Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mid May weekend

Cerulean Warbler building nest, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 17, 2015
Cerulean Warbler building nest, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 17, 2015
Cerulean Warbler building nest, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 17, 2015
After seeing reports that the Cerulean Warblers have made it back to Skinner SP and appearing to be setting up shop to breed, I decided to head over that way this morning to try to catch up with them as well as many warbler species as I could find. I briefly checked the Connecticut River before heading to Mitch's Way but had no luck along the river finding anything of note. Once I got to Mitch's Way the mosquitoes were once again out in force but the bug spray kept them at bay somewhat. I walked to the water and back and turned up 15 species of warbler there plus some other good stuff among the 59 species there including a Yellow billed Cuckoo, 4 Black billed Cuckoo and a Lincoln's Sparrow. I then headed to Skinner to make the steep hike up to the summit before the gates opened to cars. I ran across a total of four Worm eating Warblers on the way up as well an an unusual Gray cheeked Thrush that I flushed up off the road (also had singing Hermit, Wood and Swainson's Thrushes plus robins so lots of luck with thrush species there this morning). Before I got to the summit I texted Jacob to get more details on the location of the Cerulean Warbler and got some good info which I misunderstood and after a lot of looking turned up nothing. I then contacted Devin and Aidan and after a bit of back and forth on the phone and a consultation with google maps, I found the female building a nest. I was joined by Michele during a large portion of the time on the hill looking for the Ceruleans and she finally got to see the bird. We got some great looks of the female as she worked on constructing the nest. We also heard a male calling further up the hill just below the summit which may or may not have been the mate of the female building the nest.  My intention of a quick hike to the top and back in an hour or so turned into a two and a half hour plus stay but it was worth it.

I originally wanted to try Silvio Conte NWR to try to find the Hooded Warbler again but with so much time spent at Skinner and my intention to hit Quabbin Park to get more warblers, I headed right to Quabbin after Skinner. Quabbin produced several more species of warblers and by the time the morning was over I stood at 24 species of warbler for the day. I spent the rest of the day around the yard and although there were some decent birds around I was unable to add any new warblers for the day so ended the day at 24 species.

eBird lists from the day:
Mitch's Way
Skinner SP
Quabbin Park

Scarlet Tanagers, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2015
Scarlet Tanagers, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2015
Chestnut sided Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2015
Northern Waterthrush, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2015
Black Vulture, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2015
Turkey Vultures, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2015
Sharp shinned Hawk with prey, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2015
On Saturday I had hopes that the rain showers would arrive overnight and ground some migrants but the rain showers held off until after daybreak and were not too heavy anyway.  I decided to spend my morning solely at Quabbin Park to see what I could find there.  Lots of good stuff around while birding the area from predawn until mid to late morning.  I found a total of 101 species just within the boundaries of the park.  I have included the full lists below from my stops in the park.  The rest of the day I spent around the house which produced slightly less impressive birds then the previous day but still some good stuff including 11 species of warblers (both waterthrushes and a couple Canada Warblers) and a flyby Bobolink among the 57 total species.

Quabbin Park stops


  1. Great stuff, Larry. It’s a good year for Black-billed Cuckoo here in Worcester County, too. No Ceruleans, though! (Posted by Ed Kittredge)

  2. Thanks Ed...hopefully you will get some Ceruleans soon!