Apologies for letting my blog posts slip lately. The first two weeks of December provided a few decent birds locally as well as the first real taste of winter, enough to freeze most of Barton Cove on December 13th. Random sightings summarized below;
Dec 1st: Barred Owl at dawn apparently hunting, Redgate Lane, Amherst.
Dec 2nd: Northern Harriers at North Maple Street and South Maple Street, Hadley. 35 American Pipits in corn stubble field, South Hadley.
Dec 3rd: Amherst College Trails; Barred Owl (2), Northern Flicker (1), Winter Wren (2), Hermit Thrush (1).
Dec 4th: Winter Wren, North Whitney Street, Amherst.
Dec 5th: Snow Bunting over North Whitney Street, Amherst. Eastern Screech Owls; 1 base of Skinner SP, Hadley, 1 (Gray phase), South-east Street, Amherst.
Dec 6th: Barred Owl, Mountain Road, Hatfield.
Dec 7th: Kumlien's Gull (1st cycle), Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult), Turner's Falls.
Dec 10th: Red-breasted Merganser 2, Barton Cove, Gill. Kumlien's Gull 3 (1st cycle), Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult), Turner's Falls/ Barton Cove.
Dec 13th: Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult), Barton Cove, Gill. Quabbin Gate 8; Sharp-shinned Hawk seen catching, killing and eating Blue Jay, Hairy Woodpecker (4), Downy Woodpecker (3), Dark-eyed Junco (130), White-throated Sparrow (60), Golden-crowned Kinglet (6).
Dec 14th: Snow Goose (adult), Mill Valley Road, Hadley/Amherst town line with 120 Canada Geese. c. 100 Horned Larks in the same field. Great Horned Owl calling at dusk off North-east Street, Amherst.
Dec 15th: Pileated Woodpecker over Amherst town center, heading North. Also, 2 Pileated Woodpeckers regularly in Wildwood Cemetary, Amherst throughout.
Also, pair of Great Horned Owls regularly at dawn along North-east Street, Amherst throughout the period.
Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. First real ice of the winter on a gloomy Sunday afternoon. The specks at the edge of the ice are roosting gulls.
Lesser Black-backed Gull (right) - Adult/near adult, Barton Cove, Franklin Co, MA. December 13th, 2009.Ring-billed Gulls. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA. December 13th, 2009. Note the tiny, short-legged bird in the center.