Saturday, June 23, 2012

A futile search for terns...but other birds found

Barn Swallow, Quabbin Park, MA, June 23, 2012

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Quabbin Park, MA, June 23, 2012
After a few reports over the last several days of terns around the area I decided to try my luck in finding some on the southern part of Quabbin.   The terns that have been seen around include Caspian Terns at north Quabbin and the Oxbow in Northampton and Common Terns (or perhaps Arctic?) in Berkshire county plus a few other Caspian's a bit further afield.  It was a long shot and I came up empty for the morning.  Despite not finding any terns there were still some good birds around but nothing unexpected.  As I watched for terns from Winsor Dam I got some great looks at various swallows as they worked the area in front of the headquarters building.  Great looks at Northern Rough-winged, Barn and Tree Swallows.

Belted Kingfishers, Quabbin Park, MA, June 23, 2012
Quabbin Park also had a family of Belted Kingfishers working the route 9 marsh.  I also found four species of vireo, twelve species of warbler, five species of flycatcher and four species of thrush plus many other birds.  There was a lone Bald Eagle near the nest at Winsor Dam but the nest was empty.

Tree Swallows (two nestlings visible), Belchertown, MA, June 23, 2012

Tree Swallow, Belchertown, MA, June 23, 2012

Tree Swallow (adult with fecal sac), Belchertown, MA, June 23, 2012
At home the Tree Swallows look to be getting close to fledge time with the adults in and out all day with food.  The young are now quite vocal and spend a lot of time at the nest hole waiting for the next arrival of food.  The end of the day brought some thunderstorms and a break from the heat and humidity of the last several days.

possible tracks of Debby as of Saturday evening
In addition another tropical storm has developed today, making four for the season so far.  This is the earliest ever there has been four named storms this early in the season.  The early start doesn't necessarily translate to a busy season throughout but it certainly bears watching.  the big determining factor will be El Nino and how it develops as the summer goes on.  The newest storm, Debby, is in the Gulf of Mexico and the exact track it will take is very much an unknown at this point as the various potential model routes above show.


  1. I know the weather influences everything. I find it interesting how you follow it and what I gather to be it's effects on birding. I have admired the flying of swallows. I like all the photos. The first one shows a streamline body and what appears to be pretty substantial wings in relationship to that body.

  2. Certainly weather and birding go hand in hand. Trying to decipher how they go together is another matter sometimes! It certainly is fun trying to figure it out.

    Always fun to watch never gets old.