Thursday, March 4, 2010

MA - Merlin and RB Merg - 03/04

Kumlien's Gull - first-cycle. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 3rd, 2010.

Recent visits to Barton Cove in Turner's Fall/Gill have seen a few changes taking place perhaps hinting at some spring migration? Gull roost numbers have increased to over 1000 birds which may have some exciting potential, but the last two visits have been frustrated by Bald Eagle activity resulting in near constant flushing of the gulls. The few periods when gulls were actually present on the water or the ice, I did manage to pick out the regulars - 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 1-2 first-cycle Kumlien's Gulls. A second-cycle Glaucous Gull was present on 3rd and 4th, and a nice 2nd-cycle Kumlien's Gull appeared briefly on 4th as well. No major rarities so far this winter but it's encouraging to detect some fresh birds, perhaps on return migration. Tom Pirro had an excellent gull session here on Saturday February 27th, and you can view his blog entry here.

Also of note on the 4th, a nice male Red-breasted Merganser with Common and Hooded Mergansers, and about 8 Common Goldeneye. Plus terrific views of a female Merlin from the public boat ramp on the Gill side of Barton Cove.

Of note today, March 5th, a
Turkey Vulture over our apartment on North Whitney Street, Amherst - our first local bird of the year, plus a nice visual of a Barred Owl in the Wildwood Conservation area. Last week I saw the same Barred Owl in the same area with an Eastern Chipmunk in its bill, and I've had a few chipmunk sightings since that time. A real highlight today was a Fisher crossing Rt 63 in Montague as Matan and I headed North. It was Matan's first and only my second, my first being on the bike path in South Amherst about four years ago.

Red-breasted Merganser - adult male. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

Hooded Merganser - adult male. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

Glaucous Gull - 2nd-cycle. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

Merlin - female. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

Ring-billed Gull - adults in summer plumage. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.


Tony nile life said...

nice going through your blog. and seeing the birds in your area.

Russell Cannings said...

Hi James,

I'm the younger of the 2 crazy canucks that seemed to follow you all around Texas. I came across your name on surfbirds and that's how I found the blog-- great stuff! I'm doing one myself this year (for the first time) in an attempt to chronicle my "Big Year" in British Columbia. The goal is to get 365 before Dec 31. So far I'm at 218 and things are starting to heat up, you can follow my progress at: