Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Birding Class-New Salem to Turner's Falls

Spring Birding class-Trip #2.

Saturday March 12th- We left the Hitchcock Center in Amherst for areas to the North this morning. Our hope was to cash in on lingering Bohemian Waxwings, Evening Grosbeaks and Redpolls. Recent reports from New Salem had Bohemian Waxwings coming to a couple of Crabapple Trees near the Center of town. We arrived around 8:00am and looked around a bit, no luck. We met up with Bill Lafley, who had reported the movement of the Waxwings throughout the week. After about ten minutes the Waxwings came flew in to the top of a deciduous tree near the overstuffed Crabapple Trees. They gave everyone killer looks through the scope, we enjoyed them for about twenty minutes and they just went up and out of sight...pretty lucky. We turned around to face Bill's house and we had American Goldfinches, (4) Pine Siskins and a flock of about (30) Common Redpolls coming into his feeder, Very Nice!

We left New Salem and headed to Royalston...."one of the most reliable locations for Evening Grosbeaks in Western Mass", We arrived around 10am and almost instantly had a group of (18) at a feeding station just down from the Library. These are very cool birds, and the group thought so as well. Also in the area, more Pine siskins, Common Redpolls and Redwinged Blackbirds. My hope was to maybe get one of these target birds, but not all four. (Bohemian Waxwing, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Siskin and Common Redpoll) Not only did we get all four, but more important...everyone got great looks!

So it's now 11:00am, time running out and was hoping to still get to Barton's Cove in Turners Falls. The class is scheduled to end at 12:00, but the group was willing to go a little longer. My last target bird was a Redhead Duck that was found earlier in the week at The Turner's Falls Canal, with other sightings at Barton's Cove and the Rod & Gun Club-both in Turner's Falls. We quickly pulled into Barton's Cove on the Gill side, and found (47) Hooded Mergansers, a handful of Common Mergansers, (3) Common Goldeneye, (2) Bald Eagles and a Glaucous Gull-1st winter, but no Redhead. The last stop of the day would be to the Rod & Gun Club on the other side of the River. We pull into the Rod & Gun Club and they had some sort of a function going we quickly parked and scan the water. There was virtually no ducks except a group of (37) Ring-necked Ducks and one lone drake Redhead....very nice. One can easily go without seeing a Redhead Duck in the valley for several seasons.A great way to end the day.


These two photos of Bohemian Waxwings were taken a couple of weeks earlier in Windsor, get the idea.

Evening Grosbeak- Royalston Center
Evening Grosbeak-female
Bald Eagle-Imm. This bird kept both ducks and gulls on alert.

Ring-necked Ducks and male Redhead Duck- Rod & Gun Club in Turner's Falls.