Thursday, December 18, 2008

Northampton Christmas Count 2008

Northampton Christmas Bird Count

The 75th Northampton Christmas Bird Count took place on Sunday December 14th. For over twenty years, my section of the Christmas count covers the area from the Hadley cove (Middle Street, Hadley) through Aqua Vitae Rd, to the Honey Pot and up to Meadow Street in North Hadley. This year my section had an outstanding total of 55 species, no doubt because of the efforts of some very good friends, who also happen to be extremely skilled observers- James Smith, Brian Kane and Lisa Rock.

James, Brian and I started the day at 4:00AM in Amherst. In two hours of owling, we were able two find two extremely cooperative Eastern Screech-Owls and heard to distant Great Horned Owls. We met up with Lisa at Stables Restaurant, and after a quick breakfast we headed out to the Hadley Cove.
The weather started out a little brisk, but ended up near 40 degrees with a light southerly wind…not bad at all for mid December. As mentioned, we ended up with 55 species…highlights included, Greater White-fronted Goose (1), Snow Goose (4), and Cackling Goose accompanied by about (1600) Canada Geese. Not only did the Hadley Cove area produce the geese, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a flock of (40) Rusty Blackbirds. After the Cove we headed to Aqua Vitae Rd, once on Aqua Vitae, Brian spotted a Dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk circling to the west. The Rough-legged then headed towards us providing great views and a photo opportunity!

At the end of the day, I headed to the Hitchcock Center (Amherst) for a great pot luck dinner provided by many of the Hampshire Bird Club members. After dinner the compilation began, and by 7:30pm the Northampton C.B.C. had (unofficially) tallied 91 species, tying the record set in 1999.

Below is a complete list …

Good Birding,


Eastern Screech-Owl/Strong Street, Amherst

Greater White-fronted Goose -1
Snow Goose -4. (3 Lessers/1Greater)
Cackling Goose - 1
Canada Goose – 1600
American Black Duck – 67
Mallard – 235
Northern Pintail -4
Green-winged Teal -3
Common Merganser -12
Bald Eagle -3
Northern Harrier -1 male.
Sharp-shinned Hawk -2
Cooper’s Hawk -1
Red-tailed Hawk -7
Rough-legged Hawk -1 Dark morph.
Peregrine Falcon -1
Ring-billed Gull -26
Herring Gull – 2
Great Black-backed Gull- 2
Rock Pigeon -262
Mourning Dove -365
Eastern Screech-Owl- 2 (1-Gray/1-Red Morph)
Great Horned Owl -2

Rough-legged Hawk. Aqua Vitae Rd. Hadley

Belted Kingfisher -1
Red-bellied Woodpecker-6
Downy Woodpecker -8
Hairy Woodpecker-3
Northern Flicker-6
Blue Jay -12
American Crow-73
Common Raven -1
Horned Lark-77
Black-capped Chickadee -8
Tufted Titmouse -3
White-breasted Nuthatch-3
Carolina Wren -4
American Robin-146
Northern Mockingbird-3
European Starling-145
Cedar Waxwing-3
American Tree Sparrow-105
Field Sparrow-2
Savannah Sparrow-17
Song Sparrow-86
Swamp Sparrow-1
White-throated Sparrow-70
Dark-eyed Junco- 89
Lapland Longspur -2
Northern Cardinal -21
Red-winged Blackbird -23
Rusty Blackbird -40
House Finch -48
Pine Siskin -57
American Goldfinch -19
House Sparrow -76

Total Species 55

Rough-legged Hawk- Aqua Vitae Road, Hadley

Rough-legged Hawk/Dark Morph.