Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Redheads- Turners Falls Canal

Redhead Ducks and one Lesser Scaup.

I read James Smith's post the other day on Massbird, and was pleased to hear the Redhead Ducks were still present at the Power Canal in Turner's Falls. So late Saturday afternoon I headed up hoping these elusive ducks would still be around. After a sort walk down the road, I came upon a decent gathering of waterfowl, which included the six Redheads. Redhead Ducks in the valley are by no means an annual visitor, in fact, an active birder could easily miss this species several years in a row. So the six birds in Turner's Falls was really nice to see. Besides the Redheads, a Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup and Common Mergansers put of a nice late afternoon show.                                                                                        American Wigeon
American Wigeon in flight. 
Redhead -airborne
Northern Shoveler-  
Common Merganser-female

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hampshire Bird Club - Cape Cod

Palm Warbler- Middleboro. One of the few brave birds that teed -up in the wind.

The Hampshire Bird Club spent three days last weekend on Cape Cod. The trip started out in Middleboro at the Cumberland Farms fields, this area has a terrific track record of not only producing rare birds, but large numbers of birds. However, this area is less productive when the the winds are out of the southeast at 25mph. The remains of tropical storm Nicole were moving into the region as we began our trip. Despite the wind, we did manage to pull out a nice show of Northern Harriers, Tree Swallows and an Upland Sandpiper. Anytime one comes across an Upland Sandpiper away from an Air force Base nowadays is indeed a plus. On this day, landbirds were almost non-existant- just a few brave Catbirds, Boblinks and Palm Warblers were able to tee-up on a weedy stalk for a brief moment. The one bright spot, at least for a while...the heavy rains had not yet arrived.

With the strong southeasterly winds throughout the day and into the evening, I thought we might have a chance for a seabird show at First Encounter Beach in Eastham the next morning! So we got everyone to First Encounter by 6:45am and hoped for the best. The winds had shifted to the northwest and the skies were clear and blue. A quick scan and large numbers of Northern Gannets immediately came into view.
The next couple of hours were pretty good, large numbers of Gannets (400+) along with decent numbers Cory's and Great Shearwaters. A few distant Parasitic Jaegers, White-winged and Surf Scoters, Forster's Terns and an American Golden-Plover.
                                          The Moon at First Encounter Beach.......

Looking out at Cape Cod Bay.

Northern Gannets

Red-breasted Nuthatch- Beach Forest in Provincetown.

Forster's Tern- Wellfleet Harbor.

Peregrine Falcon (Imm) Wellfleet Bay

Red Squirrel- Wellfleet.

Summer Tanager- Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary- Mass Audubon.

Looking out from Hemenway Rd in Eastham. (Coast Guard Beach in background)

Black-crowned Night-Herons coming out.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron- Imm.

Fort Hill in Eastham.

After First Encounter, we headed down to Provincetown to bird the Beach Forest. Land birding at the Beach Forest would not go down in history as one of those amazing moments, and basically set the theme for the rest of the weekend. By late afternoon we made our way to the Mass Audubon Sanctuary at Wellfleet, there had been a Dickcissel report fairly recently, but not that we could locate this day. After birding the grounds we were just about back to
the visitors center and we stopped back at a large thicket where we had had a Scarlet Tanager twenty minutes earlier. Now this thicket wasn't busting with birds, the Tanager, Catbird, Robin, a handful of Chickadees and some House Sparrows, and that was about it. But we stopped for a few moments when Marylou Splain got on the Tanager at the top of the thicket. It took what seemed like five minutes to get onto this bird because it was fairly well concealed, then I finally got it. Something about the color of this thing was not right, I kept slowly moving to the right, trying to get a better view....Hey, I think this is a Summer Tanager! ... and the bird just dropped right into the heart of the thicket. We spent the next 30 minutes just getting quick views of the bird until finally it popped out and all were able to get a quick but decent look at the Summer Tanager!!

After the Tanager, we headed to Hemenway Road in Eastham. This area is famous for watching the Night-Herons coming out of their daytime roost, and especially for the Yellow-crowned Night-heron. We ended up with (44) Black-crowned Night-Herons and (6) Yellow-crowned Night-Herons...Nice way to end the day.

Sunday brought more clouds, a steady north easterly wind and even less landbirds. We ended the trip at Cow Yard Lane in Chatham. In recent years this has become a fairly decent shorebird spot at low tide, we added Marbled Godwit (5), American Oystercatcher, Willets (Western race), Black-bellied Plovers, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin and over a hundred Gray Seals. We ended with 109 species, all in all a very nice weekend.

Trip list and weather:

Oct 1st, 2010 – Temp 75-82 degrees. A weakened tropical Storm (Nicole) passed through New England on Friday. The constant high winds (SE) 15-30mph made land birding very difficult. These winds would ultimately play a major role the next morning at First Encounter. The heavy rains that we dodge most of the day finally caught up with us by 2pm.

Oct 2nd, 2010 – We were met with clear skies, Northwesterly wind (5-20mph) and cooler temps 51-65.

Oct 3rd, 2010 – Temps 56-61, Cloudy with a noticeable 5-15mph Northeast wind.

Areas Covered:
Middleboro –Cumberland Farms Fields, Wareham (Tihonet Cranberry Bog), Sandy Neck Beach.

Eastham – First Encounter Beach, Stump Dump, Hemingway Rd, Fort Hill, Coast Guard Beach.

Truro – High Head.

Provincetown – Herring Cove, Beach Forest

Wellfleet – Mass Audubon, Harbor

Chatham –Cow Yard Lane.

Canada Goose 12
Mute Swan- 4
Am. Black Duck 33
Mallard (1) chatham
Blue-winged Teal (10) Beach Forest
Common Eider (350+) most at First Encounter Beach.
Surf Scoter (8)
White-winged Scoter (9)
Wild Turkey (3)
Common Loon (9) First Encounter/Fort Hill/Sandy Neck
Cory’s Shearwater (50+) of the Shearwaters closest to the parking lot- Cory’s was the most common.
Great Shearwater (75+) Farther out.
Manx Shearwater (1) Scott.
Northern Gannet (400+) Best Looks from First Encounter.
Double-crested Cormorant (300+)
American Bittern (1) First Encounter. Scott
Great Blue Heron (15+)
Great Egret (9)
Snowy Egret (5)
Green Heron (1) Wellfleet
Black-crowned Night-Heron (42) Hemingway Rd-Eastham.
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (6)
Turkey Vulture (15+)
Osprey (7)
Northern Harrier (6)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (3)
Cooper’s Hawk (3)
Red-tailed Hawk (3)
American Kestrel (3) Middleboro
Peregrine Falcon (2)
Black-bellied Plover (200+)
American Golden-Plover (1) First Encounter Flyby.
Semi Plover (20+)
American Oystercatcher (2) Cow Yard/Chatham.
Greater Yellowlegs (100)
Lesser Yellowlegs (5)
Solitary Sandpiper (2) Beach Forest
Willet-western race (6)
Upland Sandpiper (1) Middleboro
Whimbrel (2)
Marbled Godwit (5) Cow Yard Ln/Chatham.
Ruddy Turnstone (1) Cow Yard Ln. Chatham
Sanderling (100)
Semi Sandpiper (10+)
Dunlin (18)
Short-billed Dowitcher
Parasitic Jaeger (5)
Laughing Gull (80+)
Bonaparte’s Gull (3)
Ring-billed Gull (70+)
Herring Gull
Great black-backed Gull (80+)
Common Tern (300+)
Forster’s Tern (30)
Mourning Dove (15)
Belted Kingfisher (4)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (3)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (3)
Downy Woodpecker (4)
Northern Flicker (3)
Eastern Phoebe (2)
Blue-headed Vireo (1)
Red-eyed Vireo (1)
Blue Jay (18+)
American Crow (100+)
Fish Crow (1)
Horned Lark (8) Middleboro
Tree Swallow (4000+) Most at Sandy Neck.
Barn Swallow (15)
Black-capped Chickadee (60)
Tufted Titmouse (16)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (12)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2)
Carolina Wren (3)
House Wren (1)
Golden-crowned kinglet (7)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1)
Eastern Bluebird (4)
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird (2)
E. Starling
American Pipit (3)
Cedar Waxwing (32)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (10)
Pine Warbler (3)
Palm Warbler (14 Western/ 1 Eastern)
Blackpoll Warbler (1)
American Redstart (1)
Scarlet Tanager (1)
Summer Tanager (1) Wellfleet. Mass Audubon
Eastern Towhee (4)
Chipping Sparrow (5)
Field Sparrow (4)
Savannah Sparrow (4)
Song Sparrow (15)
Swamp Sparrow (3)
White-thr.Sparrow (6)
White-cr. Sparrow (1 Imm)
Dark-eyed Junco (1)
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting (3) High Head- Truro
Bobolink (5) Middleboro
Common Grackle
Red-winged Blackbird
Purple Finch (4) 1-High Head 3- Fort Hill
House Finch (38)
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

109 Species