Saturday, May 30, 2015

The annual Poverty Mountain bird census, a second whip poor will survey and a White eyed Vireo

Sunrise over Hop Brook, Amherst, MA, May 30, 2015
I finished up my second Eastern Whip Poor Will survey last night and then headed out early this morning to make a brief check for the probable Common Gallinule along Hop Brook in Amherst before heading up to do the Poverty Mountain bird census up in Shutesbury.  The stop at Hop Brook did not turn up the target bird but it was still nice to watch the sunrise up over the marsh.
Eastern Bluebird nestlings, Poverty Mountain, Shutesbury, MA, May 30, 2015
Dung beetle, Poverty Mountain, Shutesbury, MA, May 30, 2015
We managed to find just under sixty species near Poverty Mountain during my time of the survey which is just a few species below the average. They may have turned up a few more species after I left so not sure what the overall total for the day is as of yet. Lots of activity in the nest boxes with Tree Swallows, House Wrens and some Eastern Bluebirds. Also some non bird highlights including a dung beetle rolling a ball of crap along one of the trails...actually quite interesting to see.

Blue winged Warbler, Belchertown, MA, May 30, 2015
Alder Flycatcher, Belchertown, MA, May 30, 2015
When I was up in Shutesbury I got a call about a White eyed Vireo seen in Belchertown over the last few days by a couple birders and I finally made it over to the private area in the early afternoon after finishing the survey and going to class with Wilson.  It was quite breezy by the time I arrived there and hearing calls at any distance was difficult.  I walked the area where the vireo has been seen but didn't have any luck the first twenty minutes of searching until finally the bird did an odd vocalization that I could easily mistake for a catbird.  It called just a few times from the low brushy in this overgrown orchard area and I got a fleeting glimpse but not a good look.  It seems like a great area for the bird to hang out in for awhile and the entire general area looks great to attract brushy area loving birds.  I also got another call in the late morning regarding a Snowy Egret that was seen at Arcadia during a bird walk as part of a new birding festival (I should have checked my phone before I was back in Belchertown!). A very unusual species in the county and one I probably would have tried for today if I had checked my messages earlier! Oh well...perhaps it will still be around tomorrow? 
Black Bears, Prescott Peninsula, MA, May 29, 2015
The survey on Prescott Peninsula was successful with a total of ten birds heard (eight birds at stops on the route and others in between). Also had a few American Woodcocks on the roadway as I worked back north from near the end of the peninsula.  Also a lot of mammal activity with a couple Black Bears, a Moose, a Opossum and a Porcupine.  I'll do a longer post of the whip poor will surveys a bit later.

The forecast for tonight into tomorrow will continue to feature southerly winds with a chance of showers late tonight into tomorrow. Depending on the timing and severity of the showers the chance is there for the grounding of some late season migrants but as always there are many factors that have to come together to make this happen but the potential is there.  More substantial rain is forecast for Monday into Tuesday with cooler weather and this could also ground some migrants.  Certainly worth checking bodies of water and fields for anything noteworthy.

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