Saturday, May 14, 2016

Global Big Day

Common Nighthawk, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2016
Lesser Scaup, Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2016
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2016
Brown headed Cowbirds, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 14, 2016
Tennessee Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 14, 2016
Chipping Sparrow, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2016
Ovenbird, Belchertown,  MA, May 14, 2016
Today was the eBird Global Big Day as well as International Migratory Bird Day and the Mass Audubon's Birdathon. I didn't have any particular plans before the day began beyond starting my day at Winsor Dam and then seeing where the day would take me. I had lots of good luck at Winsor Dam early on including the continued Lesser Scaup plus the expected whip poor wills. A quick ride over to the route 9 marsh produced a Virginia Rail and a Common Nighthawk (#197) flying over the marsh in and out of the fog. I returned to Winsor Dam and found more good stuff including a female Red breasted Merganser and a male Cerulean Warbler. As this point I gave Devin a call to let him know the unusual stuff I came across so his team could hopefully catch up with them for Birdathon (I was acting more as a scout for them as the rules of Birdathon require you to bird with someone else which just seems silly for a fundraising event but that is how it is). With my day going quite well so far I decided to see how much I could find over the course of the morning and early afternoon. I headed for UMASS hitting both Orchard Hill and the northwest campus area. I managed to find 19 species of warblers there including my first Blackpoll Warbler (#198) plus a Tennessee Warbler, Canada Warblers and a Wilson's Warbler. I then headed over to the rail trail to look for shorebirds and found three species out on the mud at Hop Brook. My original plan was to go from the rail trail over to Silvio Conte NWR and then to Skinner SP but a phone call from Devin telling me they had an Orange crowned Warbler at Gate 5 (a very rare spring migrant here...I only had one previous spring record). I immediately headed for Gate 5 and after a quick walk down to near the waters edge I had it calling in the woods. I tried and tried to get a look at it until finally I saw it (and got one horrible photo) before it was chased off by a Black throated Green Warbler. It stopped singing at that point and I was unable to relocate it. The Orange crowned Warbler became species #199 for the county this year. As I was looking for the warbler I got another call from the Birdathon group saying they had a male Green winged Teal at Lake Wallace (unusual this time of year). After getting my fill at Gate 5 I headed over to Lake Wallace but could not find the teal but there was a lot of activity on the nearby fields so I'm sure the bird just went deeper into the reeds. I then headed home to get Wilson to go for a walk along the Jabish Canal where we found some more new species for the day. After dropping Wilson off I headed out for a brief series of visits to a few spots around the south Quabbin area but most areas were quite busy with people so I called it a day. I spent the remainder of the day around the house watching on and off for new stuff. I found a total of 116 species for the day (24 of those being warbler) without an extreme effort.

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