Friday, November 13, 2015

Quabbin Gate 40 11/8

We had a perfect Sunday walk at Gate 40 on the 8th, more of a general "poke around" out and back walk to Dana Center then continuing to a large marsh. One high light was gathering some oyster mushrooms which Karin made into a great soup on Tuesday.
The pictorial highlights are below:

A toothed "shelf" fungi, not the oysters we took home.

There were several robins in this stand of winter berry

We saw a few wasp nests

A few autumn meadowhawks were seen flying about.

Karin investigates an old foundation.

Sumac by the road side

Another wasp nest that was torn open

The "round stone" foundation, in Dana Center, with some recent restoration work.

Karin viewing the old school house cellar hole.

Oriental Bittersweet doing what it does best, on a sapling.

This bittersweet vine was supporting the attack of a tall red pine

roots had apparently grown from the tree bark over the dead wood into the ground, for additional support I assume.

One of a few a drake Wood Ducks on the marsh.

A few Oak leaves were holding their color

Another colorful Oak leaf.

One of several Blue Jays near Dana Center
Another foundation with a nice place to "duck out" on a rainy day.

This skein of Canadas flew over, one had an all white head.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Forbush Bird Club Conn. River Valley Trip 11/1/2015

  Last Sunday's (11/1/2015) "Forbush" trip to Hadley/ North Hampton area of the Connecticut River Valley began at the Quabbin Headquarters, in Belchertown. The Quabbin waters were fairly quiet, with no signs of the Bonepart's Gulls and Long-tailed Ducks reported from the previous day. We did enjoy nice views of 3 Bald Eagles, 2 Common loons and 2 female mergansers that flew past. One of the mergs was a robust and more expected Common and the trailing bird was the smaller more slender Red-breasted.

 The first "valley" stop was along the levee at Hadley's Alexandra Dawson Conservation Area, where many common species were seen and heard. High lights were several hundred robins passing over the river and a fast moving Merlin.

The view down river from the Alexandra Dawson Conservation Area in Hadley
At Hadley's "Honey Pot" area, a agricultural field complex, several raptors showed nicely; including 3 or 4 Red-tailed Hawks, a male American Kestrel, 2 juvenile Northern Harriers and a Bald Eagle. Sparrows included many juncos, White-throated, Song,  a few American Tree and single Chipping and imm. White-crowned Sparrows. We also heard a Fish Crow or 2 near the old landfill/transfer station.
An adult Red-tailed Hawk at the Honey Pot, "I will eat the little people when they come onto the deck".

Bald Eagle at the Honey Pot

American Kestrel (male) at the Honey Pot

Looking down river  toward the bike path and rte 9  bridges with a portion of the Holyoke Range in the background.
 Next we moved across the river to the East Meadow's of North Hampton were a nice mixed flock of approximately 150 Horned Larks (80%) and Snow Bunting (20%) were seen. A late Pectoral Sandpiper was heard then seen as it quickly flew past, another (or perhaps one of the earlier) harrier showed nicely as it hunted low over the fields.
A colorful stand of oaks, and the Summit House, at Skinner State Park, several years back my son and I enjoyed an evening jazz concert from the Summit House.

1 of the 4 or 5 Northern Harriers (Juv.) seen throughout the day.

The Holyoke Range (7 sisters) from the East Meadows
 The final stop was Arcadia Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary, in East Hampton. While we did not have time to visit the West Meadows portion of the property, we did enjoy a nice flock of Cedar Waxwings and waterfowl. A pair of Cackling Geese had been reported from the previous week, and a good deal of time was spend studying the geese for these 2 miniature Canada type geese. Mixed with about 300 Canada Geese were , Wood Ducks, Mallards, Black Ducks,  Green-winged Teal and after ~45 minutes of diligent study the two prize "Cacklers" became evident.

A Northern Harrier passed over head at close range and on the walk out, an immature Red-tail was seen, from very close range, as it tore apart the remnants of a gray squirrel.

A few of many Cedar Waxwings at Arcadia Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary, in East Hampton. 

A pair of Cackling Geese (Richardson's type), Arcadia MAS, note the smaller size, lighter colored upper parts and stubby bills.

A pair of Cackling Geese (Richardson's type), Arcadia MAS

A pair of Cackling Geese (Richardson's type), Arcadia MAS

A pair of Cackling Geese (Richardson's type), Arcadia MAS
A Juvenile Northern Harrier heading toward the Arcadia observation blind. 

This fearless Red-tail put on a great show, note its bulging crop !

There didn't appear to be much left other than skin, bone and connective tissue!
Links to my ebird checks :

Quabbin HQ:

Alexandra Dawson Conservation Area:

The Honey Pot:

East Meadows:

Arcadia MAS: