The second trip to Berkshire Lakes had 5 cars and nine people ready to go despite a strong, cold northwest wind. We started at the north end of Cheshire Lake, where some birds were too distant, but we did get 3 Hooded and 3 Common Mergansers plus a Kingfisher. The south end had sheets of thin ice, but we still got 3 Pied-billed Grebe and a low-flying immature Bald Eagle. A Common Loon was close to us at Pontoosuc from Matt Reilly’s pub. There was an expected flock of 60 Common and 15 Hooded Mergansers there, plus two more Bald Eagles, one an adult that landed and loitered in a treetop. The Bull Hill causeway was mostly iced, but a few more mergansers were at the far edge in some open water. There were land birds and some warm rest and relief at Ann’s house, but no Fox Sparrow. We continued south along Pontoosuc’s west shore to the end of road, where we found 12 Pied-billed Grebes, six of them in an unusual mid-lake flock.
The Onota south causeway had 6 Green-winged Teal at the edge of the ice covering the lagoon, as well as two Great Blue Herons and 3 Hooded Mergansers. From the park at central Onota we picked out a Red-necked Grebe, a Common Loon, and Hooded Mergansers with the geese huddled on the far side. The gulls were every-where. At the south end we spotted a Red-throated Loon and a raft of 14 Black Scoters, mostly male. Richmond Pond was open and well stocked with birds, including 28 Coot, 7 Common Goldeneye, a Horned Grebe, and 5 Hooded Mergansers plus an array of Black Ducks, Mallards and geese. We finished the trip with donuts at Bartlett’s, though one car then went to Mud Pond, where the rafts of Ring-necked Ducks numbered about 800 birds.