Saturday, May 4, 2013

Various spots in the valley

Dawn at Arcadia, Northampton, MA, May 4, 2013
Dawn at Arcadia, Northampton, MA, May 4, 2013
Awoke this morning very early to the hooting of Barred Owls at the house. I headed out predawn once again, this time meeting up with Jacob and heading over to Arcadia. We started early today to beat the hordes of people sure to be out on such a sunny and warm day. We got a couple of great birds at Arcadia right away when we flushed a Solitary Sandpiper (#173) and then had a (possibly two) calling Grasshopper Sparrow (#174). We missed on finding the Great Egrets but the rookery was buzzing nonetheless with Great Blue Herons. The number of Savannah Sparrows was quite impressive with 25+ just in the small area we covered.
Peregrine Falcon eating prey, East Meadows, Northampton, MA, May 4, 2013
 Our next stop was going to be Mitch's Way but we decided to take a detour through the East Meadows in the hope of turning up an unusual western bird. Although we missed on a western bird we did have a late female Lapland Longspur mixed in among the 210+ Horned Lark flock. Certainly a late date for this species. We also had a large flock (105 or so) of Canada Geese feeding in the fields...rather late in the season for such a large flock. Nearby a Peregrine Falcon fed on its latest kill. We left the dusty fields of the meadows behind and headed to Mitch's Way to "sail along with Mitch". Although we didn't have large numbers of migrants we did turn up seven warbler species, three vireo species as well as another new bird for the county year list, a Scarlet Tanager (#175). The most interesting bird there turned out to be a Nashville Warbler with a very odd call. At first we though it was a Blackburnian Warbler but it didn't sound quite right. Then we thought a Blue winged/golden winged warbler but also not quite right. It took us quite a bit of time to finally track the bird down and confirm the ID. We also tried our luck at Skinner SP trying to find either Worm Eating Warbler or Cerulean Warbler but none were found. They should arrive any day now at this reliable breeding location. A nice walk despite not having too many birds around. We parted ways late morning and I headed home to take Wilson for a walk along the land trust trail. We managed to find a Prairie Warbler among the other birds present which provided me with my first double digit warbler species day of the season with ten species. Amazing that it took until May 4th for this to happen!

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