Saturday, November 1, 2008

Black Scoter Day - Nov 1st

Dusk at Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park,

Black Scoter reports began cropping up on all of the New England listserves by mid-morning and into early afternoon. It sounded like a fall-out with large flocks being reported from many inland lakes and reservoirs but the weather could hardly have been better. It was mild and sunny for much of the day with only a gentle NW breeze after the passage of a weak cold front. Hardly conditions that you'd expect to bring down migrant waterfowl.

I couldn't resist an evening visit to Quabbin Park. As I arrived at Winsor Dam and the HQ building, I could see a 'cloud' of birds over the reservoir. A 'cloud' of birds isn't to be taken for granted at the Quabbin and as I settled down to enjoy them, my suspicions were confirmed - Black Scoters! Two flocks in fact, merging together whilst I was there, totaling 220 birds. Despite some very careful scanning over the next 50 minutes, Black was the only scoter species found. However, I did see 9 Mallard, 12 Green-winged Teal, 6 Lesser Scaup, 2 Greater Scaup (both fem/juv), and 3 Common Loons. Three Hooded Merganser also flew in over the road as I was leaving. A most productive evening hour at the Quabbin.

It will surely be interesting to see the full scale of the Black Scoter incursion over the next few days. Steve and Jane Mirick reported a single flock of 400 at Great Bay in South-eastern NH, the largest flock that I've heard about so far.

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