Friday, March 17, 2023

Middle of March

American Wigeon, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Mar 17, 2023
American Wigeon, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Mar 17, 2023
Horned Larks, Amherst, MA, Mar 15, 2023
Killdeer, Amherst, MA, Mar 15, 2023
Ring necked Ducks, Ware, MA, Mar 13, 2023
Bufflehead, Ware, MA, Mar 13, 2023

The middle of the month brought in continued groups of waterfowl as well as a large nor'easter that dropped about 6-8" of heavy wet snow in the valley and up to three feet in the hills on Monday into Tuesday.  The storm caused widespread issues with trees and wires down (although not nearly as bad as the October storm of 2011, when we lost power for a week).  I got out a bit before the storm on the morning of the 13th and mainly stayed local with visits to Quabbin and a few lakes in Ware looking for waterfowl and had some luck (but no rarities).  Not much for birding on the day of the storm as I had to work but I did get out a little the next morning and again was out looking for waterfowl (mainly geese) in the fields of Amherst and Hadley.  I had large flock (1400+) of Canada Geese on the Hadley/Amherst line but I had no luck finding any unusual geese.  The number of Horned Larks was impressive with at least 650 present (video at the following link) plus I had at least a couple Lapland Longspurs mixed in.  The large flock was very flighty and I didn't manage to get any photos of the longspurs.  In among the snowy fields were a handful of Killdeer that looked less than thrilled with the snow.  Thursday was another day of work but I did get out a little on Friday morning after work and made a number of stops including ArcadiaLake Wallace and Winsor Dam.  Waterfowl was again the main focus with a total of eleven species with the highlight being a Long tailed Duck way out from the dam plus some close up views of a few other species at various locations.  I also had my first Tree Swallows of the year flying northeast at the dam.  

March has been fairly productive so far with a total of 94 species in Hampshire County, which is right up there for a near record pace for me.  As is typical for March, waterfowl has figured prominently in this total with a total of 23 species with a number of rarities including Canvasback and American Coot.  I will have to break the hundred mark after I get back from some warmer southern locations.

Egg is duck box #2, Home, Belchertown, MA, Mar 17, 2023

I also have the first egg of the season in one of the duck boxes at the house and the other two boxes look like they have been visited recently so hopefully it will be another year of all three boxes being used.

Wilson enjoying the snow on his birthday, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Mar 15, 2023

The middle of March is also the time to celebrate another trip around the sun for Wilson.  His 12th birthday was on March 15th and he got to celebrate his birthday wish of snow.  Very happy to have my boy around for another year with his cancer staying put and not slowing him down.

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