Sunday, May 31, 2015

No luck finding the Snowy Egret at Arcadia but still good stuff

Common Merganser with young, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, May 31, 2015
Killdeer (adult and young), Arcadia, Northampton, MA, May 31, 2015
Red tailed Hawk eating chipmunk, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, May 31, 2015
Mallard with young, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, May 31, 2015
The rain didn't arrive in substantial amounts overnight so not much of a chance to find any grounded birds this morning. Nonetheless I still checked out Winsor Dam before dawn just to make sure but found nothing noteworthy.  Without much likelihood of finding good stuff forced down by the weather I decided to head over to Arcadia to try to find the Snowy Egret seen there yesterday. No luck finding the bird despite a few hours of effort. Although the egret was a no show the other birds around there did not disappoint. Lots of newly hatched birds about including some great views of a family of Common Mergansers as well as a few young Killdeer plus others. As I was scanning the marsh all the birds started making a lot of noise so I suspected a raptor was in the area and indeed a Red tailed Hawk came in and landed on a small tree in the marsh and then made an unsuccessful dive at some Mallard ducklings before disappearing into the woods. I then headed down the trail to try a few more vantage points looking into the marsh and on my walk back I ran across the Red tailed Hawk devouring a chipmunk just a few feet off the trail, seemingly oblivious to my presence. I set up the scope and the bird more than filled the frame at the lowest zoom. Amazing how fast the hawk managed to eat every last piece of the chipmunk. Lots of other good stuff around with all appearing to be resident birds on territory. As I was heading out I ran into Bob and Lura and they also had not yet had any luck with finding the egret either. It may be gone or just feeding in an area nearby that is not easily viewable.  Full list from the morning there (with more photos and videos):
White eyed Vireo, Belchertown, MA, May 31, 2015
White eyed Vireo, Belchertown, MA, May 31, 2015
Blue winged Warbler, Belchertown, MA, May 31, 2015
After Arcadia I made another brief stop at Winsor Dam before trying again to find the White eyed Vireo in Belchertown in between some early rain showers. Today I had much better views and got some photos as the bird called nearly constantly during my stay there. Managed to find a total of five species of vireo today which is always a good day when you can do that around here.  Also a good number of Blue winged Warblers including a distant bird singing an odd song that I was never able to get a look at.  List with additional photos and videos here:
The month of May has been great with lots of good weather and loads of birds as the spring migration peaked.  A total of 168 species this month including one new county record for me.  A total of 210 species for Hampshire County so far this year...a few behind last year but still a very respectable total.

The next few days will feature occasional rain (sometimes heavy), northerly winds and cool temperatures. Still a chance that something will get caught in the weather and have to halt its migration for a few days so still worth checking bodies of water and freshly plowed fields.

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