At the Quabbin Tower we had fours TVs put up. They must have been roosting right near the tower since they literally flew up from the ground. These two kept together the whole time and I'm thinking they could be a mated pair.
And even though it reminds me of winter, we did have a couple of Juncos as well. Although I've come to really like these guys on their breeding ground out in the Berkshires.
On our way down we stopped at the orchard to see if there were any birds hanging out in there. As soon as we got to the orchard we came across two White-tailed Deer....they were very used to humans. They didn't run away and actually looked at us like we might have some food for them -- which we did NOT.
While I took the photo of Mark above with my regular Canon camera, I couldn't manage that when the chickadee flew into my hand....using my I-phone I took my first chickadee "selfie".
After leaving Quabbin we followed the Swift River south towards Palmer and stopped at various points to check the river. At one of the stops along Bondsville Road we found our first Brown Thrasher of the year. He was going through his entire repertoire for our benefit, since there wasn't another bird around.
In Monson we walked in one of the trails at the end of East Hill Rd. below Conant Brook Reservoir. We had a number of dragonflies in this area last year, so we were hoping to find an early spring ode here. While we dipped on that, we did have some nice looks at Rufous-sided Towehee and Pine Warblers all the way down the trail.
And we had a fair number of Mourning Cloaks. From the side this guys looked like he was in great shape....
...but we she opened her wings, it was clear that someone had taken a chunk out of her hindwing.
We did have our first grasshopper when we got to the marshy area at the bottom, and when we got home we were able to identify it with the help of Tom Murray's wonderful book Insects of New England & New York. Turns out that this is an Awl-shaped Pygmy Grasshopper. It's found in damp sandy areas around marshes...which is exactly where we were. Adults appear early in the spring and can be found every month until a hard frost!
We visited some great areas, hiked some great trails and saw some wonderful early spring migrants and butterflies....so not a bad day. But the search continues for my first dragonfly sighting of 2014.