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Hotline to Turners Falls

Turners Falls

February 7, 2016

Steve Svec

It was 2:30 when the group met at the Northampton commuter lot.  Five cars and 14 people drove to Turners Falls, finding many roadside Redtails along the way and an early Turkey Vulture circling over Deerfield.  Even before we set up our scopes at the Unity Park, someone drove in, coming from the larger parking lot a little upstream.  He told us that this group was looking at the hotline bird in a big flock of gulls standing on the ice at the edge of Barton Cove.  We loaded our gear and drove there quickly finding the Yellow-legged Gull with some help from Bob Stymeist and Geoff LeBaron.  It was slightly larger than the many Herring Gulls, sporting a clean white head, a large red spot on its bill, the darker wings, and the yellow legs.  A little more scoping also gave us looks at a Lesser Black-backed Gull and 2 American Wigeon.  Bald Eagles were coasting around and spooked the gulls twice, first down to another patch of ice near dam and then later back to the cove ice.  In the meantime we spotted 2 Goldeneye, a male Green-winged Teal, a female Lesser Scaup, a Ring-necked Duck, and 2 male Bufflehead.  A walk along the power canal produced 3 Goldeneye and 2 Common Merganser.   After so much success, being too late to see the Short-eared Owls in the Arcadia Meadows of Northampton was only a minor disappointment.