Purple Finch - male, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. December 16th, 2015. Photographed before sunrise.
Common Goldeneyes - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. December 15th, 2015.
A small portion of the considerable roost that gathers on the power canal most evenings.
At Turner's Falls, the Goldeneye roost has been typically unpredictable but some evenings have produced up to 75 birds and included a female Barrow's Goldeneye on the 13th. The Lesser Scaup also continues at the power canal but two Greater Scaup above the dam at Unity Park were new on the 15th.
Lesser Black-backed Gull - adult, Turner's Falls power canal Franklin Co., MA. December 15th, 2015.
The left-most bird in both images above.
Northern Harrier - juvenile, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. December 10th, 2015.
Swamp Sparrow - Gill, Franklin Co., MA. December 10th, 2015.
Notable December birds for Gill last week included a juvenile Northern Harrier and a Swamp Sparrow on Ben Hale Road, both on the 10th. The latter is usually very difficult to find in the winter months in our area.
'Cackling-like' Geese (3) - Turner's Falls power canal, Franklin Co., MA. December 15th, 2015. Three newly arrived birds with the gray cast and broad pale fringes to the upperparts often associated with the expected form of Cackling Goose in our area - B.c. hutchinsii. But I wonder if the bill length of these birds might eliminate Cackling Goose and point towards something else? They were still present on the 16th.
*Three more confusing white-cheeked geese arrived at Turner's Falls on the 15th. These birds initially looked so distinctive that I was able to pick them out easily with the naked-eye. They showed several pro-hutchinsii features but on closer inspection I was put off by the bill length which just didn't look stubby enough for a typical Cackling Goose. For the time being, I'm just going to leave them as 'Cackling-like' Geese but I can't help but wonder if B.c. parvipes (Lesser Canada Goose) should be seriously considered for this group? I also recalled David Sibley's excellent blog post on "Cackling-ish Geese" from December 2014;