Friday, April 25, 2014

Sandhill Cranes for my birthday

Sandhill Cranes, Worthington, MA, Apr 25, 2014
Sandhill Cranes, Worthington, MA, Apr 25, 2014
Sandhill Cranes, Worthington, MA, Apr 25, 2014
For my birthday I headed back into the hill towns again this morning in search of the Sandhill Cranes that have been seen for the second year in a row up in Worthington.  I arrived there fairly early and almost immediately found the two cranes feeding in a field and giving some fantastic looks.  Hopefully this year they will successfully nest.  A nice birthday present as far as I'm concerned!
Great Horned Owls at nest, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Apr 25, 2014
Eastern Coyote, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Apr 25, 2014

Barn Swallow, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Apr 25, 2014

Yellow rumped Warbler 'Myrtle Warbler', Rail Trail, Amherst, MA, Apr 25, 2014
After my luck with finding the cranes I headed back down out of the hills and headed over to Arcadia. The area is now accessible following the recent flooding but the roads are in very poor condition. Nothing too unusual but it was nice to get some looks at the heron rookery (at least 31 Great Blue Herons) as well as the nesting Great Horned Owls and Bald Eagles.  Also had a very pale Eastern Coyote walking along the edge of one of the fields.  I then headed across the river again and took a walk along the rail trail where I had a couple more new birds for the year in the county including House Wren and Black and White Warbler.  The marsh near the Hop Brook bridge looks perfect to host some shorebirds as it appears the beaver dam must have failed and the area is now extensive mudflats.  It will be interesting to see if anything of note shows up.

I then headed for home to pick up Wilson to take him for a walk.  On my walk with Wilson along the Jabish Canal I had a very intriguing bird fly past that appeared to be a kite species of some sort and likely a Mississippi Kite. I only noticed the bird after it had flown past us heading west. The bird was in bad light but the shape and flight pattern was kite like. It was dark overall with a long tail but I could not get any color at all off the trailing edge of the wings nor did I get a look at the head. It disappeared out of view after being in view for less than ten seconds. It could have been a different kite species but given the rarity of any kite species (especially at the end of April) and my brief look in bad light I cannot say for certain the species. Certainly 'the one that got away' for the day! Another bird of note along the way was a singing Blue headed Vireo, another new species for the year.

The weather over the last few days has not been great for migration with cool weather and fairly strong north winds.  This morning continued the cold weather with a near record setting low in the upper 20's.  Usually by this time of year the migrants are really starting to show up but this year it is a bit slow.  I have a feeling once the conditions change they will change in a big way and there will be a flood of birds.  The winds switched around to the south during the day today and should stay that way until some rain moves in overnight tonight which may lead to some grounding of migrants...time will tell.  I will certainly be out in the rain looking around to see what I might be able to find.


  1. Happy birthday!!! Lots of good birds......and that coyote is a stunner!