Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Tri-colored Heron on the 4th of July

Willow Flycatcher, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Northampton, MA, July 4, 2012
I tried on Tuesday morning to re find the Tricolored Heron seen at Arcadia by Steve Sauter on Monday.  I checked the oxbow and the marsh and river at Arcadia but come up empty.  The bird may have been around but I was unable to find it.  This sighting would be only the third record in the valley and the fifth in all of western Massachusetts.  I reviewed another sighting of this species earlier this year.

Great Blue Heron, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Northampton, MA, July 4, 2012

Great Blue Herons on nests, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Northampton, MA, July 4, 2012

Gray Catbird carrying caterpillar and dragonfly to nest, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Northampton, MA, July 4, 2012

Eastern Bluebird, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Northampton, MA, July 4, 2012

Muskrat, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Northampton, MA, July 4, 2012
On the 4th of July I got up and saw a posting that the Tri-colored Heron was seen yesterday by Dave McLain in Ned's Ditch at Arcadia.  Ned's Ditch is a section of the sanctuary that has a large Great Blue Heron rookery in it and is quite inaccessible and tough to get views of through the thick vegetation.  I decided I would try once again to find this bird.  I arrived there around 6:30am and walked all over Arcadia getting quite wet in the process.  I checked Ned's Ditch and the old trolley line and then over to the marsh at Hurlburts Pond and then a few other marshy areas but had no luck.  I had talked to Tom Gagnon earlier and I ran into him down there so we tried once again to check Ned's Ditch with no luck once again.  There are so many great feeding areas that you just cannot get a good look at we figured the bird was in one of those.  As we were walking the edge of the field back to our cars I noticed a heron flying low and got my binoculars on it for a brief second before it disappeared behind the trees.  Low and behold it was the Tri-colored Heron!  Tom also got a brief look but was not able to get his binoculars on it.  It was a fleeting glimpse and I was unable to get a photo of the bird.  This sighting occurred right around 10am.  We tried to find the bird again but had no luck.  It seems the bird moves around a bit to feed so perhaps just waiting it out in the fields between Ned's Ditch and the Mill River/Hurlburts Pond would be the most productive way of getting a glimpse of the bird.  It seems the bird is finding good places to feed and has been present for a few days so perhaps others will have luck with it too.  This was a county and state bird for me bringing my county count for the year to 187.

During my several hours down I had some other nice birds including many Northern Flickers, American Robins and Eastern Bluebirds, 45+ Great Blue Herons with many very large young still in the nest plus a nice selection of other expected birds in the area including a number of Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows and Song Sparrows.  There was also a fair amount of mammals around including Muskrats, White-tailed Deer and Eastern Cottontail.

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