of 86 species so far.  I actually had 81 species by December 9th, which shows just how good the beginning of the month was.  A typical December produces a total in the mid 60's with my previous high in the last five years being 68 back in 2014. 

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