Friday, September 7, 2012

Hampshire County bird #200 for the year (and #201)...birding the Honeypot and UMASS

Dickcissel, Honeypot, Hadley, MA, Sept 7, 2012

Philadelphia Vireo, UMASS, Amherst, MA, Sept 7, 2012
On this foggy, muggy morning I headed over to UMASS to meet up with Ian Davies to do a little birding.  We started off at Orchard Hill just before dawn.  The morning was quite foggy at Orchard Hill the entire time we were there.  As I walked near a hedgerow immediately after arriving I heard a bird that I thought may have been a White-eyed Vireo singing but we were never able to catch up with it despite some effort.  Who knows if that is what it truly was or not?  Despite the fog and poor light we did run into a few pockets of birds and I caught up with my 200th species in Hampshire County for the year, a Philadelphia Vireo.  Several Red-eyed Vireos as well as a few Warbling Vireos still singing rounded out the vireos for the morning here.  Other birds of note included seven species of warbler including Yellow Warbler and two Northern Parula.

Common Yellowthroat (one of at least 74), Honeypot, Hadley, MA, Sept 7, 2012

After spending almost two hours at Orchard Hill we went down to Hampshire College to pick up Jacob Drucker and then headed to the honeypot in Hadley.  We walked in through a few fields and came up with some very good birds including at least a dozen Indigo Buntings (17 total for the day), 60+ Common Yellowthroats (with others elsewhere bringing the total to 74), a flyover Dickcissel, a Cliff Swallow, and Yellow, Nashville, Wilson's and Palm Warblers.  Out near the river we also had an Eastern Screech Owl calling mid morning (my 201st county species for the year).
Merlin, Honeypot, Hadley, MA, Sept 7, 2012

Merlin, Honeypot, Hadley, MA, Sept 7, 2012

Vesper Sparrow, Honeypot, Hadley, MA, Sept 7, 2012

We dropped off Jacob so he could catch a bus and then we went back into the honeypot.  We checked out the sandbar in the river which held a Great Egret and then turned our attention back to the fields.  A Merlin cruised in and harassed the pigeons and crows before heading out.  Other raptors seen included Red tailed, Cooper's and Sharpshinned Hawk as well as American Kestrel.  We spotted a nice looking weedy field so we stopped to check it out.  We ran into the owner of the land who gave us permission to bird there.  It proved to be a great stop with another Dickcissel, two Vesper Sparrows, two more Palm Warblers, Prairie Warbler, several Yellow Warblers, at least half a dozen Ruby throated Hummingbirds, a couple Brown Thrashers  The area looks great for vagrant birds this fall and the owner gave us permission to return whenever to check the area.  It was a warm day once the fog burned off with humidity, haze and temperatures making it to the high 80's.  The total for our time there was 61 species in three hours.  Here is a link to our eBird list from there:

At home I still had at least one hummingbird as well as a couple of nighthawks that flew by before a thunderstorm rolled through.

Severe weather risk map for Saturday courtesy of storm prediction center

The forecast for tomorrow shows a chance of a significant wind event ahead of a strong cold front. This should also bring in some significant rain overnight into early Sunday morning potentially setting the stage for another shorebird fallout. This is far from a guarantee but the potential is there. The cold front will also bring north winds from Sunday onward which should bring in a fairly large push of migrants.


  1. Great birds Larry!! I'm so hoping for a Dickcissel this year. Nice shots of all of them, especially the Philadelphia Vireo!

  2. It seems to be a good year for Dickcissel so far..we had two yesterday and I had another a few days before...hope you get one! The vireo was tough to get any shot of at all due to the fog and poor light...such a neat bird.