Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January - exceptionally good birds relatively close to home

Varied Thrush - male, Wesport Village, Cheshire Co., NH. January 31st, 2017. 
Long staying bird first found in late December 2016. 

No question about it, the banner bird for the month was the New York State Ross's Gull. As so often happens, the first month of the year was excellent for birding in the 'greater' New England area and January 2017 was no exception. Altough I was desk-bound and couldn't spend a lot of time in the field this month, the birding trips that I had were both productive and enjoyable. Even the last day of the month rustled up fine but brief views of the long staying Varied Thrush in Westport Village, New Hampshire, just twenty minutes up the road from my home in Northfield.

 Varied Thrush - male, Wesport Village, Cheshire Co., NH. January 31st, 2017. 

Ross's Gull - first-cycle, Tupper Lake, Franklin Co., NY. January 29th, 2017.

At Turner's Falls, gulls numbers and the presence of pale-winged gulls fluctuated throughout the month but usually 1- 4 Kumlien's Iceland Gulls joined the gull roost along along with a first-cycle Glaucous Gull on Jan 7th. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull continued being pretty consistently present in the gull roost on most evenings and was joined by a first-cycle bird on Jan 31st.

Glaucous Gull - first-cycle, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. January 7th, 2017. 

Less than usual waterfowl at Turner's Falls included the continued presence of male Greater Scaup and Ring-necked Duck, and a female Bufflehead (with Common Goldneyes) throughout the month, plus a rather smart Cackling Goose loafing around with Canada Geese at Unity Park towards the end of the month. At least two Belted Kingfishers also remained in the area throughout January.

Cackling Goose - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. January 30th, 2017. 

In Gill, well it's been fairly quiet though in truth I didn't actively bird the area too much in January, but I did continue to see Barred Owls throughout the month. There was also a Peregrine off Munn's Ferry Road on the 25th, and a Snow Bunting over North Cross Road on the 15th, the latter two being slightly unusual in rural Gill.

Barred Owl - Gill, Franklin Co., MA. January 2nd, 2017.  

Barred Owl - Gill, Franklin Co., MA. January 14th, 2017.  

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