Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A good night for migration brings a Blue Grosbeak to Arcadia, the winter finch forecast is out and my setup to catch late season hummingbirds is ready

Last night featured some great migration conditions and the radar lit up early and was still going this morning before dawn.  I actually had a few flight calls before dawn including a somewhat late Veery flying past.  With limited time this morning before work I had to decide where my best chances might be to catch up with something good.  I made a brief stop (just a few minutes) to scan for shorebirds from the dike in the Honey Pot but came up empty.  I then headed over to the Arcadia meadows concentrating around the Ibis Pool as the sun came up.  There certainly appeared to be an influx of birds with the biggest increase seeming to be Swamp Sparrows (several today vs. just one yesterday).  Other highlights among the 35 species seen included two Lincoln’s Sparrows and double digit counts of Savannah and Song Sparrows plus at least four Indigo Buntings (with one still singing).  The best species by far was a brief view of a female Blue Grosbeak that flew from the Ibis Pool to the brushy edge at the north end of the Ibis Pool.  The Blue Grosbeak not only became a new species for the county this year (#228) but also became a new species for Hampshire County overall (#282).  I have actually only had one other Blue Grosbeak in western Massachusetts and that was on the Prescott Peninsula back in April of 2011.  I really wished I could have spent some more time exploring this morning but just didn’t have the time.
Ruby throated Hummingbird, Belchertown, MA, Sep 23, 2014
Ruby throated Hummingbird, Belchertown, MA, Sep 23, 2014
Ruby throated Hummingbird, Belchertown, MA, Sep 23, 2014
Meanwhile at home I have started my new setup to see if I can capture an image of any unusual hummingbirds showing up when I'm not looking.  The setup involves a motion activated camera set up on my most popular hummingbird feeder and I managed to get a photo of a Ruby throated Hummingbird showing up at 10:15AM and 6:08PM.  It is not really late for this species but they will become very unusual by the time October starts.  Fingers crossed for finding something unusual!
The finch forecast put out by Ron Pittaway from the Ontario Field Ornithologists. It appears that a few species have the potential to head in our direction but it doesn’t look like a huge flight this year but there is potential for a few species.  A quick summary for those with likely potential to become irruptive this year include Purple Finch, Common Redpoll and Hoary Redpoll as well as non finch species such as Blue Jays and Red breasted Nuthatches.  There is some potential for Red Crossbills and Pine Siskins but they are less likely.  The least likely species to head south this coming winter include Pine Grosbeak, White winged Crossbill and Evening Grosbeak as well as Bohemian Waxwings.  Hopefully a few of these species will behave as predicted and show up here.  Here is a link to the full forecast:http://jeaniron.ca/2014/forecast14.htm

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