Monday, May 4, 2009

East Quabbin 5/3

For the 3rd year, I had the pleasure of leading the Forbush Bird Club's East Quabbin "car trip" from Gate 45 to Gate 35. The club has been allowed this privilege, by the Massachusetts DCR, for the past 40 (or so) years. This is an excellent opportunity to be able to cover lots of ground and for folks with limited mobility to enjoy some of the "back woods" of Quabbin. This year we had decent weather with clam conditions, cool temps in the mid to high 40's (kept the black flies in check) and the rain held till late afternoon.

The caravan at Dana Center.
We had a nice turn out of 14 members, with birding experience ranging from a few months to several decades, in the DCR limit of 5 vehicles. The roads, some paved and most dirt, were in good condition and travel went smooth.

A Gray Catbird, with wings tucked, in flight.
Recent warm weather had brought in an excellent influx of migrants over the past week and we ended the day with 76 species compared to last year's 56.

A sprouting Fern.

We didn't run into any big waves of warblers, but there was plenty to look at most stops, 14 species of wood warblers, a scatting of Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks added color to an over cast day.
The gang heads back to the cars after having nice looks at Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Balt. oriole and Wood Thrush.
By the water's edge we saw several paired off Common Loons, Quabbin is a strong hold for breeding loons in Massachusetts. A pair of Bald Eagles, near their nest, were seen on a distant island and movement was detected of at least one chick in the nest through the scopes.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was the most common woodpecker of the day, this one I digi-binned in a Petersham cemetery, the day before.

Fran and Allen discuss hearing devices, "optics for the ears".

Cowbirds in Dana Center.

This Merlin (below) showed nicely, staying perched on a snag for about 30 minutes, while members gawked through scopes and took photos. I digi-scoped these through a member's Kowa 88mm spotting scope, currently one of, if not THE best units on the market.

No Head?

Fluffing up

Looking..looking..looking...we had no songbirds at this stop.

Posing nicely

This cooperative Eastern Kingbird at East Fever Brook.
We had some nice views of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in 2 locations. The one photographed below, I had seen the day before in Quabbin Park. Apparently it traveled north by way of Atlantic City, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun...maybe it placed "double of nothing" on Saturday's Derby!

A Gnatcatcher is a small bird, especially without it's tail, which must be close to being equal to its body length.
This bird was very vocal and responded well to my spishing noises.

Taking flight

Another flight shot
Our last stop of the day, toward the north end of the trip added, a Red-necked Grebe, a pair of Ring-necked Ducks and our only Veery (calling its "phew") of the day. Despite the amount of birds seen and heard or the weather conditions, there never seems to be enough time in the day to take it all in!

The trip list for the day:

Species ...Number reported

Canada Goose...9
Wood Duck ...8
Mallard ...5
Ring-necked Duck ...2
Hooded Merganser ...5
Common Merganser ...3
Ruffed Grouse ...1
Wild Turkey ...2
Common Loon ...11
Red-necked Grebe ...1
Great Blue Heron ...1
Turkey Vulture ...1
Bald Eagle ...3
Merlin ...1
Solitary Sandpiper ...1
Ring-billed Gull ...1
Mourning Dove ...2
Barred Owl ...1
Belted Kingfisher ...1
Red-bellied Woodpecker ...1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ...7
Downy Woodpecker ...1
Hairy Woodpecker ...2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) ....1
Pileated Woodpecker ...4
Least Flycatcher ...3
Eastern Phoebe ...4
Great Crested Flycatcher ...1
Eastern Kingbird ...2
Yellow-throated Vireo ...1
Blue-headed Vireo ...10
Warbling Vireo ...1
Blue Jay ...2
American Crow ...7
Common Raven...2
Tree Swallow ...20
Northern Rough-winged Swallow ...3
Barn Swallow ...1
Black-capped Chickadee ...3
Red-breasted Nuthatch ...2
Brown Creeper...3
Winter Wren ...2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet ...1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher ...4
Veery ...1
Wood Thrush ...7
American Robin... 12
Gray Catbird ...7
Nashville Warbler ...3
Northern Parula ...1
Yellow Warbler ...6
Chestnut-sided Warbler ...12
Black-throated Blue Warbler ...5
Yellow-rumped Warbler ...19
Black-throated Green Warbler ...10
Blackburnian Warbler ...6
Pine Warbler ...10
Black-and-white Warbler ...9
American Redstart ...2
Ovenbird ...18
Louisiana Waterthrush ...2
Common Yellowthroat ...2
Scarlet Tanager ...3
Eastern Towhee ...21
Chipping Sparrow ...16
Song Sparrow ...3
Swamp Sparrow ...2
White-throated Sparrow ...4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak... 6
Red-winged Blackbird ...10
Common Grackle ...15
Brown-headed Cowbird ...12
Baltimore Oriole ...6
Purple Finch ...3
Pine Siskin ...4
American Goldfinch ...10


Kallen305 said...

Excellent report Tom. I had a wonderful time and thank you for leading such a nice trip. LOVE the pictures of the Merlin and the Gnatcather in flight is awesome!

Looking forward to your fall trip.

Sheila Carroll said...

Tom, I hope you noted some good atlas behavior since some of the birds seen are probably within safe dates (like the Pine Siskins) and may not have been gotten in these blocks previously.