Sunday, June 19, 2016

Breeding Bird Survey

Barred Owl, Monson, MA, June 19, 2016
Barred Owl, Monson, MA, June 19, 2016
Barred Owl fledglings, Monson, MA, June 19, 2016
View looking toward tornado damage on far hill, Monson, MA, June 19, 2016
I completed by breeding bird survey route this morning under perfect conditions with sunny skies, comfortable temperatures and calm winds. I wanted to wait until Aidan and Devin would be around to assist as they have the last few years but I could not pass on such good conditions to conduct the survey. I started the route promptly at 4:42AM in Belchertown and then traveled south through Ware, Palmer and Monson completing the 25 mile route just after nine. I found a total of 78 species along the route which is my highest total ever during the seven years I have been conducting this survey (I will have to dig into the notes from previous compilers to see if this is the highest total ever on this route). Highlights for the morning included a Ring necked Pheasant, an Eastern Whip Poor Will, three each of Yellow billed and Black billed Cuckoo (lots of denuded trees along the route, especially in Monson from caterpillars), two Barred Owl families with three individuals in each group with one in Belchertown and one in Monson, an American Kestrel in suitable breeding habitat, four Common Ravens at four separate locations and 14 species of warbler including a still singing Louisiana Waterthrush. The ten most frequent species for this year as a percentage of lists were as follows: Chipping Sparrow (74%), Red eyed Vireo (66%), Gray Catbird (64%), American Crow (62%), Mourning Dove (60%), American Robin (58%), Northern Cardinal (54%), Black capped Chickadee (50%), Ovenbird (42%) and Eastern Phoebe and Song Sparrow tied at 36%.

Video links to Barred Owls:

My previous totals over while I have been conducting the route are as follows:

2010- 71
2011- 64
2012- 56
2013- 67
2014- 70
2015- 75
2016- 78

I checked the old Palmer landfill site on my way home trying to find a Grasshopper Sparrow but unfortunately the fields have been mowed so no sparrow. The old airport nearby that had held some decent numbers of Prairie and Blue winged Warblers in past years is now a solar array field and the area was a dead zone for birds.

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