Gray Jay - Gate 41, East Quabbin, Worcester Co., MA. November 7th, 2014.
Nowadays I tend to be quite conservative about the birds I chase around Massachusetts, but when Mark Lynch and Sheila Carroll found a Gray Jay in the Quabbin watershed on November 4th I became increasingly interested. Moreover, they found the bird at a gate I'd never explored before. Despite spending tens of field hours at Gate 40, I'm ashamed to say that I'd never even looked at Gate 41 just a few miles south on Rt 32A. The last twitchable Gray Jay in the state was found by Marshall Iliff way back in 2007 so this seemed like a fine opportunity to see a state bird and explore a new gate on the eastern side of the Quabbin. I arrived at 10:20 hours and was surprised to find just two birders at the beaver pond where most of the previous sightings had taken place. After a quick chat, I decided to wander a bit and had a look at the larger pond to the west. No sooner had I arrived at the pondside, a lone jay flew high across the water and beyond some tall white pines. I snapped a few in-flight shots and could see through the camera's viewfinder that it was the Gray Jay! It was all over in seconds and I went back to the 'stake out' pond to share the news with the birders waiting there. By 11:15hrs, it hadn't reappeared and I decided to head back to Gill.
Gracious thanks to Mark and Sheila for the find and for giving such excellent directions as they do with all their bird finds. We're fortunate indeed to have birders working the area with such unparalleled knowledge of the Quabbin. I've always found it a really tough area to bird but Mark and Sheila make it look easy. Kudos to them!
Nice place....and the site of my first Gray Jay in Massachusetts.