Sunday, March 15, 2009

South-western, NH 3/15/2009

I did some birding "here and there" in south western New Hampshire today. Walking from Keene center up to Chapman Road and back, about 4 miles, a few highlights included a Merlin near Water Street (a pair nested a few streets away from this locale 3 or 4 years ago), 3 Common Redpolls and many Pine Siskins (25+ no big flocks) their calls could be heard along the entire route. This Cedar Waxwing (below) cooperated nicely for a digi-bin photo.

I drove River Rd. South (Westmoreland) and River Rd. North (Walpole) to look for waterfowl, raptors and ground birds such as pipits, Horned Larks and Snow Bunting...and pretty much struck out. At the junction of rte 12 and 123, in Walpole, there were a few hundred Canada Geese on the Connecticut River and 6 Bohemian Waxwings that were sallying for insects from the tree tops.

Arriving in Hinsdale around 3PM I walked the rail-trail to the overlook, across the river from the Vernon Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. The out flow from the plant keeps the water open all winter and large concertrations of waterfowl gather here. Approximately 3,000 Canada Geese were present when I arrived and "I got to work" scanning through the "confusion". After 15 minutes I got lucky and spotted a Greater White-fronted Goose sleeping near the edge of the ice.
A distant digi-scope shot of the Greater White-fronted Goose, after it finally awoke.

Another 15 minutes later a good candidate for Cackling Goose "popped" into view. I studied this bird for several minutes noting its small size (2/3 of most Canadas), lighter colored back (frosty looking), squarish/blocky looking head, steep forehead angle and short stubbyish bill. Though I must say, I have seen some with stubber bills than this one.

A digi-scope shot of the Cackling Goose on the water.

Two Snow Geese were also in the mix, making it a 4 goose day for me! I first spotted them on the ice and took the shot below through the binocular as they headed south.

Digi-bin photo of 2 immature Snow Geese

A few other birders stopped by, Don and Martha, and another party of 3 with their very well behaved dogs. This Golden Retreaver, pictured below, despite remaining quite calm, gave the impression it would like to sink his teeth into some "fowl" .... might we suggest the Mute Swan.
For most of the time I was present, there were 2 Bald Eagles in the area, overlooking the waterfowl but, leaving them unmolested. Don, had told me their nest had fallen over in the past year and we notice the pair checking out what looks like a potential new nest site (on the NH side of the river). I seem to recall, from a previous visit, there was a Red-tailed Hawk nest where these birds seemed to show interest in the new "realestate".

A digi-scope of the eagle pair, in poor light at sunset, but you get the idea.
Most of the geese left about an hour before sunset, headed south and seem to put down on the Vermont side of the river. About 45 minutes later they all returned "and then some". I looked hard for the previously reported Barrow's Goldeneyes but not could find them in 90+ Commons that were present.
Below is a list of birds from Hinsdale:

Number reported
Greater White-fronted Goose....
Snow Goose....2
Cackling Goose....1
Canada Goose....3000 +
Mute Swan....2
Wood Duck....8
American Wigeon....2
American Black Duck....12
Northern Pintail....12
Ring-necked Duck....18
Common Goldeneye....95
Hooded Merganser....10
Common Merganser...40
Turkey Vulture....1
Bald Eagle....2
Red-tailed Hawk....2
Ring-billed Gull....15
Rock Pigeon....2
Mourning Dove....2
Red-bellied Woodpecker....1
Downy Woodpecker....1
Pileated Woodpecker....1
American Crow....10
Black-capped Chickadee....4
Tufted Titmouse....1
White-breasted Nuthatch....2
American Robin....1
Song Sparrow....1
Northern Cardinal....1
Red-winged Blackbird....50
Common Grackle....50

No comments: