Lesser Black-backed Gull (juvenile, third from right) - Turner's Falls power canal, Franklin Co., MA. November 16th, 2017.The last week has seen a mixed bag of falling temperatures, light snowfalls and occasionally blustery conditions. The high turnover birds experienced through the greater Turner's Falls area seems to have slowed right down with relatively few new birds arriving this week. However, the numbers and presence of large gulls has improved with up 65 Herring, 25 Great Black-backed, 2 - 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a single Iceland (adult) Gull showing up from the 15th, and up to 120 Ring-billed Gulls from the 19th.
Ring-billed Gulls - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. November 19th, 2017.
With the exception of Common Mergansers (up to 65 on the power canal) and Hooded Mergansers (up to 65 on Barton Cove) waterfowl numbers have remained consistently low with 14 Ring-necked Ducks on the 19th being the only stand-out moment. Otherwise a Common Loon, 3 Lesser Scaup, 2 Common Goldeneye remained at Barton Cove to the 21st, and a Pied-billed Grebe was present there on the 20th.
Ring-necked Ducks - over Barton Cove from Unity Park, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA . November 19th, 2017.
Bald Eagles have been present throughout and relatively active with five seen together at the Turner's Falls Rod and Gun club on the 19th, and a pair actively chasing the large gulls at Barton Cove also on the 19th. Similarly, Peregrines have been present in Gill, Northfield and Turner's Falls with two together sparring over the power canal on the 21st, and a juvenile hunting Hooded Mergansers also on the 21st. Eastern Screech-Owls surprised me twice with a nice red phase appearing at dusk at Turner's Falls on the 19th, and another calling from a new site (for me) at dawn on North Cross Road, Gill on the 20th. Also on the 20th, whilst on the way to the airport, I made a slight detour to look for a Snowy Owl being reported in Hadley and met with success though the bird looked totally out of place sat atop a heavily manicured evergreen hedgerow.
Eastern Screech-Owl - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. November 19th, 2017.
Snowy Owl - Hadley, Hampshire Co., MA. November 20th, 2017.
Bald Eagle - Unity Park, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA . November 19th, 2017.
Merlin - Gill Riverside, Franklin Co., MA. November 17th, 2017.
The most interesting passerines of the week concern a smattering of flyover Snow Buntings and Purple Finches at several locations in Gill and Northfield, and gradually increasing numbers of American Tree Sparrows with eight on North Cross Road, Gill on the 21st, just by way of an example. We also had two Fox Sparrows in our yard in Northfield on the 18th and Winter Wrens have been frequent and easy to hear calling at dawn along North Cross Road, Gill with three or four individuals present.
Dark-eyed Junco - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. November 21st, 2017.
American Tree Sparrow - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. November 21st, 2017.