Monday, April 13, 2015

MA - floodgates opening

Red-shouldered Hawk - displaying, Barney Hale Road, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 13th, 2015.

This morning I headed for Barton Cove with the specific intention of watching for the visual migration of soaring birds. I had a taste of migration yesterday at Hinsdale Bluffs in New Hampshire and with the winds still in the southern quarter, I thought my chances of seeing a few raptors moving over Gill would be good. My start was a late one as I had to take Matan to a dental appointment but I got settled in at the boat ramp by 10am and watched for raptors lifting up over the trees to the south of Barton Cove. The first bird I had was a Red-shouldered Hawk, a good start, and from then on, a steady stream of single migrant raptors passed over the cove on a fairly broad front. Over the next 75 minutes I tallied;

15 Broad-winged Hawk - all adults, FOY. Mostly singles but one 'kettle' of three.
6 Osprey
5 Red-shouldered Hawk
3 Sharp-shinned Hawk
1 Cooper's Hawk
1 Merlin - possibly local.
1 Peregrine - possibly local
5 Turkey Vulture - local
1 Bald Eagle - local
6 Red-tailed Hawk - local

Also involved, 5 Double-crested Cormorants and a 'heard-only' Sandhill Crane. The latter was calling high above the boat ramp but frustration set in as I scanned the clear blue skies without success. I'm not surprised by this. I've had similar experiences with heard-only Common Cranes migrating above the desert in southern Israel with the birds clearly audible but almost impossible to find in a cloudless sky. The Sandhill Crane was heard passing overhead at about 10;40hrs.

 Broad-winged Hawk - heavy crop of distant adult, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 13th, 2015. 
A total of 17 for the day, with 15 over Barton Cove in the morning and two singles over Gill later in the day. 

 Common Loon - adult breeding, Hinsdale Bluffs, Cheshire Co., NH. April 12th, 2015. 
High flying adult, southbound.

 Double-crested Cormorants - five heading north, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 13th, 2015. 

 scaup sp., - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 13th, 2015. 
Initially thought to be Greater but wing pattern, seen briefly, more suggestive of Lesser.

 Red-breasted Mergansers - adult males, Hinsdale Bluffs, Cheshire Co., NH. April 12th, 2015. 
A bumper day for these at Hinsdale with Hector Galbraith recording an additional six birds. 

Common Goldeneye - immature male, Hinsdale Bluffs, Cheshire Co., NH. April 12th, 2015. 

The boat ramp area also produced three singing Pine Warblers, a drumming sapsucker, a singing Common Yellowthroat, a Savannah Sparrow and an intriguing scaup which I initially logged as a Greater Scaup but decided to leave it unidentified.

Earlier in the morning, I stopped on Barney Hale Road, Gill to watch a displaying Red-shouldered Hawk and heard my first singing Winter Wren and Hermit Thrush in the process.

After a lack-luster tail end to last week the pulse of visual migration this morning was immediate and obvious. And with winds in the southern quarter all day and forecast to go into tomorrow I think we can expect a rush of new year birds, and perhaps one or two rarities!!

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