Sunday, November 22, 2009

HBC Trip to East side of Quabbin Reservoir.

Hampshire Bird Club-East Quabbin Trip.

Yesterday, seventeen members of (Saturday November 21, 2009) the Hampshire Bird Club had its annual November trip to the East side of the Quabbin Reservoir. We met are leaders (Tom Gagnon/Larry Therrien) at the Quabbin Reservoir Headquarters on Rte 9 in Belchertown at 7AM.

Headquarters didn’t offer much so we loaded up and headed out towards the east side of the reservoir. We entered the reservoir through gate 45 off of Greenwich Rd in Hardwick. Our travels up the east side of the reservoir would take us to areas like Shaft 12, Baffle Dams, Shaft 11 (all around gate 43) Horse Shoe Dam fishing Area, Dana Spruces, Dana Commons, Pottapaug Pond, Graves Landing, and finishing up the trip through North Dana- exiting gate 35. We ended the day with 51 species of birds, 6 species of mammals and two dragonflies. The other story of the day was the weather- simply put….fantastic!

The two stand outs this day… an Imm Great Cormorant at the Baffle Dams, and (2) Black-bellied Plovers near gate 35. Other highlights, Northern Pintail (3-all females), White-winged Scoter (1-male), Long-tailed Duck (1-female), Red-breasted Merganser (1-female), Ruffed Grouse (1-drumming), Common loon (30), Bald Eagle (7), Barred Owl (1), Horned Lark (1), Brown Creeper (12), Winter Wren (1) and (2) Fox Sparrow.

Good birding,                     View from Baffle Dams- Quabbin 


Great Cormorant-Baffle Dam Area.

Hooded Merganser.

Northern Pintail-female.

Horse Shoe Dam-Gate 43 Fishing Area

The group- this stop produced Red-breasted Merganser, Common Goldeneye and Bald Eagles.

Dana Center- All that's left of the buildings around the common is this Stone foundation.

Betsy- doing a little close up photography!

Tom on Beaver lodge @ Pottapaug Pond.

Common Loons- two of thirty birds.

North Dana

Meadowhawk on Sally's Shouldred- over 25 seen today.

Last stop of the day-called the old railroad line. This area had White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Horned Grebe and two Black-bellied Plovers.

White-throated Sparrow- many seen throughout the trip.

Horned Grebe- one of four.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Berkshire Lakes 11/9/09

Snow Bunting/Cheshire Reservoir

Sunday November 8th,

This was the last trip in a series of five fall birding classes I led for the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. (Amherst) The last trip was to an area with a series of Reservoirs, Lakes, and Ponds known as the Berkshire Lakes. (Berkshire county, Mass)

The weather started out clear, but a bit chilly- low 30 degrees, but would soon rise to an unprecedented 62 degrees by 1:00PM. Our first stop was to the Moran Refuge located just off Rte 9 in Windsor. This refuge is probably one of the best locations in the state, if not the best location for Northern Shrike. We pulled up to the first parking lot and join the Hampshire Bird club, who already had the Shrike in there scopes. After a few minutes the bird club departed and we hung around to make sure everyone got a decent, but distant view of this visitor from the north.

After about twenty minutes a Northern Harrier (Imm) appeared and gave everyone terrific views of this graceful raptor. The early morning sun against the brownish/orange color of the underparts made the bird glow. From the parking lot, we tried a side road for the off chance of stumbling upon an Evening Grosbeak or Crossbills….be no luck. Back to Rte 9 west- towards Pittsfield.

The lakes are known for there variety of waterfowl in the fall, our Stops included Cheshire Reservoir, Lake Pontoosuc and Onota in Pittsfield. In addition to the lakes mentioned, we would visit Richmond Pond and Mud Pond, but our schedule wouldn’t allow it this trip.

Without going into a play by play of each stop at each lake, the waterfowl numbers and variety were on the thin side. Basically it was just too nice of a day! The highlight at Cheshire Reservoir was a beautiful Snow Bunting that had work his way down from the arctic and afforded everyone killer looks. Below are the waterfowl numbers of the different locations…..

Location: Eugene Moran Wildlife Management Area--IBA

Ring-necked Pheasant 1 –On way home-Rte 9, Northern Harrier (1 Imm.) Northern Shrike( 1 Adult), Black-capped Chickadee10,Red-breasted Nuthatch 1, White-breasted Nuthatch 1, American Robin 10, Northern Cardinal1, and two American Goldfinch.

Location: Cheshire Lake
Canada goose 12, American Black Duck 4, Mallard 35, Ring-necked Duck 1, Bufflehead 11, Common Goldeneye 4, Belted Kingfisher 1, Brown Creeper 1, Snow Bunting 1

Pontoosuc Lake
Canada Goose 14, Mallard12, Bufflehead 9, Hooded Merganser 9, Common Merganser 110, Red-breasted Merganser 1, Red-necked Grebe 1,

Location: Onota Lake - Canada Goose 105, Wood Duck 1, American Black Duck 8, American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) 1, Mallard 26, Common Merganser 12

Good Birding,


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quabbin Area -Nov 1st.

A quick trip to Quabbin H.Q. (Windsor Dam) this morning produced my first Scoters of the fall, along with a winter plumage Long-tailed Duck, 3 Lesser Scaups and 7 Buffleheads. A small group, but nice variety -which was welcomed compared to only two Common Loons  found during yesterdays storm. From there I headed out to check a few fields in the Hadley area,  hoping to locate a large flock or two of geese, Shorebirds, perhaps a late swallow along the river- but it wasn't ment to be. I ended up in the Honey Pot and had a few species of sparrows (Savannah, Song, White-cr) American Pipits and a couple flyover Lapland Longspurs. All in all a great morning to be out.

Good Birding,


Location: Quabbin Reservoir--Park HQ.
Observation date: 11/1/09

Canada Goose 1
Lesser Scaup 3
Surf Scoter 3
White-winged Scoter 1
Long-tailed Duck 1
Bufflehead 7
Wild Turkey 12
Common Loon 2
Accipiter sp. 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
American Crow 6
Black-capped Chickadee X
Carolina Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 4
American Robin 5
American Pipit 1
White-throated Sparrow X
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) X
American Goldfinch 1

Location: Honey Pot (Hadley)
Observation date: 11/1/09
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Ring-billed Gull 70
Rock Pigeon 24
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Blue Jay X
American Crow 70
American Robin 20
European Starling X
American Pipit 14
Savannah Sparrow 19
Song Sparrow 6
White-throated Sparrow X
White-crowned Sparrow (Eastern) 2
Dark-eyed Junco X
Lapland Longspur 2
Northern Cardinal 2
House Finch 5
American Goldfinch 1

Belchertown- Goodell Street
Sharp-shinned Hawk (1Ad)
Great Horned Owl (1)
Pileated Woodpecker (1)

Lesser Scaup- (digiscoped) Always a good bird for the Quabbin area. 

Lesser Scaup & Surf Scoters. (digiscoped) Hanging out in the cove to the left of the the dam.

Buffleheads (digiscoped)

Sharp-shinned Hawk -Soaking up the morning sun on Goodell Street in Belchertown.