Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MA - Shoveler and other Gill notes - 10/22

A Northern Harrier flew south low over our house on Main Road, Gill, just before a major band of rain set in for the afternoon on Oct 22nd. About our sixth record overall, fitting nicely within a pattern of other mid-October occurrences. The yard continues to 'heave' with Yellow-rumped Warblers and White-throated Sparrows but overall diversity amongst other species seems to be dwindling. Even so, the weekend yielded Blue-headed Vireos on the 19th and 20th and a singing Purple Finch also the 20th. A major incursion of Dark-eyed Juncos and, to a lesser extent Chipping Sparrows, also took place over the weekend, not so much in our yard but very apparent along the roadsides in Gill.

Yesterday (10/21), waterfowl were again of interest at Barton Cove this time highlighted by a Northern Shoveler, seemingly quite a scarce/rare migrant through the Pioneer Valley in fall. Also present, a nice drake Wood Duck, 3 Green-winged Teal, 6 Ring-necked Duck and a very high count of exactly 50 Mute Swans.

Northern Shoveler - female/first-winter, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA.
October 21st, 2013. Digiscoped using Canon Powershot G10.
The Swamp Sparrows in our yard seem to be dispersing from the solid numbers present (up to 15) in the second and third weeks of October. They've been easy enough to see but the 'devil' to photograph. Finally, one teed up on Saturday long enough for me to take an image.

Swamp Sparrow - Gill yard, Franklin Co., MA.
October 19th, 2013. Canon Powershot G10.

And a belated note for the 17th - I was really surprised to see a Savannah Sparrow at the edge of the yard which, though distant, perched up long enough for an image to be taken. We've had Savannah's Sparrows close by before, but this may have been our first actually within the yard itself.

Savannah Sparrow - Gill yard, Franklin Co., MA.
October 21st, 2013. Digiscoped using Canon Powershot G10.

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