Wednesday, December 5, 2018

White winged Crossbills today and other sightings at the beginning of December

Northern Shrike, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Dec 3, 2018
Chipping Sparrow, Belchertown, MA, Dec 3, 2018
Swan species, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Dec 1, 2018
Barred Owl, Silvio Conte NWR-Fort River, Hadley, MA, Dec 1, 2018
December continues our below average temperatures (with a slightly warmer day Monday) but thankfully we appear to have a dry week on tap.  As I was getting out of work this morning the temperature was a chilly 15 degrees and I was not sure I wanted to be out in the cold weather but thought I would give it a try for awhile and I was glad I did.  I decided to head to Arcadia to try to catch up with any late warblers that might still be hanging around (no luck with that quest).  I stayed mainly near the metal bridge and old orchard hoping to catch some birds taking advantage of the warmth of the sun as it came up.  As I was walking along the field edge near the solar array I heard a different call overhead that quickly produced three White winged Crossbills flying over heading off to the southwest...a new species for the year in Hampshire County, bringing my total up to 240!  No chance to get a photo and I was unable to relocate the birds despite a bit of looking.  Not too much else out of the ordinary around Arcadia so I headed across the bridge with a quick stop along Aqua Vitae Road before stopping for just under a half hour at Silvo Conte NWR where I had a couple Common Redpolls and half a dozen flyover Pine Siskins.  I also managed to submit my 26,000th complete eBird checklist while I was home in the afternoon.

Elsewhere for the beginning of December I had distant views of three swans at Winsor Dam on December 1st but they were too far out to determine species and it was too late in the day to try to get down to the end of Gate 5 road where I could have gotten better looks.  I could not check to see if they were there the next day but others that looked did not turn up any swans.  I suspect they may have been Tundra Swans but could not be sure.  I also caught up with a very late Eastern Phoebe and the continued Northern Shrike at a foggy Arcadia on the 3rd and a late Chipping Sparrow at the Griffith's on the first. 

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