Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pink-footed Goose

 It’s the almost the end of March and the Geese are on the move! During the past few days large numbers of Canada Geese have been increasing at a high rate here in Hampshire County. With the large concentrations of Canada’s, comes the hope that something else will tag along for the ride north. Well at around 3 o’clock this afternoon things got going….Larry Therrien located a Pink-footed Goose at the Old Pilgrim Airport in Hatfield. This is the 2nd time this species has shown up here in Western Mass and perhaps not the last. In recent years the Pink-footed Goose population has increased tremendously and we are slowly starting to see an increase in sightings over the last 10 years in the northeast. But for now, it’s still a really, really good bird here in the state and it’s always nice to have one close to home. Also present was a a nice flock of Snow Geese, eight of which were the Blue Morph. Photos below…


Pink-footed Goose (center-facing left) Old Pilgrim Airport.

Canada & Snow Geese

Snow Geese- middle bird -Blue Morph.

Snow Geese

Closer to home- A partially leusistic  American Robin

Peregrine Falcon cursing back to the nest box on top of  the library-Umass.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A few photos.......

A few digital shots from this winter....and it has been a long winter!!!
This little gem just was found and photographed by Barry Brooks in Amherst last November (2013) It hung around for only 10 minutes, but most likely is Western Massachusetts first Townsend's Warbler.

Bufflehead-Salisbury boat ramp

Always a good bird in Hampshire county -especially on the Connecticut River in Hadley. 

One of the nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in the Honey Pot.

Red-tailed Hawk- Montague

Right-legged Hawk-(Light Morph) Honey Pot

Northern Cardinal- Feeder

Red-throated Loon-Salisbury.

Considering how tough this winter has been.....a couple of hardy American Kestrels managed to make it through the winter in Hadley.

Perhaps overshadowed a little by the Big Snowy Owl invasion into eastern North American this winter. This was one of four Short-eared Owls that called the Honey Pot home this winter. Here in Western Mass we basically had one Snowy Owl put on a great show for almost two weeks in Deerfield, but the Short-eared Owls in the Honey Pot just about put on a show every night during the winter.  

Short-eared Owl-at dusk along Cemetery Rd in the Honey Pot.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hello folks,

If you haven't heard yet this year....there's a Snowy Owl invasion going on in eastern North American this winter. Actually a HUGE invasion not recorded in I don't know how long?  It began in November and the show still continues, especially along the coast. Here in Western Mass we did not have anywhere near the numbers that coastal locations did, but we had one bird that put on a amazing show in Deerfield. This bird was found by Tom Gagnon & Al Richards while birding their area on the Greenfield Christmas Bird Count. It was relocated a couple of days later and stayed around for at least another two weeks. You can go several years in Western Mass without encountering a Snowy this was great!

Snowy Owl- Deerfield 

Snowy Owl- Old Deerfield

One of 9 Snowy Owls I had on a day trip to Salisbury/Plum Island in early Feb/2014

Perhaps it's time for a nap.

A young bird hunkered down in the dunes at parking lot #1 on Plum Island


Certainly been a while since my last post. (Been a long winter) I took part in two Christmas counts this past December, Northampton and Quabbin. Both count days had decent weather, but the Northampton count had more unusual birds this time around. Below is a few pictorial highlights from both counts.

American Robin- record numbers on the Quabbin Count and I guess the same for other Christmas counts in the region.

Savannah Sparrow- Always a species we are somewhat responsible for on the Northampton Count. Although in recent years it has started to show up in other areas in the count circle.

Horned Larks- the bird on the left maybe an Arctic/Prairie form?

Peregrine Falcon along the Ct River.

Chipping Sparrow- Currently hanging out at my feeding station. Not a bad bird for this time of year.....but come mid April, it returns in big numbers to our region.

Clay-colored Sparrow- A very cooperative bird along Aqua-Vitae Rd in Hadley during the Northampton Count. This is about the 4th time we've had this species in our area on the count.

Common Merganser- always present along the Connecticut in winter. 

Ring-necked Duck- Only one on the count this year!

Golden-crowned Kinglet- a uncommon bird in our area.

Lapland Longspur- one of five in the Honey Pot area.

Snow Bunting-
honey Pot

Am.Tree Sparrow- This was a fun moment watching this bird bathing in a shallow area on the Connecticut River.

Although James Smith and I heard one during the count, this bird was photographed in Tom Gagnon's area the next day.

Quabbin Count- The Quabbin count was held under ideal weather conditions. The above photo is a Beaver Pond near fishing area 43.

My brave group near the Dana Spruces in Quabbin.

Fishing Area 43/Horse Shoe Dam

This year we had five Eagles in view at once at the Horse Shoe Dam area. Overall we fell one short of tying the record of 38.

Black-capped Chickadee-Hardwick

Eastern Bluebird-female/

Clearly an ongoing project for a over achieving Beaver!

Northern Cardinal-

Perhaps the cutest photo of the day was this cat at the Robinson Farm in Hardwick.