Monday, October 29, 2012

MA - Sandy - 10/29

Tried a couple of short local outings today, hopeful that Hurricane Sandy may drift a waif or two to Gill and/or the surroundings. No obvious signs of anything particularly storm-driven, but the morning outing was especially productive with an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull in a huge field east of Main and Munn's Ferry Roads in Gill. At the time it was the only large gull present along with a tiny handful of Ring-billed Gulls. A return visit in late afternoon produced half a dozen Herring Gulls, but no sign of the Lesser Black-backed. The same field also held up to 1000 Canada Geese, sorting through them being frustrated by distance and the many undulations within the field. I didn't find anything other than Canada Geese there, but a late morning visit to the power canal produced a sharp, crisply marked Cackling Goose, perhaps yet another individual for this month or maybe just continuing bird first seen on October 10th. Distance, lighting and posture differences are making me increasingly wary of trying sort out individual birds, but I remain happy that we've had at least three individuals on the power canal this month. The power canal also held 13 Buffleheads and 2 Pied-billed Grebes.

Closer to home, and for the third straight day, a flock of White-winged Crossbills passed over Main Road, Gill early in the morning, but I've yet to pin down where they might be feeding. All day long, American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins hit the feeders. A dull, immature White-crowned Sparrow showed up with the White-throated Sparrows at the end of the day, our first in the yard this fall.

So, regarding Hurricane Sandy, we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Images from October 29th, 2012 taken using a Panasonic Lumix FZ7;

Buffeheads - nice group of 13 individuals. My first of the fall, though Josh Rose had some at the same location whilst leading a Hampshire Bird Club trip on October 27th. Turner's Falls power canal, Franklin Co., MA. October 29th, 2012.

Cackling Goose (B. h. hutchinsii) - On reflection, most likely the individual first found on October 10th: A smart, crisp, rather pale individual relatively easy to pick out from the surrounding Canada Geese. Turner's Falls power canal, Franklin Co., MA. October 29th, 2012.

Lesser Black-backed Gull - adult/near adult, Munns Ferry Road, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. October 29th, 2012. This bird surprised me. It was the only large gull present in this field with a mere half-dozen Ring-billed Gulls foraging in the same area. One of my earliest in the Pioneer Valley and my first in Gill away from Barton Cove.

Pine Siskin - Gill yard, Franklin Co., MA. October 29th, 2012.

White-crowned Sparrow - first-winter, Gill yard, Franklin Co., MA. A nice early evening surprise and our first of the fall.  October 29th, 2012.

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