Saturday, November 23, 2013

HBC-Cape Cod Weekend

Ten members of the Hampshire bird Club made a weekend trip to Cape Cod a couple of weeks ago. Overall the weekend weather was pretty good, but certainly a bit on the windy side. We headed out early Saturday morning for Race Point in Provincetown, hoping to cash in on a few pelagic birds. The biggest obstacle we encountered was the WIND….but we managed to find a couple lingering Great Shearwaters , 3-4 Parasitic Jaegers, lots of Bonaparte’s Gulls, Gannets, Scoters, Common Eiders and one Wood Duck flying close to shore with a flock of Common Eiders? Along the Beach…a flock of Snow Buntings and an American Pipit put on a nice show.

During the next two days we would work our way up and down Rte 6 from Chatham to Provincetown, stopping at Fort Hill, Wellfleet Harbor, Morris Island and High Head to mention just a few. We had some nice birds but nothing to out of the ordinary.  A late Lincoln’s Sparrow at High Head, Fox Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird at Fort Hill and loads of Dunlins, Black-bellied Plovers, American Oystercatcher and a couple Peregrine Falcons in Chatham.  Complete list below.   

Northern Harrier- Race Point

Gray Seals- Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown.

Common Eiders- Provincetown

Great Blue Heron- Marsh near High Head.


Race Point- Provincetown.

Common Loon-Wellfleet Harbor

Common Eider-Having a snack...Wellfleet Harbor.

The Gang....Chatham Light


Chatham Light

Herring Gull- dropping a scallop.

Greater Yellowlegs

Great Egret- Coast Guard Beach.

Great Blue Heron

Bonaparte's Gull- Coast Guard Beach.

Yellow-rumped Warbler- Fort Hill.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Flicker-Fort Hill

Peregrine Falcon- Fort Hill.

                                              Hampshire Bird Club                             

                                  Cape Cod Trip – Nov. 9-11, 2013

Areas Covered:

Chatham (Chatham Light/Morris Island/Cow Yard Rd/Hardings Beach/CockleCove)
Orleans (Nauset Beach)
Eastham (Coast Guard Beach/Fort Hill/First Encounter Beach)
Wellfleet (Harbor)
Truro (High Head/Head of the Meadow)
Provincetown (Race Point/Herring Cove Beach/MacMillian Wharf)



Canada Goose- Low numbers.

Brant -10

Mute Swan -2

Wood Duck -1. Flying with Eiders at Race Point.

American Black Duck- common.

Mallard- surprisingly uncommon this weekend.

Green-winged Teal-17. Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Beach, High Head.

Ring-necked Duck-8 Eastham.

Greater Scaup- 9

Common Eider- 3000+ large numbers in Chatham.

Harlequin Duck-1 male. Nauset Beach…Thank You Sally.

Surf Scoter- Common- 50-100

White-winged Scoter- Most Common-1000+

Black Scoter- 250-300

Long-tailed Duck -12

Bufflehead- 250+

Common Goldeneye-2.

Hooded Merganser- 3 Fort Hill.

Red-breasted Merganser- 75+

Red-throated Loon- 25

Common Loon- 65

Horned Grebe-15

Red-necked Grebe- 4

Great Shearwater-2 Race Point.

Northern Gannet- 400

Double-crested Cormorant- 1500+

Great Cormorant-6

Great Blue Heron- 10

Great Egret-2

Northern Harrier-6

Sharp-shinned Hawk-3

Red-tailed Hawk-2

Merlin-1. High Head.

Peregrine Falcon- 3. Chatham & Fort Hill.

American Coot- Eastham

Black-bellied Plover-150+ (Most at Morris Island)

American Oystercatcher-1 Morris Island.

Willet-1 Chatham.

Ruddy Turnstone-1 Chatham.


Semipalmated Sandpiper-6

White-rumped Sandpiper- 1 Herring Cove.


Bonaparte’s Gull-300+ Largest numbers-Race Point.

Laughing Gull-9

Ring-billed Gull- 40+

Herring Gull-very common.

Great Black-backed Gull-Commn

Common Tern-50 Race Point.

Parasitic Jaeger-3 Race Point.

Rock Pigeon- 300

Mourning Dove- 14

Red-bellied Woodpecker-1 Fort Hill

Downy Woodpecker-3

Northern Flicker-4

Blue Jay-5

American Crow

Horned Lark-6

Black-capped Chickadee 23

Tufted Titmouse-4

Red-breasted Nuthatch-1 Morris Island

White-breasted Nuthatch-1 Fort Hill

Carolina Wren-7

Golden-crowned Kinglet-3

Ruby-crowned Kinglet-1 Eastham.

Eastern Bluebird-2 Eastham

American Robin- 85+

Gray Catbird-4

Northern Mockingbird-3


American Pipit-1 Race Point.

Yellow-rumped Warbler- 65+

Palm Warbler-2 Chatham Light.

Fox Sparrow-1 Fort Hill.

Song Sparrow-15

Lincoln’s Sparrow-1 High Head.

White-throated Sparrow-3

Snow Bunting-41 Race Point.

Northern Cardinal-17

Red-winged Blackbird-1

Rusty Blackbird-1 Fort Hill

House Finch- 22

American Goldfinch-20+

House Sparrow-20


     84 Species  


Gray Seals


White-tailed Deer


Weekend Weather: Temps 38-60, Strong NW winds on Saturday 10-20mph.

Sunday-light winds (SW) Cloudy-light on-off rains. Monday –Clear steady NW winds.




Monday, November 4, 2013

Nine members of the Hampshire Bird Club (led by Tom Gagnon) enjoyed a rewarding, but cold day in the Berkshires today. The highlight of the day was the fallout of Scoters that occurred throughout the Berkshires and many other regions of Massachusetts. By far, Black Scoters were the most numerous, with token appearances by White-winged and Surf Scoters. We visited several lakes and reservoirs from Hinsdale, Cheshire, Pittsfield, Richmond and to Stockbridge. Every body of water had a flock of Scoters on it, this was the first time this annual trip had encountered something like this. We ended the day with 264 Black Scoters, 2 White-winged and 10 Surf Scoters. A total of 16 species of waterfowl, including Canada Goose (200+) Wood Duck (2) Mallard (125+) Am.Black Duck (8) Green-winged Teal (24) Ring-necked Duck (2) Long-tailed Duck (41) Common Goldeneye (3) Bufflehead (86) Common Merganser (70) Red-breasted Merganser (1) Hooded Merganser (83) and (2) Ruddy Ducks. Also seen, 1-Common Loon,2-Pied-billed Grebes, 1- Double-cr.Cormorant, (2) Great Blue Herons, 28 American Coots, 2 Bald Eagles, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, 2 Common Raven, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Snow Bunting.

Black Scoters- Cleveland Reservoir. The first of serveral flocks encountered.

Bald Eagle-(Juv) Kept the Ducks moving around the lake.

Scoters & Buffleheads- Large flock containing all three species of Scoters on Lake Onota.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sparrow Hunting

Under near perfect weather conditions, Fifteen Hampshire Bird Club members set out last Sunday morning to beat the weed patches of the Honey Pot in search of Sparrows. Of course, being October-it is prime time to encounter those elusive….LBJ’S. (Little Brown Jobs) We ended the day with nine species of Sparrows, the most notable were Vesper & Grasshopper Sparrow. However, we were afforded terrific looks at Song, Savannah, Swamp, White-Crowned, White-throated, and lesser looks at Field and Chipping Sparrows. However….sparrows weren’t the only entertainment- We had great looks at a Merlin harassing a Northern Harrier, Yellow-rumped & Palm Warblers (Eastern & Western) Cooper ’s hawk, a late bobolink and up to 10 Fish Crows at the Donut man in Hadley.   


Below are  lists and photos of the birds encountered during Sunday’s trip, however some of the photos were taken the week before.


Northern Harrier & Merlin. Merlins just go out of their way to make the lives of other birds miserable .

Northern Harrier- A more peaceful moment

Vesper Sparrow- on the powerline in the Honey Pot. I generally see Vesper Sparrows sitting & calling from the Powerlines in the Springtime, not so much in the fall.

Swamp Sparrow- early October is primetime for these guys here in the valley.

Chipping Sparrow-

Palm Warbler-Eastern. We also had decent looks at a Western Palm.

White-crowned Sparrow-Adult.

Lincoln's Sparrow- of the expected sparrows...we missed this one.

Honey Pot- Hadley

 Canada Goose  72
American Black Duck  4
Northern Harrier  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Killdeer  1
Mourning Dove  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1
Merlin  1
Eastern Phoebe  2
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  80
Carolina Wren  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Eastern Bluebird  8
American Robin  5
European Starling  20
American Pipit  8
Palm Warbler (Western)  1
Palm Warbler (Yellow)  5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  12
Field Sparrow  2
Vesper Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  70
Grasshopper Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  45
Swamp Sparrow  12
White-throated Sparrow  2
White-crowned Sparrow (Eastern)  6
Bobolink  1
Red-winged Blackbird  22
Rusty Blackbird  2
American Goldfinch  5
East Meadows- Northampton

Canada Goose  30
Turkey Vulture  2
Northern Harrier  2
Accipiter sp.  1
Killdeer  9
Merlin  1
American Crow  6
Horned Lark  12
Northern Mockingbird  1
American Pipit  15
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  17
Chipping Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  5
Red-winged Blackbird  2
House Finch  4
American Goldfinch  8
House Sparrow  6


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Monhegan-Sept 2013

The last weekend in September is prime time for migration in New England, and perhaps the ultimate location in the Northeast is on Monhegan Island.  Those of you that have read my blog in the past, know that Monhegan is located about ten miles off the coast of Maine. I spent three days on the Island last weekend and experienced some nice movement of birds during my stay.  I ended my trip with about 97 species and took about 1000 photos during the weekend.

In the past I’ve used my standard 100-400mm Cannon zoom lens, this weekend I mainly used a rented 300mm fixed lens with a 1x4 extender for all the bird shots. Overall I was pretty happy with the results.



Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher- Only a couple during the weekend...this one loved the area around the Monhegan House.

Let's hope this Nome brings the Red Sox good luck during the up coming playoffs.

Northern Parula- Fairly numerous during the weekend.

The Goat Family over on Manama

Dickcissel- one of two.

Yellow-rumped Warbler-Clearly the king of late September Warblers passing through Monhegan...hundreds & hundreds.

Savannah Sparrow down at Lobster Cove. Not as many as pervious trips. The other Sparrow highlight was a Nelsen's Sparrow-a first for me on Monhegan.

Swamp Sparrow

Palm Warbler (Eastern/Yellow) not as common as the Yellow-rumps, but then what is. On another note-The vast majority of the Palms were of the Eastern Race, something I've also noticed locally here in Western Mass. 

Yellow Warbler

Peregrine Falcon-Imm. Fall falcon migration on Monhegan can be spectular.

Northern Harrier

Magnolia Warbler

Merlin-loads of fun to watch

Yellow-bellied sapsucker- very common


Northern Flicker-another very common Woodpecker during late September.

Looking North from Whitehead.

Clay-colored Sparrow-almost expected on the Island this time of year.

Monhegan Harbor


Green-winged Teal-

Rusty Blackbird- 6-9 birds seen throughout the weekend.

Hermit Thrush-very few thrushes on the Island. The only other thrush I had was a Swainson's.

Brown Thrasher-just love these birds!

Lincoln's Sparrow

Blackburnian Warbler

Semipalmated Plover-

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black & White Warbler- Just before my arrival there  was a huge fallout of this species.

Red-eyed Vireo-a fair amount found around the Island.

Wilson's Warbler

Philadelphia Vireo-

Certainly a surprise out on Monhegan this fall has been a small movement of Broad-winged Hawks. Typically they stay clear of open water. This was my first in 29 years going out to Monhegan.

Cape May Warbler-fairy bright fall bird.

Monarch Butterfly- only three seen on this trip. The numbers are way down this season for this butterfly. I would normally see hundreds.

Brown Creeper

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Muskrat-apparently there is a large colony out on the Island.

Island Inn- Final day on the Island was very foggy

Fog on the Marsh

Main road on the Island

Sunset at the Trailing Yew

Trailing Yew-Dining Room


Monhegan Lighthouse- Two weeks before I arrived the Lighthouse was hit by lighting! The lighthouse "light" was barely visable. They've made one attempt to fix it....but struck out.