Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hawkwatching Barre Falls Saturday

Did some birding again at Barre Falls today. The picture above is of a Dark-eyed Junco taken near the restrooms. The whole area was filled with various sparrows including Chipping, White Throated and I swear I heard a White-Crowned Sparrow so I ventured to some brush right near the picnic tables to see if I could spot it. Sure enough they all took off as I thought for one split second of trying to re-locate until I heard my first gunshot of the day and common sense took over. I decided to head back to the parking lot where I would be safe from hunters using their riffles for the 1st time this year. ;-)
Over near the parking lot came a low flying bird and accipiter was the first thing that crossed my mind. Put my binoculars on the bird and to my dismay they were all fogged up due to the cold (common theme lately). Frustrated I reached for my camera and zoomed into what I thought at that point was a Cooper's Hawk until it turned around and I could see it was a Northern Goshawk. I travelled along the paved road by foot trying to tail it for better shots until a well meaning hunter stopped his car, rolled down his window and suggested I buy an orange hat! My sign to stay clear of the roads today as well and remain only in the parking lot.
Another shot of the Goshawk going away. This Northern Goshawk lives around the area and was not migrating, just looking for breakfast I suppose.
Soon enough Bart and Dave arrived and some of the first camera photo worthy migrating birds of the day were Sharp-shinned Hawks and American Kestrels including the one above who decided to stop at the nest box to search for Grasshoppers.
It perched for a while and ventured South just like all of the others did.
The Common Ravens decided the wind was just too temping for them and they took to the skies as well. We also thousands of American Crows go by all day which made things confusing for a while. Every time I hawkwatch there is a new bird to contend with in the skies!
The Turkey Vultures were out in full force today as well. Most were travelling in small groups but we got one toward the end of the day w/ approximately 14 in a kettle all travelling south. So cool to see that as they were very high up in the sky. I see a kettle of TV's every night going home from work but they are visible with just your eyes. You couldn't see these ones unless you had your binoculars and even that was tough.
A few stray Northern Harriers continue to migrate past Barre Falls including the one above that could be seen with your eye. Glad I got another one of my famous lousy "dot" photos as it shows off the shape more than it does the color which are the pictures I am looking to get because they are good for study.
Not a fantastic American Kestrel (above) or Sharp-shinned Hawk day but we certainly did get a fair share. They were really fast movers today as they wind was in their favor so they didn't have to work as hard.
Toward the end of the day it was time for the "big boys" to come out and play including the Red-tailed hawk above who was migrating south. One interesting note was that we saw our first kettle of Red-tailed Hawks this late afternoon (I believe 5 in total). This is a totally different experience for me as I had never seen it before. Sure I have seen Red-tailed pairs up in the sky doing their courting rituals and even Red-tailed Hawks with their young, but these kettles were high up in the air. It was clear they were Red-tailed Hawks but those lazy circles I am so used to seeing were not as evident this afternoon.

There were also two Red-shouldered Hawks migrating together and it was great to get them on my Central Massachusetts list.

We also had 3 Bald Eagles go by earlier in the day and at one point two appeared to be going after each other which was something I had never seen before, but the eagle highlight of the day was in the late afternoon. It was during the same time we had a Red-tailed Hawk and the two Red-Shouldered Hawks in the same area. I tried to re-locate the RS Hawks again to observe them more when suddenly I could see a bird that looked to be big like a very large Red tailed, but more longer winged like a Red-shouldered. Lighting was terrible so I couldn't get any colors on the bird so tried to explain its location to both Bart and Dave as they are the experts.. Anyhow, they finally locate it and guess what it was.................Why a GOLDEN EAGLE of course!! So cool to see this bird and study it some...We caught it as it was well on its way South so there was no way I could get my camera on it, but maybe this Halloween as they always seem to do a "fly-by" over Barre Falls that day. The weather and the wind were downright frigid today but that one Golden Eagle made up for it.

No hawkwatching tomorrow but will be looking for ducks and other waterfowl. Yes, we are supposed to get rain, snow and cold but that's what winter and rain proof clothing is for. I have the itch to get out there and have discovered my new favorite bird for the month of October which is the Ruddy Duck. MUST get a photo even if I need an umbrella to get it!

Take care all!


Larry Jordan said...

Congratulations on your Golden Eagle Kim! It looks like Barre Falls is a great birding site with plenty of raptors to watch.

I love those Northern Goshawks. Don't get to see much of them in Northern California.

Chris Petrak said...

When the red-tails and TV go south, we know winter is not far behind!

matthew houskeeper said...

The forecast is calling for a return to 60 degree temps this week.


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