Friday, May 17, 2013

A few new birds for the year and the 50,000th hit on the blog

Chestnut sided Warbler, Quabbin Gate 12, May 17, 2013
My goal today was to try to catch up with a few remaining species I’m likely to find this month including a few flycatchers, cuckoos and perhaps a Cerulean and/or Mourning Warbler.   I did indeed have some success.  After missing out on a gorgeous day yesterday I decided to use a personal day to enjoy this one. It stayed sunny all day and the high reached near 70. Not quite as warm as yesterday when it was in the low 80's but certainly a little more comfortable when in the sun. The only drawback of the day was the wind out of the northwest that at times made it difficult to hear birds and made viewing birds difficult as the trees were moving quite a bit. 
Hooded Merganser at dawn, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 17, 2013
Brown Thrasher, Mitch's Way, Hadley, MA, May 17, 2013

I started off at the rail trail off Station Road and stayed there for about 45 minutes before moving on. Nothing too unusual although I did have a fair number of both resident and migrant birds. My next stop was Mitch's Way where I walked about a mile or so. Several good birds here including 16 species of warbler including Tennessee, Canada and Blackpoll Warbler. I also added another species to my county list for the year when I had a Yellow bellied Flycatcher (#198). In addition I had a few White crowned Sparrows (several around in different areas today), a late Ruby crowned Kinglet, a couple Pine Siskins and a group of peeps along the river I'm still trying to ID by photos (with the help of others).

Winter Wren singing, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 17, 2013

My next stop was just down the road at Skinner SP to try to find the Cerulean Warblers that has been reliable there for years but has eluded me (and many others) so far is year. As the road is still closed I had to hike to the top again. A number of warblers were calling on the way up including at least one Worm eating Warbler and a Tennessee Warbler. Once I got to the top I started listening and after several minutes I had one call a couple of times distantly then go silent. Five minutes later I had it call once a little closer but then the construction noise at the top really kicked in and I didn't hear it again. I tried a few other spots further down but no luck with it. The winds were also fairly strong at the top at times which made hearing anything difficult. Perhaps all the activity at the top has driven the birds away or at least further down the slope. At least there is still one there even if it is somewhat difficult to find. The Cerulean Warbler becomes #199 for the year in Hampshire County. Who knows what will be number 200? I still have a few species that I would expect to get in spring that I have not yet had so hopefully I will break over the 200 mark in the next few days. I still need to find Common Nighthawk, both cuckoo species, Lincoln Sparrow and Olive sided Flycatcher (plus other even more unexpected species). 

Chestnut sided Warbler, Quabbin Gate 12, May 17, 2013
I also made stops at a few spots at Quabbin including Gate 12 and the route 9 marsh but nothing too unusual at either location.
It was a good day take off as I ended the day with 22 species of warbler (my best overall total for spring so far...I think) and 107 species overall for the day. The Massachusetts Audubon Society Birdathon starts this evening and ends tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow is productive too.

In addition some time today I had my 50,000th hit on my blog...amazing that many people have visited over the last few years!  I always wonder who is actually checking in....

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