Sunday, April 6, 2008

Keene to Charlestown, NH 4/5

Late afternoon I spent some time looking for waterfowl in Keene and then along the Connecticut River Valley in the towns of Westmoreland, Walpole, North Walpole and Charlestown.

The semi flooded corn fields on Krif Road, in Keene, provided a nice variety of puddle ducks and Wilson's Snipe. Many of the birds were relatively close to the road so the view of these birds was quite nice, such as the snipe and Blue-winged Teal below.


Wilson's Snipe at rest along Krif Road in Keene
Drake Blue-winged Teal in Keene

Birds seen and heard from Krif Road:

Canada Goose 22
Wood Duck 3
American Black Duck 4
Mallard 84
Blue-winged Teal 1
Northern Pintail 1
Green-winged Teal 6
Turkey Vulture 4
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Killdeer 5
Wilson's Snipe 17
Ring-billed Gull 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
American Crow 25
Black-capped Chickadee 3
American Robin 10
European Starling 5
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Common Grackle 25
Brown-headed Cowbird 1

The next stop was in Westmoreland, along Chickering Road, the dairy farmer has done a nice job of spreading manure on his fields. In the past this is done while there is still snow on the ground and it attracts excellent numbers of ground birds such as Horned Lark and Snow Bunting. There was little snow cover on this field, making finds flocks of these birds difficult.

While I was looking through the geese, a handsome Northern Harrier passed, zigging and zagging over the field. If I had ever seen this many Horned Larks at once before, I can't remember, but had I ever seen that many, I guess I would have. I estimated at least 1500 larks flying about until the harrier moved on, I was able to pick at least 2 Snow Buntings as well. There was a nice variety of waterfowl including 47 Snow Geese.

Birds seen in Westmoreland:
Snow Goose 47
Canada Goose 450
Wood Duck 8
American Black Duck 16
Mallard 60
Northern Harrier 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
American Kestrel 1
Killdeer 12
Rock Pigeon 15
American Crow 100
Horned Lark 1500
American Robin 300
European Starling 50
Song Sparrow 1
Snow Bunting 2
Red-winged Blackbird 100
Common Grackle 50

Along North River Road in Walpole was more waterfowl, including over 60 Wood Ducks at one stop near a horse farm.

The Walpole List:
Snow Goose 3
Canada Goose 56
Wood Duck 76
American Black Duck 22
Mallard 56
Green-winged Teal 2
Killdeer 6
Mourning Dove 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
American Crow 4
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Tufted Titmouse 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
American Robin 562
European Starling 25
Song Sparrow 3
Red-winged Blackbird 100
Common Grackle 56
Brown-headed Cowbird 20

As I passed through North Walpole I notice 2 small fruit trees in a front yard and next door was a small flock of Bohemian Waxwings. I parked across the street, at the North Walpole Fire/Police station/Public Library (all in the same small building) to get a better look. A few of the waxwings landed in the fruit tree and I got a few digi-bin shots. Something spooked the birds and they headed toward me, I kid you not...I was nearly hit the face by them as I literally felt the breeze from their wings as they wizzed past, within a foot of my head!

Bohemian Waxwings in North Walpole


N. Walpole list:
Canada Goose 135
Wood Duck 25
American Black Duck 10
Mallard 90
Killdeer 6
Horned Lark 90
Bohemian Waxwing 8

Continuing north to Charlestown where big numbers of waterfowl have been reported recently, I was hoping for perhaps a Cackling Goose or some other fancy fowl. That would not be the case, but there was certainly good numbers of Canada Geese, a few Snows (including one Blue form of the Snow Goose), lots of Mallards and other dabblers. One oddly plumaged Canada Goose was present, having a normal neck and head but with a frosty white body (see the digi-scope photo below). There were a few mergansers along the river and I had a nice view of a River Otter eating a fish on the edge of the ice.

Leusistic Canada Goose in Charlestown, NH


The Charlestown list:

Snow Goose 6
Canada Goose 1600
Wood Duck 30
American Wigeon 4
American Black Duck 20
Mallard 125
Northern Pintail 1
Green-winged Teal 6
Hooded Merganser 14
Common Merganser 12
Great Blue Heron 3
Turkey Vulture 2
American Kestrel 1
Killdeer 6
Ring-billed Gull 20
Mourning Dove 1
American Crow 10
Common Raven 1
Horned Lark 20
American Robin 50
European Starling 25
Song Sparrow 5
Red-winged Blackbird 25
Common Grackle 25
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
House Sparrow 5


Sun-set along the Conn. River in Charlestown, NH.

1 comment:

PA-Birder said...

Sounds like a great way to spend and afternoon. Your encounter with the Waxwings gives new meaning of to the term "getting waxed."
Vern