We left the center and headed out towards Hadley, my hope was the new snow cover would make it easier in locating Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings. The first hour and a half the theory was not playing out to well, only one Snow Bunting- and that was a flyover in the FOG. To this point the fields off of South Maple Street, East Hadley Rd, Aqua Vitae Rd in Hadley and the East Meadows in Northampton was a bust. When we headed into the Honey Pot section of Hadley, things turned around. Two decent flocks of Horned Larks and Snow Buntings put on a pretty good show for the small crown that braved the early morning elements. Also out there were several Red-tailed Hawks and one adult Bald Eagle.
From the Honey Pot to the “Donut Man” for tasty pastries, coffee and a restroom break, not necessarily in that order. From there we made our way north towards the Mt. Warner Road region, hoping for a Rough-legged Hawk at the end of Hawley Road, but it wasn’t meant to be. A consolation prize was a calling Common Raven, and then around the corner to an area known as the Pumping Station. This area has open fields along with a large area of thickets. Today this area proved to be quite active, (7) Northern Mockingbirds, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Flicker, Blue Jays, but the highlight, however brief was an adult Northern Shrike. A few members of the group were able to get a look through the scope before the bird flew behind the pump house and just disappeared?
All in all not a bad morning for the first class, we ended the trip with 35 species, but most importantly, we ended the day with happy birders. Some of the highlights....Ring-necked Pheasant (1), Bald Eagle (1), Belted Kingfisher (1), Northern Flicker (1), Northern Shrike (1), Common Raven (1), American Tree Sparrow (20), Savannah Sparrow (3) and Snow Buntings (65)
Mill Valley Rd-Hadley
Eastern bluebird- Pump Station.