Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Quabbin & Greenfield CBC

I spent the last weekend of 2014 participating in two Christmas Bird counts. The first one was the Quabbin Count which was held on Saturday the 27th. This particular count I happen to be one of the compilers along with Jim Lafley. We had forty observers this year, the weather was simply outstanding for late December and every part of the reservoir was ice free. We tallied 69 species, two off the all time high, had 3 new high counts and one new species for the count.

The next day I team up with James Smith and Eric Huston for the Greenfield Christmas bird count. With Josh Rose out of state, James took over as area leader for our section in Turners Falls..
Our area includes two major hot spots in the count circle- The Turners Falls Power Canal & Barton's Cove. The weather was no where near as inviting as Saturday's, but we managed 47 species (at least that was the count before I departed) Highlights.....Bufflehead, Merlin, Iceland Gull, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, (4) Hermit Thrush, (2) Winter Wren and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Below is a complete list of the Quabbin CBC.

Happy New Year....

Day break-Quabbin Count

Bufflehead-Turners Falls. Greenfield CBC

Carolina Wren-Greenfield CBC

Common Goldeneye-Greenfield CBC

Golden-crowned Kinglet at Barton's Cove

1st year-Iceland Gull-Barton's Cove

Merlin-Power Canal

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Red-tailed Hawk & American Crow

Canada Goose 54
American Wigeon 1 (2nd Record)
American Black Duck 108
Mallard 44
Bufflehead 1
Common Goldeneye 28
Hooded Merganser 56
Common Merganser 265
Red-breasted Merganser 1 (3rd record)
Ruffed Grouse 17
Wild Turkey 109
Common Loon 28 (New High)
Horned Grebe 39
Red-necked Grebe 1
Bald Eagle 21
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Northern Goshawk 3 (all on Prescott)
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 (3rd Record)
Red-tailed Hawk 32
Ring-billed Gull 109
Herring Gull 8
Rock Pigeon 48
Mourning Dove 121
Eastern Screech-Owl 4
Great Horned Owl 15
Barred Owl 7
Northern Saw-whet Owl 19
Belted Kingfisher 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 33
Downy Woodpecker 112
Hairy Woodpecker 35
Northern Flicker 6
Pileated Woodpecker 29
Blue Jay 413
American Crow 189
Common Raven 24
Horned Lark 20
Black-capped Chickadee 713
Tufted Titmouse 212
Red-breasted Nuthatch 38
White-breasted Nuthatch 214
Brown Creeper 15
Carolina Wren 9
Winter Wren 5 (New high)
Golden-crowned Kinglet 21
Eastern Bluebird 88 (New High)
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 134
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 8
European Starling 372
American Tree Sparrow 117
Song Sparrow 19
Swamp Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 27
White-crowned Sparrow 1 (New Species)
Dark-eyed Junco 354
Northern Cardinal 58
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Common Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Purple Finch 4
House Finch 19
Red Crossbill 1
Common Redpoll 5
Pine Siskin 43
American Goldfinch 283
House Sparrow 590

69 Species

River Otter 3
Coyote 2
Red Squirrel 17
Gray Squirrel 20
Beaver 1
Muskrat 1
Moose 1

White-tailed Deer 8 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ross's Goose-Barton's Cove

Clearly a rarity anywhere in New England...this Ross's Goose was found early this morning (12-20-14) at Barton's Cove in Turner's Falls. The Barton's Cove area remains of the best locations in the Valley to consistently produce uncommon and rare birds at anytime of the year.

Also just finished up (12-14-14)  a very successful Northampton C.B.C. (Area #8-Honey Pot Region) with James Smith and Brian Kane. We tallied 51 Species with the highlight being a Long-eared Owl that James picked out in the heavy tangles in the Honey Pot. Other highlights included a Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Northern Saw-whet Owl and a handful of Snow Buntings.

Next up the Quabbin Christmas looks good so far!

Ross's Goose (left) along with Imm. Snow Goose. Barton's Cove, Gill, Mass side.

Ross's Goose- Barton's Cove

Ross's Goose

Snow Goose-Imm. Barton's Cove

Cooper's Hawk-Adult. Northampton CBC Area #8

Coyote-early morning in the Honey Pot

Hermit Thrush-Hadley. Northampton CBC

Northern Saw-whet Owl-one of two in the early morning hours of the Northampton CBC (Amherst)

Long-eared Owl- Honey Pot. Certainly the best bird of the day was spotted by James Smith as we were walking along the thickets in the Honey Pot.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spent the last couple of days birding the West & East Meadows of Northampton. My goal was to try and track down the elusive Nelsen's least elusive to me. This particular bird was hanging out hanging out at an area known as the Ibis Pool. I figured I might have one last day before the next weather front came through and possibly moving this bird on. Surprisingly or amazingly, it only took me 15 minutes to relocated the bird.

The entire area around the Ibis pool was just busting with sparrows. The most common were Song, Savannah and Swamp, mixed in were a few Lincoln's, White-crowned, White-throated and a Field Sparrow. Also present was a nice flock of Pine Siskins and a couple Red-shouldered Hawks.

In the East Meadows the main highlight was the number of American Pipits. I had a couple groups that totaled over 160!

Nelsen's Sparrow-The Drought is over! This is my first Nelsen's Sparrow in the state. It's only taken 35+ years.
This bird hung in for almost a week at the Ibis Pool in the West Meadows. (Northampton)

Swamp Sparrow- Excellent numbers coming through the valley. 

Yellow-rumped Warbler- Love that Butter color!

Palm Warbler-Eastern Race.

Purple Finch- Good numbers the last few weeks. Up to 11 at our feeders.

Purple Finch-male.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Acadia to Monhegan Island

Valerie and I spent a week in mid-September vacationing in Maine. We visited Acadia National Park for the first three days of our trip, and the remaining days were spent on Monhegan Island. The weather was fantastic for the entire week, in fact we got a early taste of October like temps on Thursday morning when the temperature got down into the mid thirties. The birding was pretty slow up around Acadia, but we were there primarily to take in the awesome sights of Acadia. Monhegan was a different story....birding was the main objective. We ended our stay with about 85 species, but I must confess I was a little disappointed with the number of birds.  We had a lot of ones and two's of this, and a few threes and four's of that.... no huge numbers of Warblers, Vireo's, Sparrows or even raptors. However, it's still Monhegan and it remains one of my favorite places to bird in New England.

American Golden-Plover. Juv

Acadia National Park-view from Cadillac  Mt.

Jordon Pond-Acadia

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Sunset on Cadillac Mt

Black Guillemot - Port Clyde 

Harbor Porpoise-
Bald Eagle

Lark Sparrow

Blue-winged Teal- Ice Pond.

Sunset at Trailing Yew

Lobster Cove

Spotted Sandpiper-Lobster Cove

Monhegan Island celebrated 400 years this past July.

Valerie at Blackhead

Our first Rainbows on the Island

Prairie Warbler-one of two...put on a great show.

 One of the highlights of the trip were the dozens and dozens of Monarch Butterfly's migrating through Monhegan.
Certainly not the numbers I used to encounter, but it's a nice start considering the really low numbers back home.

Warbling Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo
Certainly a great addition to the late afternoon activities. 

Red-eyed Vireo- Surprisingly, very few for mid-September.

Rusty Blackbird-Ice Pond

Merlin-Ice Pond

Imm Red-headed Woodpecker. I've only had a few of these guys over the years.

Cape May Warbler- about 6 birds put on a nice show for a couple of days in the large spruce trees on the way to the Dock.

Yellow Warbler

Northern Parula

Thankfully just a Pirate Flag...No Pirates!

Overlooking the village

Baltimore Oriole

Wilson's Warbler

We will return!