Monday, November 24, 2014

North Central Mass Waterfowl 11/23/2014

Sunday afternoon I checked several lakes and ponds in the North Central Mass area, I saw no sign of the 3 Greater White-fronted Geese in Lunenburg (I reported last week), though Bart Kamp reported seeing them in the morning, nor did I see the "white-bodied" Canada Goose. However, there are many smallish agricultural fields and other bodies of water in the area where other geese could have been feeding. I did not have the time to cover Whalom Lake at dusk, where large number of waterfowl and gulls roost, so dawn or dusk are the best times to visit this small lake.
Some hilights:
-Round Meadow Pond (Westminster): Ring-billed Gull 10, Herring Gull 70, Hooded Merganser 12 and Common Goldeneye 2 .
 -Wachusett Lake (Westminster): Common Goldeneye 12, Hooded Merganser 12, Common Merganser 10.
Saw Mill Pond (Fitchburg): Herring Gull 6, Hooded Merganser 5
 -Notown Reservoir (Leominster): No water fowl at all, though I only checked from one vantage point off Rte2
 -Shirley Lake (Lunenburg), very few water birds compaired to last week, but the adult Peregrine Falcon, over looking that section of the lake, was the likely reason for the lack of waterfowl. Herring Gull 5, Ring-billed Gull 25, Mallard 5, Common Merganser 11, Great Blue Heron 1, Peregrine Falcon 1 adult, Red-tailed Hawk 1
 -Whalom Lake (Lunenburg) Snow Goose 1 imm. Likely the same bird I saw on Shirley Lake last week. Canada Goose 250, Great Blue Heron 1 and ~50 American Crows headed toward Fitchburg (likely to roost).
- Near Stillman Farm (Lunenburg) were: Canada Goose ~750 (I combed through these birds for some time and only came up with Canadas, Red-tailed Hawk 4 adults Mourning Dove 100+, Yellow-rumped Warbler 1, American Tree Sparrow 4, Fox Sparrow 1

Below are a few shots of the Peregrine in various poses perched ~150 meters away:




Using the camera's digital zoom, 

Considering the distance and being a hand held shot not too bad.

There were a few smallish looking Canadas within the "whalom geese" but none were fit into the Cackling Goose criteria.
Imm Snow Goose at Whalom Lake.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lunenburg 11/16

Late Sunday morning, on Lake Whalom in Lunenburg, were 60 Canada Geese, 3 Greater White-fronted Geese, 1 Ruddy Duck, 2 dozen Mallard and 6 American Black Ducks. Whalom Lake is a great spot to observe roosting waterfowl and gulls at dusk, particularly once the surrounding lakes and ponds have frozen over, a little later in the season.

Greater-white Fronted with Canadas

The 3 Greater-white Fronted a bit closer, the greenland race I presume as the bills were orangish to my eye.

On Shirley Lake in Lunenburg were ~450 Canada Geese, 1 Snow Goose, 125 Mallards, 10 American Black Ducks, 16 Ruddy Ducks, 125 Hooded Mergansers, 60 Common Mergansers.

These Hoodies showed nicely

A portion of the goose flock, there was one Canada Goose.
Eastern Bluebirds showed nicely at our feeders in Westminster today and I heard an Evening Grosbeak during an early afternoon walk near the center of town.
On the back deck perch stick

A cooperative Black-capped Chickadee

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Neighborhood (Westminster, Ma.) Birding 11/9

On a neighborhood walk to an old sandpit/squawsh patch this morning I found a nice array of sparrows, and a new species for the local patch. Dark-eyed Juncos, Song, Swamp, Savannah, White-throated, American tree, Chipping and Fox Sparrows were found. A fly over American Pipit was a new species for my neighborhood and a very late Bobolink was still lingering. here are a few photos.
November 9th is a very late date for a Bobolink in north Worcester County

An obstructed view of an American tree Sparrow

Its getting a bit late for Chipping Sparrows in the area, there were 5 or 10 present in the squawsh patch.

One of several Savannah Sparrows

A Brown Creeper at the forest's edge.
During the week, at Crystal Laker (Gardner) a the Red-breasted Merganser hung around until Friday, a Double-crested Cormorant and Ruddy Duck were also present and the season's first Common Goldeneyes arrived. There has been no "sign" of the Lesser Black-backed Gull I observed a week+ ago.

A female Ruddy Duck

Double-crested Cormorant

The "DC" showing a nice "aqua marine" colored eye.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quabbin 11/2/2014

I spent a very windy Sunday morning along the NE shoreline of Quabbin Reservoir starting at South Spec Pond in New Salem, then entering the Quabbin from Gate 35 for a walk along the shore.

The wind was out of the north west at a sustained 15-20 MPH with gusts to 30-40 mph. Depite the adverse conditions there was a nice showing of passerines species along the powerlines, with a few dozen robins, 50 + juncos, a few White-throated Sparrows and a single Amercian Tree Sparrow. Along the water's edge, in a sheltered cove, single Yellow-rumped Warbler fed and a Fox Sparrow showed nicely along the nearby road.

Water birds were tough to pick out in the heavy "surf", and the few I did find were "sticking " to the leeward side of the many islands in the area. Several Common Loons, a few Horned Grebes,  a dozen plus Buffleheads, 1 Black Scoter, 3 Ring-billed Gulls and only 1 Bald Eagle were the hilights. Other than the eagle a single Red-tailed and Copper's hawk were seen.
These Buffleheads and Hooded Mergansers were seen on South Spec Pond in New Salem.

A Common Loon riding the "surf"

The muted foliage of oaks and likely some beech along the eastern "slopes" of New Salem.

Female Buffleheads and Black Scoter


On the return home I stopped by Crystal Lake in and Gardner and Meetinghouse Reservoir in Westminster. A Red-breasted Merg and Long-tailed Duck were nice to see at these inland locales.
A female Red-breasted Merganser at Crystal lake in Gardner

At Meetinghouse Pond in Westminster was a hansome drake Long-tailed Duck

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fitchburg Airport 10/4/2014

 During the rainy Saturday afternoon (with east wind), I stopped by a few local lakes and the Fitchburg Airport in the hopes that something "good" had been grounded. No uncommon waterbirds had put down on either Round Meadow Pond, Crystal Lake, Notown Reservoir or Whalom Lake.

 At Fitchburg Airport I scanned the runways for about 15 minutes with "only" 20 Killdeer to show for the effort, then I heard a shrill "voice" or two from low the sky. I couldn't find the birds in flight, but after re-scanning the area I was able to find 2 American Golden Plovers, that had likely flown into view from the south end of the airport. They stayed in view for several minutes as they fed in the short grass in typical "stop and go" plover fashion.


A Merlin at Crystal lake Cemetery

A nice array of fall color

One of two Am. Golden Plover

Two Am. Golden Plover "loafing" at Fitchburg Airport.