Wednesday, December 17, 2014

MA - more Kumlien's Gulls and a few lingering diving ducks

Numbers of gulls continue to build at Barton Cove/Turner's Falls and yesterday evening (12/16) I noted about 700, mostly large gulls, moving around between Barton Cove and the open water just above the Turner's Falls dam. For the most part the birds were distant but I did manage to pick out an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Kumlien's Iceland Gulls, both of them new for this month and one of them a fine adult, my first of the winter.

 Kumlien's Iceland Gull (center) - adult at dusk, Unity Park, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. December 16th, 2014.
Nice looking bird and my first adult of the winter.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (upper left) - adult , Unity Park, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. December 15th, 2014.

One drake Canvasback remained at Barton Cove, though I noted from an ebird reports that three were still present on the 13th. Down at the power canal, the waterfowl roost was very busy though extremely poor light made accurate counting difficult. Thankfully, the continuing drake Barrow's Goldeneye came in early and well ahead of the bulk of 100+ Common Goldeneye that eventually came into roost. With them, a nice pair of Bufflehead. Perhaps most surprising, a lingering Common Loon at the Turner's Falls Rod and Gun club, not especially expected on the CT River in December - will it/can it stick around for the Christmas bird count on December 28th?

Common Loon - juvenile, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. December 15th, 2014.

Barrow's Goldeneye (right) - male at dusk, Turner's Falls power canal, Franklin Co., MA. December 16th, 2014.
Horrible grainy record shot taken well after dusk. This was male was displaying to female Common Goldeneyes.

Northern Flicker - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. December 15th, 2014. So many flickers around at the moment.

This morning (12/17) I had a cruise around Hadley in between errands. The Long-eared Owl that gave such fine views on Sunday was present at its roost, though I wasn't over surprised to see that it had moved on. There was a nice juvenile Northern Harrier quartering the area, a bird which we didn't see on Sunday's count but otherwise the Honey Pot seemed exceedingly quiet. By contrast huge numbers of birds were feeding in the damp fields SW of Meadow Street and Russelville Roads - well over 1000 Canada Geese, 200 Ring-billed Gulls, 150 Horned Larks among other things. There was also a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the large yard right at the intersection of Russelville Road and Meadow Street.

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