Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hadley-Turners Falls

Dark-eyed Junco
Horned Lark
Spent this overcast, mild November morning birding from Hadley to Turners falls. This was not one of the better photographic mornings I've encountered in recent weeks, but it was nice to be out. First stop was on East Hadley Road in Hadley- The first thing a observed was a dark object in the corn? a few seconds later a hunter popped out with 2-3 Canada Geese in tow. Needless to say, there were very few Geese to scan through. I did find a nice flock of Horned Larks (120) with about (25) American Pipits mixed in. A Cooper's Hawk was seen in the distance, with fly over Killdeer (2) and a single Snow Bunting.
I then headed towards Sunderland- a few stops produced- (131) Canada Geese, Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpecker, White-crowned Sparrow,(145+) Dark-eyed Juncos, (42) Red-winged Blackbirds and (15) Pine Siskins.
I kept heading north and made my way to the Turners Falls Rod/Gun Club, Bartons Cove and the Power Canal, waterfowl was thin- (31) Mute Swans at the Rod/Gun club was a new high count for me, Barton's Cove only offered up a female Hooded Merganser and a handful of Canada Geese. The power Canal had a large number of Canada's (450) but could not find anything else in with them. The best birds of the day winged their way down the canal around 10:30am- (2) Dunlin's. This is not a species one tends to get every year in western Massachusetts- so a nice, and completely unexpected surprise.
I finished the day in Northampton out in the East Meadows...Pretty quite out there-
(65) Horned Larks and (2) Snow Buntings ended the day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Berkshire Lakes Nov.2, 2008

Hitchcock Center Group- Lake Pontoosuc
Hooded Mergansers
Red-tailed Hawk. 1 of 28 seen on Sunday.

Black Scoters (13) White-winged Scoter (2) Lake Onota
Mallard & Wood Duck- Lake Onota.

The last of three Hitchcock Center fall birding trips ended on an extremely pleasant November day in the Berkshires. Just about a week before our trip, the Berkshires received an early season snowstorm, however- just minor traces of snow could be found in the hills around Pittsfield. Our first stop was at the Moran Refuge on 8A in Windsor. This location offers one of the better opportunities in the state of finding a Northern Shrike, and an occasional Northern Goshawk- “except today”. We scanned over the fields and marsh, -we turned up one Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk and an Eastern Meadowlark teed up on a dead snag for a couple of minutes. (The Meadowlark was not expected at this time of year.)

After Windsor we continued west on rte 9 and headed into Pittsfield and then on to our next stop, Cheshire Reservoir. Although waterfowl activity was low, we still had some nice birds. Canada Goose (144), Wood Duck (2), Gadwall (1-female) Mallard (40), Ring-necked Duck (1), Black Scoter(1-female), Bufflehead (3-males), Hooded Merganser (12), Common Merganser (13), Pied-billed Grebe (3),Merlin (1), Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Common Raven (2), American Pipit (2), Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Tree Sparrow (2) and a Savannah Sparrow.

One of the highlights of our trip was the Red-tailed Hawk migration. Beginning at Cheshire Reservoir and right through our last stop in Richmond, Red-tails were on the move. By Two o’clock we had observed (28) Red-tailed Hawks, not bad considering we were focusing on waterfowl!

After Cheshire we head to lake’s Pontoosuc and Onota in Pittsfield. Like Cheshire Reservoir, waterfowl numbers were on the thin side. Highlights….Pontoosuc Lake-
Canada Goose (230), Mallards/Black Ducks, Lesser Scaup (1-female), Common Goldeneye (3-females), Bufflehead (9), Hooded Merganser (1), Common Merganser (41), Carolina Wren.
Lake Onota- Wood Duck (2), Mallards (50), American Black Duck (4), Black Scoter (13), White-winged Scoter (2), Hooded Merganser (91), Common Merganser (50+), Common Loon (1), Cooper’s Hawk (1)

We finished our day at Mud Pond in Richmond- Mid day light at Mud Pond is brutal, There were hundreds of Ring-necked Ducks with a handful of Ruddy Ducks thrown into the mix. A Northern Harrier and an Eastern Bluebird around the Pittsfield Airport finished the day. All in all- a very nice day of birding in the Berkshires.

Good Birding,