Sunday, July 26, 2009


Managed a short walk before being driven back to the car by the deer flies, etc. Some interesting birds along the Belchertown Land Trust trail included a Field Sparrow carrying nest material and a several begging juveniles of various species.

Back at the house a pair of Broad winged Hawks flying low and calling provided great looks on this humid warm day.

Prescott Peninsula Breeding Bird Atlas Saturday

I spent a few hours saturday morning in Prescott surveying for the breeding bird atlas. I went less than half way down the Peninsula and concentrated most of my time in one block. Yet again some great stuff to be seen. I tracked down a group of three Evening Grosbeaks which were feeding in a large group of pines. The odd thing with this group is that it included a juvenile Rose Breasted Grosbeak which appeared to be following them around from tree to tree. The Rose Breasted seemed to be begging from one of the adult male Evening Grosbeaks but the Evening Grosbeak wanted nothing to do with him. It was strange behavior indeed. I also heard and then briefly saw two Red Crossbills. The lighting was bad and the fog didn't help. I was unable to determine age, etc of the birds. These were a few miles north of were I had a female feeding juveniles earlier this season. I also found groups of warblers that appeared to be forming into mix species feeding groups. Some truly fabulous looks at the various species of various ages. Again many juvenile birds were around including great looks at a Broad winged Hawk. The amount of song continues to drop off but a few birds still continue. Also had a Red Tailed Hawk perched in a small apple tree which took off as I approached and I managed a quick shot as it flew off.


Wood Duck 4 one female, three ducklings
Mallard 1
Hooded Merganser 8
Great Blue Heron 2
Broad-winged Hawk 1 juvenile
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 11
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Belted Kingfisher 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 3
Downy Woodpecker 5
Northern Flicker 5 feeding young
Eastern Wood-Pewee 4 one juvenile
Alder Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 2
Eastern Phoebe 7
Eastern Kingbird 7
Blue-headed Vireo 8
Warbling Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 48 a few juveniles
Blue Jay 11
American Crow 5
Tree Swallow 155
Black-capped Chickadee 20
Tufted Titmouse 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 7
White-breasted Nuthatch 8
Brown Creeper 4
House Wren 5 three juveniles
Golden-crowned Kinglet 4
Veery 4
Hermit Thrush 7 all singing
Wood Thrush 6
American Robin 39
Gray Catbird 34
Cedar Waxwing 34
Nashville Warbler 1 juvenile
Yellow Warbler 2 feeding young
Chestnut-sided Warbler 12 several juveniles
Magnolia Warbler 9
Black-throated Blue Warbler 9 three juveniles
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 9 a few juveniles
Blackburnian Warbler 3 feeding young
Pine Warbler 9 feeding young
Black-and-white Warbler 5
American Redstart 5
Ovenbird 4 one juvenile, one bird still calling
Common Yellowthroat 41
Scarlet Tanager 6
Eastern Towhee 41
Chipping Sparrow 9
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 11
Swamp Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 2 feeding young
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3 one juvenile bird following group of evening grosbeaks.
Indigo Bunting 7 all males calling
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Common Grackle 2
Baltimore Oriole 1
Purple Finch 2
Red Crossbill 2 calling, seen in flight, lighting too bad to see if there was a juvenile
American Goldfinch 9
Evening Grosbeak 4 one single and a group of three togetherThis report was generated

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quabbin Park and Loon survey north Quabbin

I finally got a nice day off to spend out looking for some good stuff. Good stuff was certainly out there to be found. Although the bird song has dropped off quite a bit there are still some vocal birds out there and alot of birds to be found with a little looking. A nice traveling group of a dozen Baltimore Orioles together at Quabbin park was nice as were the several juvenile warblers of a few species feeding with them. Although I only spent a short time at Quabbin Park it was nice to get back in there.

The highlights of the day spent with a DCR biologist surveying for loons included a total of 13 adult loons and three chicks as well as an adult still on an active nest. Also had two large groups of Common Merganser ducklings with a total of 33 little guys (and girls). Another great bird for the day was a Merlin that shot past us being pursued by Eastern Kingbirds. The Merlin took a swipe at something on a sandbar and then continued south. An early migrant? Another possible breeder in the area? Who knows?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Breeding Bird Atlas- Prescott

Spent four hours this morning birding the Prescott again for the breeding bird atlas. Nothing too unusual around today but still some nice birds. Managed to confirm a few more species. The most interesting sighting was of a Chimney Swift around a beaver pond miles away from any chimneys. I have had Chimney Swifts in this area for the last three years of the breeding bird atlas. As there are no chimneys for several miles in any directions I assume if they are breeding here they are using an old tree. I have looked briefly but have not had any luck. This is far from surprising given the vast area and the lack of easy access to much of it. Hopefully I will have some luck in the future. As far as non bird observations the number and variety of butterflies continues to increase and the number of bats roosting in their usual spot continues to decrease. In years past there would be dozens now its usually only a handful. Only three seen today.
I also hiked about a mile in gate 15 to try to find an Acadian Flycatcher. No luck on finding one but the area is in the midst of logging so they may not be nesting in their usual spot this year due to all the noise and activity.
In sad news some predator knocked down a bird house at the house containing the nest of a House Wren. Hopefully the wrens will try again.
Morning list.
Wood Duck 1
Hooded Merganser 6 three adults, three juveniles
Ruffed Grouse 1 adult
Wild Turkey 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 7
Chimney Swift 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3
Belted Kingfisher 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 20 several juveniles
Downy Woodpecker 7
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 4
Eastern Wood-Pewee 4
Alder Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 12
Empidonax sp. 1
Eastern Phoebe 3
Eastern Kingbird 6
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 7
Red-eyed Vireo 57
Blue Jay 12
American Crow 4
Tree Swallow 183
Black-capped Chickadee 16
Red-breasted Nuthatch 12 a few juvenilesWhite-breasted Nuthatch 6
Brown Creeper 3
Winter Wren 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 15 including one group of nine together...a mix of adults and juveniles
Veery 34 several juveniles
Hermit Thrush 2
Wood Thrush 9
American Robin 35
Gray Catbird 51
European Starling 1
Cedar Waxwing 33
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 7
Chestnut-sided Warbler 46
Magnolia Warbler 13 female carrying food
Black-throated Blue Warbler 9
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Black-throated Green Warbler 13
Blackburnian Warbler 9
Pine Warbler 17
Prairie Warbler 2
Black-and-white Warbler 2
American Redstart 18
Ovenbird 11
Common Yellowthroat 110
Canada Warbler 1 female near nest
Scarlet Tanager 6
Eastern Towhee 49
Chipping Sparrow 27
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 13
Swamp Sparrow 3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5
Indigo Bunting 5
Red-winged Blackbird 8
Common Grackle 8
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Baltimore Oriole 3
Purple Finch 3
American Goldfinch 14

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Merlins and Orchard Orioles

I made a quick stop at a couple locations in Northampton this morning before work to try and catch up with a few birds I had heard about. My first stop was the community gardens in Northampton were I found three Orchard Orioles (one adult female and two juveniles). In addition I had a few Baltimore Orioles, a Scarlet Tanager, Rose Breasted Grosbeak and other species all feeding in the few mulberry trees located in the gardens. Some very nice looks at this birds as they fed on the fruit. In addition there were alot of recently fledged birds around the gardens including mockingbird, house wren, and eastern bluebird

I next stopped briefly at the Merlin nest in Florence and was rewarded with quick looks at young in the nest and the appearance of one of the adults. Not the best looks at the nest but it is over 80 feet in a pine and quite hidden. Only the second nesting record in the state and in an unexpected location in a suburban neighborhood.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another Red Crossbill at Quabbin

During a morning trip through three atlas blocks on prescott peninsula another Red Crossbill was found. This bird was first heard and then seen briefly as it flew by. This bird was a few miles away from where I had a female feeding two juveniles last month. Another neat record for Quabbin. Today almost had a winter birding feel with species such as the crossbill, Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, Golden crowned Kinglet, Red Breasted Nuthatch and Winter Wren. These, along with a couple Pine Siskins seen yesterday, certainly remind me of species expected during the winter (or at least looked for!). Other birds of note today included a small Sharpshinned Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, a Woodcock walking along the road and a Northern Mockingbird (very unusual in this area of Quabbin) Several butterflies of various species also seen as the day warmed up. The usual variety and numbers of ticks which is expected with any trip into Quabbin.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Quabbin Park and Quabbin Gate 4

Today found me checking out Quabbin Park and Quabbin Gate 4. I began my morning in Quabbin Park trying to find some additional breeding confirmations for my atlas blocks. Despite the holiday the park was fairly deserted first thing in the morning which made finding birds quite easy. No unusual birds but some nice looks at various resident birds. I made it out of the park a little after 7 and then headed over to Gate 4.
At Gate 4 I again managed to find alot of breeding confirmations. The area seemed especially full of Ovenbirds. I also found a wide variety of other recently fledged birds around including a group of three juvenile Hermit Thrush's together. I also had a Chestnut sided Warbler almost fly right into me along a powerline cut. He then landed and studied me for a little before flying off. I walked to the Gate 3A road and then down to the waters edge where I had an adult Bald Eagle soaring above the end of Prescott Peninsula.
Quabbin Park
Wild Turkey 2
Mourning Dove 5
Belted Kingfisher 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 9
Least Flycatcher 3
Eastern Phoebe 3
Great Crested Flycatcher 3
Eastern Kingbird 2
Yellow-throated Vireo 3
Warbling Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 38
Blue Jay 8
American Crow 8
Tree Swallow 35
Black-capped Chickadee 15
Tufted Titmouse 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
Brown Creeper 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4
Veery 6
Hermit Thrush 4
Wood Thrush 2
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 27
Cedar Waxwing 11
Chestnut-sided Warbler 13
Black-throated Blue Warbler 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 3
Pine Warbler 6
Prairie Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 4
American Redstart 14
Ovenbird 10
Common Yellowthroat 9
Scarlet Tanager 9
Eastern Towhee 23
Chipping Sparrow 26
Song Sparrow 7
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4
Indigo Bunting 2
Red-winged Blackbird 9
Common Grackle 4
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Baltimore Oriole 3
American Goldfinch 6

Gate 4
Ruffed Grouse 1
Bald Eagle 1 adult
Ring-billed Gull 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1Eastern Wood-Pewee 4
Eastern Phoebe 1
Red-eyed Vireo 11
Blue Jay 6
American Crow 2
Tree Swallow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 11 a few juveniles
Tufted Titmouse 5 one juvenile
White-breasted Nuthatch 7 several juveniles
Brown Creeper 1
House Wren 2
Veery 3
Hermit Thrush 4 three juveniles together
Wood Thrush 2
American Robin 1
Gray Catbird 9 a few juveniles
Northern Mockingbird 1
Cedar Waxwing 5
Chestnut-sided Warbler 5 three juveniles
Black-throated Blue Warbler 6
Blackburnian Warbler 2
Pine Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 3 adult feeding juvenile
American Redstart 2
Ovenbird 14 carrying food
Common Yellowthroat 5
Scarlet Tanager 2
Eastern Towhee 9 a couple juveniles
Chipping Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2

Friday, July 3, 2009

Quabbin...more breeding bird atlas stuff

I spent the morning into the early afternoon (5:50am-1:00pm) atlasing three blocks on Prescott Peninsula. Another great day in this section of Quabbin. Lots of juvenile birds around and other just nesting. Finally confirmed Cerulean Warbler in an area they have been for a few years. I found a male carrying food. I lost him high in the trees before I found a nest or a juvenile. I also had an Evening Grosbeak feeding a juvenile. Lots of other activity with some good numbers of birds. Also watched a Cedar Waxwing put the finishing touches on its nest and got some photos of the construction. The totals for the day are below. Another fine day in a wonderful area.
Mallard 1 female
Ruffed Grouse 4 two adults, two juvenile
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2 pair
American Woodcock 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 17
Downy Woodpecker 9
Hairy Woodpecker 4
Northern Flicker 4 one juvenile
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 5
Alder Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 22 carrying food
Eastern Phoebe 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 5
Eastern Kingbird 6 on nest
Yellow-throated Vireo 6 a few juveniles
Blue-headed Vireo 9 carrying food
Warbling Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 113 carrying food
Blue Jay 7
Tree Swallow 44 many juveniles
Black-capped Chickadee 27 several juveniles
Tufted Titmouse 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 6 one juvenile
White-breasted Nuthatch 3
Brown Creeper 1
Winter Wren 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet 12 a few juveniles
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Veery 63 carrying food
Hermit Thrush 3
Wood Thrush 23
American Robin 29
Gray Catbird 59 several juveniles
Cedar Waxwing 68 pair building nest
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 77 many juveniles
Magnolia Warbler 8
Black-throated Blue Warbler 26 a few juveniles
Yellow-rumped Warbler 14
Black-throated Green Warbler 26
Blackburnian Warbler 13
Pine Warbler 34 carrying food
Prairie Warbler 2
Cerulean Warbler 1 carrying food...unable to find nest. In same area as seen previously
Black-and-white Warbler 7
American Redstart 63 several juveniles
Ovenbird 31
Common Yellowthroat 131 many juveniles
Canada Warbler 2 carrying food to nest
Scarlet Tanager 14 carrying food
Chipping Sparrow 46 a few juveniles
Field Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 7
Swamp Sparrow 3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4
Indigo Bunting 5
Red-winged Blackbird 15
Common Grackle 11
Brown-headed Cowbird 7
Baltimore Oriole 3 all juveniles
American Goldfinch 21
Evening Grosbeak 3 adult feeding juvenile

White tailed Deer-2
Little Brown Bat-5
Gray Squirrel-1
Red Squirrel-4

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Various raptors around today....

I caught up with a few raptors today between the rain showers. The day started with me rising earlier intending to get out right away but was met with a downpour. I then had to make a trip to Deerfield for an appointment and stopped by Mount Sugarloaf to check on the Peregrines. There was at least one juvenile calling and jumping around the nest (an old ravens nest) and flapping its wings. It eventually took a few short flights around the cliff face. An adult bird came in once to feed and then took back off.

Later in the day along Jabish Canal in Belchertown I found a pair of juvenile Broad winged Hawks being harrassed by a group of crows. I also found a Cooper's Hawk juvenile calling in a grove of pines further along the canal. Many species of birds were represented by juveniles on my walk along the canal including Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Blue Gray Gnatcatchers, Gray Catbirds and Song and Swamp Sparrows.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A new month...and the rain continues.

Another day of on and off showers with the occasional thunderstorm thrown in for good measure. Despite the less than ideal conditions the birds continue. A report of a nesting pair of Merlins with young in the nest in Florence is only the second nesting record in the state. Around the house today the pair of House Wrens appear to be putting the finishing touch on their nest. A Broad winged Hawk flew around low this morning, calling several times. Other species of note today include at least three Ruby throated Hummingbirds, a couple kingfishers and the usual variety of warblers and vireos. The Gray Catbirds have now found the rapidly ripening berries and continue to gorge themselves. Finally a group of five young Hooded Mergansers swam by and quickly disappeared in the dense vegetation along the stream.