Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New arrivals - Geese and finches Oct 8th

More than a hint of change in the air today. After a very chilly start with a sharp frost, the day turned gloriously warm and sunny, perhaps one of the last genuinely warm afternoons of the year? Didn't bird at all this morning but obvious and striking new arrivals along North Whitney Street in Amherst included over 10 Purple Finches and a single flock of 12 Pine Siskins! About 5 Blue-headed Vireos could be heard singing as well.

In the afternoon I had a drive up to Turner's Falls to check the goose situation and was pleased with the result. About 1,000 newly arrived Canada Geese were resting on the power canal. Despite a thorough search I couldn't detect any Cackling Geese in this group, with the flock being composed entirely of the expected forms B.c. canadensis and B.c. interior. As usual, the variation in body size, color and bill shape of these geese was pretty bewildering! One stood out as being a possible example of B. c. maxima.

Finishing off at Barton Cove produced two each of Lesser Scaup and White-crowned Sparrow.

Canada Goose raft - Turner's Falls.

Canada Geese - showing characteristics of B.c. interior.

Canada Goose - possible B.c. maxima. Large bird just left of center with the extensive white cheek and white spot on the forehead. Surrounded mostly by B.c. canadensis.

White-crowned Sparrow - first-winter, Barton Cove. An adult was present with this bird.


PS. A brief stop at Mt. Warner road in Hadley produced a Northern Harrier and 6 Eastern Meadowlarks.

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