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
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