Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekend birding (and butterflying)

Spotted Sandpiper, Hadley, MA, Aug 10, 2014
Great Egret, Hadley, MA, Aug 10, 2014
Great Egret, Hadley, MA, Aug 10, 2014
Least Sandpipers, Hadley, MA, Aug 10, 2014
Great Blue Heron, Hadley, MA, Aug 10, 2014
Wood Ducks, Hadley, MA, Aug 10, 2014
Tree and Bank Swallows, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, Aug 10, 2014
Green Heron, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Aug 10, 2014
Winsor Dam, Aug 10, 2014
I spent another beautiful morning exploring a variety of locations including Lake Wallace, the rail trail in Amherst, Moody Bridge Road in Hadley, the Connecticut River in Hadley and then Winsor Dam. The main target species this time of year include shorebirds, waders and perhaps a Black Tern and I had some good luck but nothing too unusual. Lake Wallace continues to hold decent numbers of waterfowl of four species as well as both Great Blue and Green Herons. A stop by the rail trail near Hop Brook didn't produce any herons but a couple hundred swallows were impressive as they roosted in some small trees in the marsh. The vulture roost along Moody Bridge Road only contained 16 Turkey Vultures today but there may have been some more hidden deeper in out of view.  I once again had a different raptor species buzz through the area near the roost with the species today being an American Kestrel...a few previous stops have turned Cooper's and Red tailed Hawks perched just outside the roost.  The Connecticut River in Hadley produced three Spotted Sandpipers, a couple Solitary Sandpipers and 13 Least Sandpipers plus a Great Egret, a couple Great Blue Herons and Wood Ducks and Mallards.  Winsor Dam featured some northerly winds that I hoped would push a Black Tern past but no luck. The best I could come up with was a dozen plus Ring billed Gulls.
Black Swallowtail, Belchertown, MA, Aug 9, 2014
More butterflies around the yard today including a Black Swallowtail which allowed for just a few photos before it flew away.
Winsor Dam, Aug 9, 2014
Great Blue Heron, Quabbin Park, MA, Aug 9, 2014
Yesterday I stayed close to home with stops at Lake Wallace and Quabbin Park.  Nothing too unusual at any of my stops but some nice views of local breeders with loads of young birds around.
Giant Swallowtail, Belchertown, MA, Aug 9, 2014
Giant Swallowtail, Belchertown, MA, Aug 9, 2014
As I spent time around the yard yesterday I was rewarded with a Giant Swallowtail that stayed for several minutes on one of my butterfly bushes and allowed me to get a few photos. It is only my second Giant Swallowtail I have ever had in the yard. Oddly I had another member of this species fly by me through the Stop and Shop parking lot in Belchertown later in the day.  A southern species that just a few years ago was almost unheard of in Massachusetts.

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