Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fruitless search for new shorebirds but did find some raptors

Osprey, Quabbin Park, August 18, 2012

Bald Eagle, Quabbin Park, August 18, 2012

Old Pilgrim Airport fields, Hatfield, Ma, Aug 18, 2012

I started off this raining Saturday looking for shorebirds that had been grounded overnight but didn't have much luck despite a lot of looking.  I started predawn at the Belchertown state school fields and had 9 Killdeer.  I then drove over to the East Meadows in Northampton. The drive through there with several stops produced only two Least Sandpipers.  The swallow numbers however were quite impressive here (as well as other stops today).  There were several hundred in flight at once with most being Tree Swallows with a smaller number of Barn and Bank. I then headed up through Hatfield to the Whately line.  The only productive area for shorebirds was the old Pilgrim Airport which had 30+ Killdeer.  It looked like the shorebird search was a bust but worth the try nonetheless.  I decided to stay over in the Hadley/Amherst area with various stops including Silvio Conte NWR/Moody Bridge Rd, UMASS and the Amherst business park.  As mentioned in the title there were some decent raptors around including American Kestrel, Red shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk and Turkey Vulture in the Moody Bridge Road area and a Peregrine Falcon perched above the UMASS campus pond.  As usual this year, I missed finding any Black Vultures on this trip.  In the Amherst business park I stopped at a small man made wetland (water run off pond) that looked promising for rails but came up empty.  There was a Double-crested Cormorant there as well as a small group of passerines including a Warbling Vireo that easily could have been mistaken for a Philadelphia Vireo but once it sang that possibility ended.

Hairy Woodpecker, Quabbin Park, August 18, 2012

Monarch, Quabbin Park, August 18, 2012
Canada Goose with leg tag, unable to get entire number sequence, Quabbin Park, August 18, 2012

After lunch I decided to head over to Quabbin Park to check out a new trail that was recently completed there which runs from the HQ building through the woods down to the Swift River and back.  A nice walk with several good birds including at least three Red Crossbills (too far away to get any good photos or audio), two Osprey, at least a dozen Turkey Vultures, one Bald Eagle, a Brown Thrasher and others.

This evening at home in an hour of nighthawk watching I managed to see just one lone bird heading southwest...not a big night of movement for them here.

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