Sunday, October 25, 2015

Wampanoag Hawkwatch 10/24

A brief hawkwatch, at the Wampanoag MAS in Gardner, produced a modest flight of raptors during a 2 hour session late Saturday morning; the totals (for migrants):
Turkey Vulture  5
Bald Eagle 1 adult
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4
Red-shouldered Hawk 3
Red-tailed Hawk 6

Also notable were a Horned Lark, Winter Wren (calling from the adjacent woods),  and ~10 passing Purple Finches.
Several Yellow-rumped Warblers were in the area,  including one that landed on my head! Ten plus years back a Northern Shrike nearly landed on my head , it did in fact land on my scope (only 3 feet from me!) at same spot , while I was hawkwatching....once again confirming hawkwatching is not exactly an aerobic vocation.

The true highlight was the Eastern Coyote, that was digging at the edge of the field:
A  handsome dog!

as it discovers my presence

retreating to cover

Later a Porcupine showed in the field!
waddling across the field at full "steam"

taking a brief pause before entering the woods.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Watatic "Weather Watch"

A little over 4 hours of hawkwatching on Mt Watatic brought just under 30 migrant raptors past the site. Leading the way was 16 Sharp-shins followed and a scattering of a single Cooper's, 2 Red-shoulders, 4 Red-tails, 3 Turkey Vultures and a few unidentified raptors. Raptors deemed not to migrating were a few Red-tails and 3 Bald Eagles.
Bald Eagles have become a little more "problematic"to determine if they are migrants or "locals". For example, today 2 immature s pasted the site apparently headed SW only to show up a bit later headed north, hence they were removed for the migrant list, but still a pleasure to observe.

Portions of the "powerline trial" had an impressive carpet of beech, birch and maple foliage, making for a near "red carpet" stroll to the watch site!

An attractive carpet of leaves blanketed the more level sections of the trail.
The day started with clear skies, however far to the west a cloud bank could be seen approaching. The temperature at home had dropped to about 20 F over night, and had only risen to ~30F just after 10AM, when I arrived on the east summit. That combined with a north west wind at 5-10 made for a little more than crisp fall day.
A near cloudless sky, Stodge Meadow Pond and Wachusett Mtn in this view to the south.

A low passing aircraft.

28 of a total of 90 south bound Canada Geese that passed.

1 of 2 Common Loons that passed on a south bound mission
The clouds rolled in just after noon and snow squalls could be seen approaching from the west.
Heavy cloud cover over Pack Monadock, they had a similar flight to Watatic(for this day), but they had a late day Golden Eagle!
Pack has had quite a season with over 18,500 migrant raptors for the autumn, including a Swainson's Hawk.

A snow Squall approaching Lower Naukeag Lake in Ashburnham

More snow passing and it looked like like "Pack" was getting some winter action.

A portion of this heavy squall eventually gave Watatic a wintery blast.

Another squall about to obscure the Boston Skyline.
Season totals for hawkwatch sites such as Mt. Watatic, Wachusett Mtn, Pack Monadnock....and most other watch sites can be found HERE.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Early to mid-October

Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers are still fairly common, in the hill towns of Worcester County, and there are certainly still likely numbers of Pine Warblers in the appropriate habitats. Many other warbler species have moved on but in the past few days I did see a Blackpoll Warbler in the yard and a few Common Yellowthroats in my local travels.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  "Myrtle" in Templeton, 1 of about 30 individuals.

Palm Warbler "Yellow" form in Gardner.

Common Yellowthroat in Gardner

A Hermit Thrush  in Winchendon

Many species of waterfowl have returned on their southbound migration and some joining the local Mallards and Canada Geese. It will not be long before Common Mergansers and Goldeneye will be wide spread. The American Wigeon, below, was a nice find on a small "puddle" of a pond in Templeton, it was consorting with Mallards and Wood Ducks.

A hen Am. Wigeon in Templeton

Bent's Pond, in South Gardner, is a good spot for waterfowl, herons and sometimes shorebirds (if the water is low). While I was waiting for a train to pass, the crossing in South Gardner, on the 13th I looked over the birds, but there was nothing of note except for few of Mallards. A few swam through the reflections of swamp and sugar maples (on the far shore) which created some nice images.
hen Mallard on the reflection of autumn colors off Bent's Pond

a drake Mallard stretched its wings with perfect timing on Bent's Pond.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A few September photos

A Least Flycatcher in Gardner in Mid-September

1 of 4 Prairie Warblers in Gardner  Mid-September

This American Pipit showed nicely on Mt. Watatic
The Red-tailed Hawk passed close by Mt. Watatic, and was carrying lunch "on board"

This close up Turkey Vulture was posed nicely, while I clicked away from the car.

A black Gray Squirrel at Gardner's Crystal Lake Cemetery. it appears to have a growth on the left side of its neck.