Thursday, March 4, 2010

MA - Merlin and RB Merg - 03/04

Kumlien's Gull - first-cycle. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 3rd, 2010.

Recent visits to Barton Cove in Turner's Fall/Gill have seen a few changes taking place perhaps hinting at some spring migration? Gull roost numbers have increased to over 1000 birds which may have some exciting potential, but the last two visits have been frustrated by Bald Eagle activity resulting in near constant flushing of the gulls. The few periods when gulls were actually present on the water or the ice, I did manage to pick out the regulars - 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 1-2 first-cycle Kumlien's Gulls. A second-cycle Glaucous Gull was present on 3rd and 4th, and a nice 2nd-cycle Kumlien's Gull appeared briefly on 4th as well. No major rarities so far this winter but it's encouraging to detect some fresh birds, perhaps on return migration. Tom Pirro had an excellent gull session here on Saturday February 27th, and you can view his blog entry here.

Also of note on the 4th, a nice male Red-breasted Merganser with Common and Hooded Mergansers, and about 8 Common Goldeneye. Plus terrific views of a female Merlin from the public boat ramp on the Gill side of Barton Cove.

Of note today, March 5th, a
Turkey Vulture over our apartment on North Whitney Street, Amherst - our first local bird of the year, plus a nice visual of a Barred Owl in the Wildwood Conservation area. Last week I saw the same Barred Owl in the same area with an Eastern Chipmunk in its bill, and I've had a few chipmunk sightings since that time. A real highlight today was a Fisher crossing Rt 63 in Montague as Matan and I headed North. It was Matan's first and only my second, my first being on the bike path in South Amherst about four years ago.

Red-breasted Merganser - adult male. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

Hooded Merganser - adult male. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

Glaucous Gull - 2nd-cycle. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

Merlin - female. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

Ring-billed Gull - adults in summer plumage. Barton Cove, Franklin Co., MA, March 4th, 2010.

FL - Sunshine birds - Part III - La Sagra's Flycatcher 02/16

La Sagra's Flycatcher - Bill Baggs/Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Miami-Dade Co., February 16th, 2010.

Of all the birds encountered during our two week tour of Central and Southern Florida with Birdfinders, it's perhaps the La Sagra's Flycatcher that stands out as being the most memorable. Far from being easy, we needed to return to Bill Baggs/Cape Florida State Park three times before finally catching up with this beauty. Was it worth it? Most certainly yes! All of these images were taken during 0954-1000hrs on February 16th, 2010 using a Swarovski HD telescope and a Canon Powershot A590 digital camera.