Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rough-Legged Hawks- honey Pot/So.Maple Street, Hadley

Spent the morning chasing down a couple of Light-morph Rough-Legged Hawks in the Hadley area.
Rough-Legged Hawks may make an appearance in western mass each year ,either one day wonders or a bird or two seen during migration  but most birders can go a few years without catching up to one. So when two different birds seemed content on hanging around for the last few days around South Maple Street and the Honey Pot....It was time to go. The Rough-Legged Hawk nests far to the north and west of New England and can start to show up in Massachusetts by the second week in October, but more likely to be encountered later into November.

The most I've ever had in one day in western Massachusetts was seven a few years back,  also in Hadley. Historically there have been some amazing numbers here in the valley, but you have to go back to the 1870's and 1880's when Edward Damon prowled the meadows of Northampton and Hadley with his gun. During those years he would collect up to sixty Rough-legs a year. Some of these birds made it to a number of museums in the region. Below are a few photos of the two Rough-leggeds I caught up to today. Both birds appeared to be juveniles-lighter eyes and lack of solid tail band among other things. The other interesting bird of the day was a Clay-colored sparrow, a bird found by Ian Davies and Evan Dalton a few days earlier. After about an hour we finally located the sparrow. It really didn't provide me with any great photo opportunities, but was able to get reasonable looks.


Rough-legged Hawk- Light morph. HoneyPot, Hadley.

Rough-legged Hawk- Light morph. So.Maple Street. (Not quite has cooperative as the honey Pot bird) 

Rough-legged Hawk- So.Maple Street.

American Kestrel-male. Honey Pot

Clay-colored Sparrow (bottom bird-back shot) also horrible photo!

Merlin- honey Pot

Dark-eyed Junco

Northern Cardinal- last week in the Honey Pot

Song Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow.

Savannah Sparrow- Honey Pot

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hello Folks,

Its certainly been a few months since my last post, perhaps I'm just getting over the October Snowstorm....probably not, just been busy with the Holidays and Christmas bird Counts. I managed to participate in three Christmas Bird counts this season-Northampton, Quabbin and Greenfield.While all three were fun, the Greenfield count had the edge this year. I joined Josh Rose and James Smith as we birded the Power Canel, Barton's Cove and the Rod & Gun Club in Turner's Falls. The theme of the day was FOG! not just fog, but industrial Fog. The fog really didn't clear until about 2:30pm, but the highlights of the day was away from the water. We birded the power lines near the canal and it turned out to be great. Highlights - Hermit Thrushes, Field Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a first for the Greenfield count..Common Yellowthroat first detected by James. Below are a few photos....

American Kestrel- Honeypot/Hadley. Northampton CBC

Carolina Wren- Hadley/Northampton CBC

Bald Eagle-Hadley/Northampton CBC

Fox Sparrow-Honeypot/Northampton CBC

Black-capped Chickadee-Hadley/Northampton CBC

American Robin- Hadley/Northampton CBC

Gray Catbird-No.Hadley/Northampton CBC

Porcupine- Quabbin CBC. Gate 43

Common Mergansers- Quabbin CBC Gate 43

Hooded Merganser- Rod-Gun Club. Greenfield CBC

Field Sparrow-Greenfield CBC. One of six.

Hermit Thrush- Greenfield CBC. Front & side views.