Friday, October 12, 2007

Moorhen and Lesser B-b Gulls

Typically gulls will congregate on the athletic fields of Gardner High School in the early morning after disbursing from their roost on Crystal Lake about a mile away. After leaving my son at school this morning I scanned the gulls, numbering over 100, and was fortunate to find a first winter type Lesser Black-backed Gull among the more common Herring and Ring-billed Gulls. These birds usually pick through the grass for eath worms and maybe a few crumbs left over from the previous day's snacking atheletes.

Chuck Caron had told me the previous year that gulls also gather on the atheletic field of Monty Tech Regional High School, in nearby Westminster. Feeling lucky, I decided to swing by Monty Tech on my way into work. Upon arrival I saw nearly the same number of gulls as in Gardner and with the Herring and Ring-billeds was another Lesser Black-backed Gull, this one an adult.

This species, while still uncommon, still appears to be on the increase in Massachusetts, and I would presume in other north eastern states too. I read a report of one found nesting on a remote island in Maine, just over the New hampshire border. If I recall correctly that Lesser Black-backed Gull was paired off with a Herring Gull.

Yesterday I was fortunate to find a Common Moorhen along the Nashua River in Pepperell, Ma. , near my work. I revisited today, and saw it was still present, and loosely associating with 4 American Coot. Other birds of note in Pepperell were Wood Duck (3) Blue-winged Teal (9), Northern Pintail (3), American Wigeon (2), Black Duck (1), Mallard (~30), Lesser Scaup (1), Mute Swan (8) and Pied-billed Grebe (13).

Another species of note, was a Barnicle Goose found in Concord, Ma. yesterday and still present this morning. Its an unbanded bird, with no unusual feather wear, arriving with migrate geese during peak migration which will leave many (especially the one's who have seen it!) to beleive this is a bird of wild origin. Last week, a Barnicle Goose was seen passing on the New Hampshire coast by Jane and Steve Mirick(same bird?)! See the massbird link (in my links section) above for further details.


Larry said...
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Larry said...

You've really been doing some great birding this month! Several impressive lists!

Tom Pirro said...

Thanks Larry, Actually I did a lot last month too, just didn't get to post. Last month i covered, and lots of good help too, Mount Watatic for migrant hawks. I will try to post a summary of the sept watch. We had a few really nice days with totals of 1800+ on 9/13, 5100+ on 9/16 and 1900+ on 9/17. Put ina lot of 8-9 hrs days. has monthly summaries in the drop down menu.

Larry said...

Tom-I was reading about Eugene D. Moran Wildlife Management area and also Mount Greylock area.
I'm interested in looking for winter finches, crossbills,grosbeaks etc.

Are you familiar with these areas?
I've got some time off in Novemebr.-Do you think that would be too early to start looking in these areas?-thanks

Tom Pirro said...

Hi Larry,
I have only been there once, and it was a brief visit on the way back from a tanglewood concert in july. Novermber may not be too early this year, there have been a few reports of Evening Grosbeak from Eastern Mass (and Cape Cod), White-winged Crossbills from Peterborough , NH 10 miles from the mass border and Pine Siskins. Perhaps we'll have a good "finch" winter!?! Watch the reports on Massbird from Western Mass and try email one of the folks posting from Western mass. I really don't get there too much. Also, "the Bird Finding Guide to Western Massachusetts" published by UMASS Extension has a write up on Moran

Larry said...

O,K,-thanks Tom.