Friday, May 30, 2014

Various stops in the valley

Blue winged Warbler, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 30, 2014
Song Sparrow with leg bands, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 30, 2014
Song Sparrow with leg bands, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 30, 2014
Although it was another cool morning it eventually warmed nicely into the 70's again...certainly feeling more like September with cool mornings and days warming up with low humidity. I'm sure it will change soon but it is enjoyable now. I started off my morning over at UMASS trying to catch up with a reported Lawrence's Warbler but didn't have any luck tracking it down.  I tracked down every Blue winged Warbler today (like I always do) but no hybrids among them although it is neat to see some of the variation among individuals of a species.  I did run across a few leg tagged Song Sparrows on Orchard Hill which I managed to get a few marginal shots of as I was heading out. I assume it is someone's project at UMASS and if I hear any details about it I will post an update.  The northwest part of campus also held a nice variety of birds but nothing too unusual.  My next stop was over to the rail trail where I found the mudflats nearly devoid of birds with just a single Spotted Sandpiper and a couple Killdeer.

I then headed home early to pick up Wilson and we went for a long walk along the land trust trail in Belchertown and managed to come across a great bird when we were off on a side trail in some deeper woods...a Gray cheeked Thrush seen in direct compassion to a nearby Hermit Thrush (which eventually it chased). The bird had no hint of rufous at all so I feel confident it was not a Bicknell's although the bird was silent. Usually I get Gray cheeked Thrush as a nocturnal migrant by flight call so it is always fun to actually get to see it during the day.  The thrush became species #213 for the county this year.  No photo as I only had my binos and phone and the bird didn't stay still long enough to grab a shot.  Also had another Black billed Cuckoo which allowed for some great views...seems like a good year for this species.
Broad winged Hawk, Covey WMA, May 30, 2014
Blue winged Warbler, Covey WMA, May 30, 2014
Blue winged Warbler, Quabbin Park, May 30, 2014
After our long walk I dropped Wilson off at home and I headed out again with stops at Covey WMA and a small part of Quabbin Park.  I did catch a snippet of a call from a large marsh at Covey WMA that sounded a lot like a Common Gallinule but I only heard it once and lots of searching didn't turn up anything...probably just a frog, but who knows?  Also had a Peregrine Falcon flying by quite high.  I don't know of any nesting falcons anywhere close by so I wonder where the bird came from.

Overall not too many obvious migrants with most birds seemingly on territory. The exception to that would of course be the previously mentioned Gray cheeked Thrush as well as several Blackpoll Warblers at a few different stops.  Migration is rapidly coming to a close but there are always birds moving so interesting stuff could still show up at any time.

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