Sunday, January 11, 2015

Barnacle Geese to Rough-legged Hawk.

Headed down to Agawam this morning to look for the Barnacle Geese that were discovered a week ago. Given a heads up by Tom Gagnon the day before that the Longmeadow side was completely frozen, I made my way along River Road in Agawam. I arrived around 8:40AM and found a couple of birder’s already on the geese. As it turned out, this ended up being a huge help that the other birders were on the Barnacle’s, because they were tucked in and well hidden amongst the 1900 Canada Geese. Barnacle Geese have certainly come a long way in the past 20 years or so. Once they were automatically written off as escapees, but now with a surge in their population, they are now more accepted as wild birds.
From Agawam I headed north to Northampton for a visit to the West Meadows. I read a report the day before on Western Mass birders (Facebook) of a Dark Morph Rough-legged Hawk. It only took me about ten minutes to locate this winter visitor from the north. I managed a few photos and also came across a large flock of Horned Larks (250) and found (4) Lapland Lonspurs and (7) Snow Buntings….all winter visitors to our region.
Certainly a nice morning of birding in the valley, despite the chilly temps this morning…4 degrees!
Rough-legged Hawk-West Meadows (Northampton) Dark morph.

Rough-legged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk.

Common Merganser- Honey Pot

Horned Lark-Honey Pot