Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crystal Lake, Gardner 11/12

Before work there was a Long-tailed Duck (formerly called an Oldsquaw)on Crystal Lake in Gardner, it was only my 3rd or forth record of this species in Gardner.
Female Long-tailed Duck on Crystal Lake

another view of the Long-tailed Duck
Also present were 2 Buffleheads and 9 Common Goldeneyes.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Local Patch Birding 11/9

An enjoyable Saturday morning neighborhood walk was productive with my first "local patch" Fox and American Tree Sparrows of the fall. White-throated Sparrows have thinned out in the past week with only a few present this morning being "replaced with numerous Dark-eyed Juncos. While Song Sparrow have been absent from the yard, I was able to find a dozen plus at the edge of a nearby corn field.
One of three Fox Sparrows 

My first local American Tree Sparrow sighting of the fall
I hawkwatched for about 20 minutes from a vantage point at a vacant sandpit and noted 2 Red-tails, 2 Red-shouldered and 1 Cooper's Hawk migrating. A dozen Eastern Bluebirds passed along with a few Purple Finches.
one of two migrant Red-shouldered Hawks on the move.

Another nice surprise was small mix flock of blackbirds that contained Common Grackles, Red-winged Black birds and 9 Rusty Blackbirds, in about equal numbers!

A quick check of the Old Mill pond turned up a female Gadwall, a very uncommon species in this part of Worcester County. She was consorting with the usual large flock of Mallards, but was noticeably more skittish as I approached.
A female Gadwall at the Old Mill

Gadwall feeding,.
A House Sparrow in my neighbor's yard, that I've seen a heard a few times this week, was my first "sighting" of this species from home in over 5 years. While it was a addition to the year's yard list (now at 94 species), I consider it a "low point".

Quabbin 10/27/13

The 1027 Quabbin Gate 35 field trip got off to a late start, due to me being a week ahead yet and hour behind. At home Karin and I, under my encouragement, set the clocks an hour back! Dick and Peg Knowlton had been the only people to show at 8am for the trip, but we did connect at 9am.

Along North Dana Road was a nice selection of late migrants, including 7 Hermit Thrushes, Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets, White-throated Sparrows and Junco. Near the reservoir several Common Loons were seen, but only a single Horned Grebe and no Red-necked Grebe. Four female Surf Scoters circled well off shore and were only identifiable through the scope, a Greater Yellowlegs was also seen in flight. Land birding was poor along the water's edge due to the strong wind coming in off the water.

A minimum of 5 Bald Eagles were seen, 2 pair of adults and a single first year bird that passed close over head.
Bald Eagle pair perched on a north Quabbin island, later the
were seen perched near a nest across the water. 

Looking south west from the shoreline

Catapillar Photo = Slow birding!
After the gate 35 area tour we stopped at North/South Spec Ponds in New Salem, were several Canada Geese, 8-10 American Black Ducks, Mallards and a Pied-billed Grebe were present.

Another North Central Mass stop was the Church/Norcross Hill area, in Templeton , where Cooper's, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks were seen. A Northern Harrier worked the edge of a field and "caught" the attention of the 200+ American Crows. Many White-throated and Song Sparrows were present but the recently reported pipits were seen or heard.
A Red-shouldered Hawk scanning a corn field.