Friday, September 13, 2013

Birding after the storms

Bank Swallow, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Killdeer, East Meadows, Sep 13, 2013
After a lot of rain and storms overnight I headed toward the various fields along the Connecticut River in the hopes of finding shorebirds in the flooded fields.  I started at the East Meadows before dawn and checked the areas that were accessible and found only a few shorebirds including two American Golden Plovers, a Solitary Sandpiper and eight Killdeer.  Perhaps there was just too much storminess and the birds never got a chance to move to then be put down by the weather. 

Barn Swallow, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Bank Swallow, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Palm Warbler, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Cooper's Hawk, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Great Egrets, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Barn Swallows and Palm Warbler, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Barn Swallow, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Indigo Bunting, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Bobolinks, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
Vesper Sparrow, Honeypot, Sep 13, 2013
I next headed back across the river to the Honeypot area looking for shorebirds where I found only a few Killdeer.  With the shorebirding appearing to be a bust I decided to spend some time poking around areas of the Honeypot to find some other stuff.  Yet again the area produced some good birds including three Vesper Sparrows, a Lincoln's Sparrow, at least 20 Indigo Buntings, 70+ Bobolinks, two Great Egrets and a few warblers including two Palm Warblers, a Prairie Warbler and a Yellow Warbler.  The swallow show also continued with at least 150 swallows around with many feeding distantly over the fields and river.  I did manage to identify quite a few with an amazing 18 Bank Swallows, 35+ Barn Swallows and at least ten Tree Swallows.  With so many swallows (of different species) around in mid September I looked closely to try to pick out something even more unusual or rare but no luck today.  The raptors (including Merlin, Peregrine Falcon and Cooper's Hawk) kept the birds moving around and at least one bird was not quick enough as I watched a Cooper's Hawk flying into a distant tree with a kill.  Among the Indigo Bunting was another bird that I'm still trying to come to some conclusion on.  It was viewed distantly through the scope as I scanned through the various weedy edges.  A very blue overall bird which may have been just a Indigo Bunting but some of the field marks have me wondering on it.  Still reviewing photos of the bird at this point.

My next stop on my way home was over to East Hadley Road where I had a few more Killdeer but nothing else of note.
Olive sided Flycatcher, Jabish canal, Sep 13, 2013
Wilson enjoying a stick, Jabish canal, Sep 13, 2013
Picked up Wilson and headed to Jabish Canal where we had an Olive sided Flycatcher hunting the large meadow/swamp area which I managed to get a marginal photo of with my phone through my binoculars  This area has always been a great spot to find this species.

At home today I had a couple Ruby throated Hummingbirds still around plus a group of 13 Turkey Vultures and a Common Nighthawks right around 3pm right as a heavy rain shower was hitting.

Yesterday I spent the morning around the local area with stops at Lake Wallace, Covey WMA, Quabbin Park and the land trust trail before the showers and storms moved in.  Lake Wallace produced a handful of Wood Ducks and Mallards plus a couple each of Great Egrets and Green Herons and a hooting Great Horned Owl.  Covey WMA held a Red shouldered Hawk, a couple Chimney Swifts and a mixed species flock that contained ten species of warbler including yet another Tennessee Warbler and a Cape May Warbler.  Also had a flock of 36 Cedar Waxwings moving by.  I only made a couple stops at Quabbin Park including Hank's Meadow and Winsor Dam.  Overall fairly quiet but did have a Canada Warbler, almost 120 Mallards at the dam, a sapsucker and a few other warblers.  The land trust trail was also fairly quiet.

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