Monday, October 15, 2012

Wompanoag Mass Audubon Sanctuary (Gardner) 10/13

Looking North West from the Wompanoag MAS
 I hawkwatched at the Wompanoag MAS in Gardner Saturday 10/13 from 9:15 to 2PM, the hawk flight was modest but there were plenty of other species on the move to keep me busy. While there were no clouds to help detect high flying raptors I was able to pick out a few as the strong cold wind fortunately kept some of the birds low!

The migrant hawk count for the day:
Turkey Vulture  8
Osprey  3
Northern Harrier 2 including one adult male
Sharp-shinned Hawk  20
Cooper's Hawk  3
Red-shouldered Hawk 5
Red-tailed Hawk 9
American Kestrel 6 (one passed within 10 feet of me at eye level!)
Merlin 3

There were a few "local" Red-tailed Hawks, including two that briefly locked talons and spiraled downward and another (or one of the same) that was being harrassed by a Northern Raven. I marvel at the obvious size difference between the two species, with the raven being the larger of the two!

This handsome Osprey passed by low and close!

This Osprey, a different bird, though not as close as the previous..still offered a great look.

Not to be out done this juv. Red-shouldered Hawk came in close for a photo
Canada Geese were moving and totaled just about 600, with the largest flock at about 100 birds and another just under 90. I picked up a skien of smaller waterfowl with quicker wing beats and a more dis-organized formation than the Canadas. My initial reaction was to lean toward Brant, and a few minutes later they flew overhead, very high but in good light. Their dark breasts, light bellies and whitish under tail coverts tipped the scales to Brant, my 4th record from this site.

These high flying Canada Geese numbered just under 90.

The Brant

Two USAF planes circled the general area several times.
On my way home, mid afternoon, I stopped by Crystal Lake to check for Scoters. Cold windy days in mid October can produce scoter flights, while I didn't see any during the day or on Lake Wompanoag, I did find 4 Red-necked Grebes on Crystal Lake. These were among the closest I have even seen the species, below is a digi-scope shot.
Two of the four Red-necked Grebes on Crystal Lake in Gardner.
Other species seen for the hawkwatch were 40 American pipits, 15+ Pine Sisikins, 3 Rusty Blackbirds, 3 Blue-headed Vireos, about 10 Palm Warblers and dozens of Yellow-rumped Warblers. A few American Crows appeared to migrating, over the next month much of the very northern most breeding crows will migrate through. Thom McCullough and I tallied 3500+ several years on Mt. Watatic we also had 131 Red-tails and 34 Red-shoulders that day, 10/28/2001.


Larry said...

Nice shots of the grebes. It looks like a good year for Brant inland..always nice to find them.

Larry said...

Great shots of the grebes...I'm still waiting for big numbers of scoters too.

Matt said...

Thanks Tom for your inspirational blog, which connected with me an re-ignited a latent inner birder thanks to finding you blog via Kim's blog. I have a gardening blog called growing with plants, and you might be interested in a post I just did showing some personal Forbush Bird Club photos from the past ( my Dad was a founder) and I had intentions of joining someday. But plants took over! I would like to try birding again - even with the group, but I'm afraid that I might be too rusty in identification.