Friday, April 5, 2019

A Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrid plus lots of other waterfowl today and other sightings for the beginning of April

Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrird, Great Pond, Hatfield, MA, Apr 5, 2019
Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrird, Great Pond, Hatfield, MA, Apr 5, 2019
Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrird, Great Pond, Hatfield, MA, Apr 5, 2019
Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrird, Great Pond, Hatfield, MA, Apr 5, 2019
Northern Shoveler, Great Pond, Hatfield, MA, Apr 5, 2019
Gadwall (pair), Great Pond, Hatfield, MA, Apr 5, 2019
Red breasted Merganser, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 5, 2019
I headed out this morning specifically looking for waterfowl and I was not disappointed!  I started off the frosty morning up at Great Pond in Hatfield which has been producing some good stuff lately (but can be tough to access when the roads are muddy).  I started to get good stuff right away with at least three Gadwall, a continued male Northern Shoveler and loads of Green winged Teal, Wood Ducks, Mallards, Black Ducks and Canada Geese as well as a few Northern Pintails and Common Mergansers.  I then caught sight of a female Blue winged Teal (which disappeared before I could get a shot through the scope)...a fairly unusual species around here.  As I searched again for the teal I came across an unusual duck in with a group of Mallards that appeared to be a Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrid (a hybrid I have never seen before).  I was a really neat looking duck with a mix of traits of the two parent species.  I got quite a few digiscoped shots but none too close as I didn't want to spook the birds.  I tried again to relocate the teal but never was able to do so.  I continued exploring the pond and found several American Wigeon and some Ring necked Ducks further up in the pond..a total of a dozen species of waterfowl plus hybrids at just one stop.  Other notables around the pond included two Virginia Rails and a couple Wilson's Snipe.  I made a few stops after Great Pond including Pilgram Airport, the Oxbow, Lower Mill Pond, Winsor Dam and Lake Wallace.  The most productive spot was the dam where I had a Red breasted Merganser in among the Common Mergansers plus a Bufflehead and a Common Loon.  Overall for the morning I found a total of 16 species of waterfowl.
American Tree Sparrow, rail trail, Amherst, MA, Apr 2, 2019
Palm Warbler, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Apr 2, 2019
Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 2, 2019
Canada Goose with extensive white on neck, Hadley, MA, Apr 1, 2019
Elsewhere for the first few days of the month I found a wide variety of birds as migration begins to pick up with more and more new species showing up.  Waterfowl have figured prominently as there migration starts to peak with a total of 18 species so far including an unusual Canada Goose (with an extensive white neck) I had one the first of April.  One of the more unusual sightings occurred yesterday when I had two flyby Sandhill Cranes at Winsor Dam.  I also came across several Palm Warblers, Pine Warblers, numerous sparrow species including a few singing Fox Sparrows and Rusty Blackbirds in several locations.  The first days also produced higher and higher numbers of a number of species including Tree Swallows, Eastern Phoebes and American Robins.
Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Mar 31, 2019, 2019
Pine Warbler and Hairy Woodpecker, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 1, 2019
Downy Woodpecker, Pine Warbler and Tufted Titmouse, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 2, 2019
Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 3, 2019
Black capped Chickadee with white spots on head, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 3, 2019
Chipping Sparrow and Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 3, 2019
Pine Siskin and Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 4, 2019
Pine Warblers, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 4, 2019
Egg in duck box (second active nest), Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 5, 2019
The cameras at the house continue to capture some great stuff as I have left some suet out and it has attracted some Pine Warblers as well as others including Pine Siskin and Chipping Sparrow (plus the other usual suspects).  I specifically have kept the same set up I used during the winter to try to capture a Pine Warbler showing up in spring at the feeders and I was quite successful. In addition the water feature started attracting birds even before I had it set up (uncovered it and tried to set it up a few days ago but it was still frozen).  As of today I have it up and running and look forward to seeing what it attracts.

A check of of two previously unusual duck boxes found a solitary egg in one so I know have two active boxes again this year.

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