Monday, November 30, 2009

North East Quabbin 11/29

Sunday morning, I was in a quandary of whether to head into Boston's Victory Garden or stay closer to home and visit the Quabbin Reservoir Watershead. The Boston trip would mean an almost certain life bird, a MacGillivray's Warbler (a western species that came east instead of south), while the Quabbin bird list would consist chickadees, nuthatches and perhaps an eagle or two. However, I was in the mood for solitude and a more wilderness like expirience, so I traveled west.

Its tough to "beat" the sight of Hooded Mergansers cruising across a secluded beaver pond.

My walk started out in Women's Federated State Forest in Petersham, where I walked West Road (or what once was West Rd.) toward Monson Turnpike Road. I did a little bush Whacking to a beaver pond where I found a few Canada Geese.

This one's ready to go!

Along the roads my spishing sounds were attracting juncos in good numbers, in a few spots the sound seemed to be sucking them out of the woods like a vaccum cleaner. Black-capped Chickadees, White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers and Golden-crowned Kinglets were also well represented.

At the end of Monson Turpike Rd. I followed Old North Dana Road south to East Fever Brook, and the site of the former Doubleday Village. I don't know a whole lot about this former village, but this fine link tells a better story of this area than I ever could.

Remnants of the Doubleday Mill.
I "skirted" the beaver pond on East Fever Brook and found a modest assortment of waterfowl including handsome Hooded Mergansers , Black Ducks and a few Mallards. I spooked up a Ruffed Grouse along the pond's edge, and shortly after a Sharp-shinned Hawk came crashing in the woods, scattering the song birds I had just spished in.
Once passing the beaver dam I came across a nice log, where I sat for lunch while overlooking another, but very shallow, beaver pond. There were more Black Ducks and a few crows started squawking and an adult Bald Eagle flushed off a snag and headed toward the reservoir.

The view while eating lunch, would've been good shorebird habitat...two months ago.
Adjacent to the shallow pond was a wet meadow, likely from a long since "filled in" beaver pond, pictured below.
I found not a bird in these grasses.
Most of the bird activity was coming from areas of sappling white pines and nearly all the birds were Dark-eyed Juncos and a few White-throated Sparrows. In this thick cover I was likely only seeing a fraction of the birds present.

One of 9 Brown Creepers seen during the walk.
After returning to Old North Dana Road I headed back north, toward West Fever Brook, eventually I wanted to make it to the edge of the reservoir.

Looking onto Quabbin Reservoir from West Fever Brook.

Old North Dana Road

Despite the late season, there is still some green!

A Golden-crowned Kinglet flicking its wings.
Once I reached the main body of water I was able to find some Common Loons, Horned Grebes, Ring-billed Gulls and a single Common Goldeneye.

Looking north toward New Salem.

A Crayfish's exo-skeleton along the shore.
While scanning I noticed a distant adult Bald Eagle perched along the far shore (it may have been eating prey), and another perched atop a nearby tree. A immature Bald Eagle flew into to join the bird along the shoreline, the adult, perched in the tree, chased off the young bird and actually knocked it into the water. The youngster managed to pull itself off the water and made a hasty retreat, I watched it continuously flap low over the water for several minutes.

Looking south from Old North Dana Road.

The sun was down, but I still had another mile and a half to travel....unfortunately I did not have a light with me...fortunately the moon was 3/4 full....unfortunately the side road I took lead me into a beaver swamp....fortunately my GPS "said" I was close West Road. I "tip-toed" across the top of the beaver dam and managed bush whack my way to West Road which lead back to the car.
Despite not finding any "fancy" birds, this was the trip that I wanted for this day .... perhaps that MacGillivray's Warbler will stick around another week or two....if regrets.
The Bird List:
Canada Goose....7
American Black Duck....29
Common Goldeneye....1
Hooded Merganser....11
Ruffed Grouse....2
Common Loon....5
Horned Grebe....5
Bald Eagle....5
Sharp-shinned Hawk....1
Ring-billed Gull....12
Herring Gull....2
Downy Woodpecker....1
Hairy Woodpecker....1
Pileated Woodpecker....1
Blue Jay....12
American Crow....4
Black-capped Chickadee....31
Tufted Titmouse....2
Red-breasted Nuthatch....12
White-breasted Nuthatch....11
Brown Creeper....9
Golden-crowned Kinglet....17
White-throated Sparrow....28
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)....212
American Goldfinch....1


D-Wing said...

My mum always told me to brush my teeth, that Beaver sure did listen.

Mark T. Alamed said...

Beautiful! I love that area of Quabbin. Great post.

Tom Pirro said...

"D-wing" lots of beaver activity within the Quabbin Watershead, a great place to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

Tom Pirro said...

Thanks for the comments Mark, you have one of the most informative blogs on the western part of Massachusetts. Have great holiday season and I'll enjoy your future posts.

Mattenylou said...

Hi, great post! We've hiked that area of Quabbin, so beautiful. Thanks for giving me a wonderful armchair tour.

Kim said...

Great shots of the Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet Tom. Never really noticed how long tail of a tail the creeper has until I saw it in your picture. Great sunset pictures especially the one from Old Dana Road.