Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Island Pond, VT

Headed north the other day to Island Pond, Vermont to do a little scouting for a trip later in 2013.
Priscilla Moor and I left around 5:30am and headed up 91 North towards Vermont. Considering the time of year, the weather and roadways were pretty good. We made a quick stop at Exit 17 for breakfast at the P&H Truck Stop. After breakfast we continue north until we got to Newport, Vermont, from there we headed east on rte 105 to Island Pond and onto our main target.... Moose Bog. This region plays host to such boreal specialties like Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee and Black-backed Woodpecker.

Although we arrived late, we were able to locate a couple of Boreal Chickadees amongest  a flock of Black-capped Chickadees. The area also had a recent light snow fall, which made it a winter wonderland. No big surprise, we didn't break 20 species for the day...besides the Boreal Chickadees, the other highlights were several large flocks of Wild Turkeys and a 1st winter Iceland Gull in Newport.

Below are a few photos of Island Pond region and recent Redpolls in the Honey Pot area in Hadley.

Main Road to Moose Bog

Bulletin board at Moose Bog 

Winter Wonderland...we only had to drive 220 miles to experience it. 

Priscilla on Moose Bog Trail.....

Iceland Gull-Newport, VT (Sleeping in center)

Red-breasted Nuthatch- Moose Bog

Black-capped Chickadee

Common Redpolls- A large flock has been hanging out in the Honey Pot for the last couple of weeks. There also have been 1-3 Hoary Redpolls mixed in with the flock.

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

Bobcat! Sunning at Hampshire Fittness in Amherst.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pine Grosbeaks-increasing.

Headed into Amherst the other day to pick up a couple of Holiday items when I came across four Pine Grosbeaks in the center of town. The Grosbeaks were feeding on a Crabapple Tree across from the Police Station on Main Street. The center of Amherst has several pockets of Crabapple Trees in the downtown area. Pine Grosbeaks are still being found around the Umass Campus, Quabbin HQ in Belchertown and the flock in Turners Falls is has increased to over forty birds. Again, most if not all the birds being reported are Imm/Females.

Pine Grosbeak- Amherst

Angry Pine Grosbeak?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving leftovers?

|Headed to Falmouth for the Thanksgiving Holiday......Valerie and I departed Wednesday hoping we wouldn't run into the 35 mile back ups we heard about from the day before. As it turns out the traffic was just fine and we made a side trip to  Bridgewater hoping to catch up with the Northern Lapwing that has been lingering in a cornfield. We arrived around 11:00am and within 10 minutes had the bird in the scope.

After we arrived in Falmouth and unloaded the car, I headed out to see what I could find on the local waterways. I didn't find anything out of the ordinary, but had a nice time, and the weather was fantastic for November.

After the Holiday, I finally caught up with the Pine Grosbeaks at the Quabbin Headquarters and had another 15 up in Turners Falls on Sunday. That's it for now....Christmas Bird Counts are coming up....If you haven't done one before, do it...there a lot of fun.


Northern Lapwing- Bridgewater, Mass. One of three birds currently on display in Massachusetts.

Red-breasted Nuthatch- Falmouth

Ruby-crowned Kinglet- Falmouth bike trail.

Hooded Mergansers- Salt Pond, Falmouth

Pine Grosbeak- Quabbin HQ, Belchertown. One of six birds, all female/Imm.

Pine Grosbeak- Quabbin HQ

Eastern Bluebird-female. Standing guard

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nantucket Lapwings

BACK TO NANTUCKET…..for the second time in three weeks I found myself back on this quint New England Island. The first trip was for the Gray-tailed Tattler that had been found during the Nantucket Bird Festival. There are just a handful of records for the lower forty eight, and to my knowledge none on the east coast. So with Alan Richards and Ian Davies we headed down to Hyannis to make the trip across the sound to Nantucket. There were over seventy birders looking for the Tattler, but to everyone’s disappointed the bird never made an appearance.

Fast forward…..Hurricane Sandy hits the East Coast and three Northern Lapwings show up along the Massachusetts Coast. One of the Lapwings was found in Eastham and the other two on Nantucket. The Eastham bird was only seen one day, but the Nantucket Lapwings were lingering!

James Smith emailed me late in the week and expressed serious interest in making the trip out to the Island; of course my arm really didn’t need a whole lot of twisting. So after several emails to James and Vernon Laux out on Nantucket (Lapwing updates) - we departed at 4:45am for the Fast Ferry out of Hyannis. If you’ve never taken the Fast Ferry to Nantucket, it’s quite nice and yes…It’s “FAST”. (One hour)  We arrived around 9:00am and were met by Vern Laux and Trish  Pastuszak. They took James, myself and a couple of other birders who had also contacted Vern the night before out to Hummock Pond where the Lapwings awaited.

After we got the Lapwings, we were the guests for Vern and Trish for the rest of our stay. They took us around the Island along with others in tow and we really had a great diversity from birds for November 3rd in New England.

Photos and checklist below.

Nantucket, Nantucket, US-MA
Nov 3, 2012 9:15 AM - 3:15 PM

73 species

Brant 42
Canada Goose 200
Mute Swan 62
Eurasian Wigeon 2 2-females
American Wigeon 48
American Black Duck 12
Mallard X
Blue-winged Teal 2
Northern Pintail 2
Green-winged Teal 1
Bufflehead 10
Hooded Merganser 2
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Ruddy Duck 4
Common Loon 1
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant 150
Brown Pelican 2 1-at the Nantucket Landfill. Capture and brought to rehab center on the Cape. #2- Seen over Nantucket Harbor while waiting to board ferry. Photos of both.
American Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron 4
Turkey Vulture 3
Northern Harrier 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Common Gallinule 2 Hummock Pond
American Coot 40
Northern Lapwing 2 Mega- continuing at Hummock Pond.
Black-bellied Plover 3
American Oystercatcher 3
Greater Yellowlegs 15
Ruddy Turnstone 20
Dunlin 15
Laughing Gull 2
Ring-billed Gull 4
Herring Gull 300
Lesser Black-backed Gull 5
Great Black-backed Gull 25
Rock Pigeon 190
Mourning Dove 5
Chimney Swift 1 Very late - seen from the ferry just before docking. Clearly a Chaetura Swift and most likely a Chimney, but all we could get distant views.
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Western Kingbird 1 Seen at Pat's Puddle-photos.
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 8
Tree Swallow 250 Largest group around Hummock Pond
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 12
Brown Creeper 1
Carolina Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 6
American Robin 45
Gray Catbird 1
European Starling X
American Pipit 8
Cedar Waxwing 12
Lapland Longspur 1
Northern Parula 2 Photos
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 female
Yellow-rumped Warbler 30
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 2
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 4
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2
House Finch 12
White-winged Crossbill 12 Seen and heard around Jackson Pt.
Pine Siskin 18
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow X

One of two Northern Lapwings at Hummock Pond, Nantucket. Distance made  photography tough-as one can see by these photos.

Northern Lapwings- In flight over Hummock Pond. Striking birds when in flight!

Brown Pelican-Imm. Prior to our visit, there had been four Brown Pelicans reported on the Island,  undoubtedly  from Hurricane Sandy. While watching the Lapwings, Vern gets a call about a Pelican hanging out at the Nantucket Ladfill!  It was obvious that this bird was in trouble and plans were in the making to capture it?

The plan was to offer the Pelican a fish, Red Snapper to be precise. Then grab the bird and  bring it to a rehab center on the mainland.

The bird takes the bait......

We observed the Pelican having trouble swallowing the fish, which I don't think it ever did.

You can see the snapper in the birds pouch. The pelican was captured and brought to a rehab center on the Cape.  Early reports the Pelican will be ok......but I'd like to know where the bird was banded? 

Northern Parula- A nice November bird.

Lesser Black-backed Gull- one of six birds along the beach. This area of Nantucket can sometimes  muster up close to one hundred individuals at the right time of year. 

Western Kingbird -  A nice surprise at an area known as Pat's Puddle. The  underparts on this bird were pretty bright.

A Selasphorus Hummingbird (Rufous/Allens) coming to a private residence on the Island. It's been  a pretty decent fall for hummers....There are at least 4 Rufous and 1 Allen's in New England.

Brown Pelican- 2nd pelican of the day! Seen coming into the harbor as we waited to board the ferry.

Brown Pelican-settled in at the dock as we departed Nantucket Harbor.

White-winged Scoters - The trip to and from the Island was filled with all three species of Scoters.

Black Scoters

Surf Scoters - Thousands can be seen from the ferry this time of year.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mammal Land

Did you know Northern Cardinals are the last to leave the feeders each night ...at least at my house. However, the next wave of visitors start to arrive a couple hours after sunset. This year we've experienced up to eleven species of mammals stopping by the bird feeder.   Recently a pair of Gray Foxes have been stopping by on a regular basis, including tonight..10-28. Prior to these two Gray Foxes, the only one I had ever seen was a dead one up at Lake Onota in Pittsfield.  

Below are a few photos of  feeder visitors....

Gray Fox


Flying Squirrel- 1st one I've seen in nearly thirty years 

Mr. Skunk

Black Bear


Wood Chuck

Happy Halloween.....and another Major Storm heading into New England!