Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MA - evening at Barton Cove 03/11

Perhaps the first genuinely spring-like day of the year with mild south-westerly winds and afternoon temperatures reaching 55 deg F/ 13 deg C. Barton Cove was busier than of late with a incursion of diving ducks, though again it's tough to say whether it is genuine migration or movements birds displaced by the prolonged wintery conditions Either way, I welcomed the increase and found 20+ Ring-necked Ducks, 25 Hooded Mergansers, 14 Greater and 3 Lesser Scaup and 4 Bufflehead. In the distance, 6 Turkey Vultures cruised by to the SW. By comparison, the power canal was rather quiet with 3 Ring-necked Ducks, 5 Hooded and a single Common Merganser. Overhead, 4 Turkey Vultures offered good views as they looked for a place to roost.

Turkey Vulture - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. March 11th, 2014.
Seen late in the evening probably looking for a place to roost. My first local TV of the year. 

By comparison, gull numbers were down on my last visit on March 6th when I recorded 900 large gulls of four species. This evening, no more than 400 large gulls were present though the numbers of Kumlien's (Iceland) Gulls remained relatively high with at least nine birds present. The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull continued, easy to pick out due to near absence of Great Black-backed Gulls in stark contrast to the 175 birds I recorded on March 6th. It looked like the bulk of Great Black-backed Gulls have already migrated towards breeding areas.

 Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult) and Kumlien's Iceland Gull (first-cycle) - Barton Cove, Gill, 
Franklin Co., MA. March 11th, 2014.

 Kumlien's Iceland Gulls (two first-cycle) - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. March 11th, 2014.

Kumlien's Iceland Gull (first-cycle) with American Herring Gull - Barton Cove, Gill, 
Franklin Co., MA. March 11th, 2014.

Overall, an interesting evening with the tempo of spring migration finally picking up.

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