Monday, June 15, 2015

Breeding Bird Survey completed for another year

I conducted my breeding bird survey route with the welcomed assistance of Devin and Aidan on Sunday. It was a perfect weather day to conduct the survey route which starts in Belchertown and travels south for 25 miles through Ware, Palmer and Monson. The survey consists of three minute stops every 1/2 mile during which a census of all birds seen and heard is recorded. We managed to find a total of 75 species which is the best year since I have done the route. The previous years had the following totals (2014-70 species, 2013-67 species, 2012-56 species, 2011-64 species, 2010-71 species). A total of 1036 individuals were tallied which is also one of my highest totals on the route. Highlights included an amazing number of cuckoos (seven Black billed Cuckoo and five Yellow billed Cuckoo)...most years just finding one is good so this year was incredibly productive for these two species. The overall highest represented species was Chipping Sparrow which was present at 64% of the stops. The last two years the American Robin held this position (72% last year and 80% the year before). The other top ten (as a percentage) are as follows: American Robin (60%), Tufted Titmouse (58%), Northern Cardinal (38%), Gray Catbird (50%), Red eyed Vireo (48%), Black capped Chickadee (46%), Mourning Dove (46%), American Redstart (42%) and American Crow (38%).  
Common Gallinule, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, June 14, 2015
Common Gallinule, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, June 14, 2015
Hooded Mergansers, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, June 14, 2015
After completing the survey route we made a few other stops on the way back toward home with a stop in Palmer to try to turn up a Grasshopper Sparrow (no luck) and a stop over to Lake Wallace to try to find the Common Gallinule (we had luck there).

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