Monday, May 16, 2016

Cool and windy weather continues but still manage my 200th species in the county for the year

Wilson's Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 16, 2016
Canada Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 16, 2016
Gray Catbird, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 16, 2016
Veery, Quabbin Gate 12, Pelham, MA, May 16, 2016
I made a trip onto Prescott Peninsula on this very windy and cool day to check my upcoming whip poor will route.  I didn't spend a lot of time birding but one of the sightings I could not miss was the number of Veery that were flushing from the roads.  Over the course of several miles I had at least 50 and I'm sure if I had stopped to bird a bit more I could have substantially increased this number.  Really impressive to see and I'm not sure if the birds were resident or migrants still moving north or some combination of both.  It will be interesting to see if the numbers stay high as the breeding season continues on.  The route was in good shape for the upcoming survey so all I need now is clear weather and calm winds.  I also made a few stops on my way back home including Gate 12 and briefly at Gate 8.  I spent most of the rest of the day catching up on stuff around the house and managed to add my 17th species of warbler to the yard for the season with the arrival of a Wilson's Warbler.
Semipalmated Plover, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, May 15, 2016
Semipalmated Plover, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, May 15, 2016
Veery, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 15, 2016
Field Sparrow, Wentworth Farm, Amherst, MA, May 15, 2016
With the prediction for a windy day on Sunday and a bit of rain overnight I headed out to see if I could find anything forced down by the weather.  A predawn stop at Winsor Dam produced the continuing Lesser Scaup but little else.  I then headed over toward the river with the intention to hit the East Meadows (if it was not too muddy) and then Arcadia.  The East Meadows were not too muddy to get into but were not muddy enough to attract any shorebirds so I didn't stay there long.  I then made it over to Arcadia where I scanned the oxbow but found just a load of Canada Geese.  Although the river levels looked a little too high to produce much mud in the marsh I decided to check anyway and I was glad I did as I found a few small areas of mud and they contained a very nice selection of shorebirds considering what a small area of habitat was available.  A total of seven species were present including two new species for the year in the county with the three Semipalmated Plovers becoming species #200 and a Semipalmated Sandpiper becoming species #201.  The other species included two Killdeer, 8 Spotted Sandpipers, 7 Solitary Sandpipers, a Lesser Yellowlegs and 22 Least Sandpipers.  Once I finished up at Arcadia I stopped briefly at the Honey Pot and then over to the rail trail but found just a Killdeer at the Honey Pot and three Spotted Sandpipers along the rail trail.  Also made a stop at Wentworth Farm looking for flycatchers as well as a stop at the Amherst landfill looking for Grasshopper Sparrows but neither place produced my sought after species but it was very windy by this time.

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