Friday, May 5, 2017

Lots of arrivals the last few days including an Orange crowned Warbler

Northern Parula, Quabbin Park, MA, May 3, 2017
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Quabbin Park, MA, May 3, 2017
Black and White Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 3, 2017
Yellow rumped Warbler 'Myrtle', Quabbin Park, MA, May 3, 2017
Pine Warbler collecting nest material, Quabbin Park, MA, May 3, 2017
Yellow bellied Sapsucker, Quabbin Park, MA, May 3, 2017
On Wednesday I started out at dawn around UMASS beginning at Orchard Hill where I finally found my first Nashville Warbler of the season. The hill was good but not nearly as good as it previously was as lots of edges and tangles have been cut down with some of the best habitat greatly altered and devoid of birds. After the hill I stayed on campus but moved over to the northwest area where it was fairly active giving me some good stuff including my first calling Tennessee Warbler. After a brief stop along the rail trail I headed back toward home and finished up my morning at Quabbin Park. Best bird at Quabbin Park was a hybrid Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler. The bird looked and sounded like a typical Blue winged Warbler except it had a yellow wing patch..interesting looking bird. More details on these stops, with photos and audio can be found on the full eBird lists attached below.

UMASS Orchard Hill
UMASS northwest campus
Rail trail Amherst
Quabbin Park
Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 4, 2017
Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 4, 2017
Orange crowned Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 4, 2017
Orange crowned Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 4, 2017
Opossum, Mitch's Way, Hadley, MA, May 4, 2017
Yesterday I decided to try my luck in finding the Cerulean Warbler on top of mountain at Skinner SP but before heading there I started out at Mitch's Way (link to list here:  It was a bit cool to start the morning with temperatures in the mid 30's but at least the biting insects were kept to a minimum. I also had a close encounter with an Opossum that was walking down the road toward me and eventually came within about ten feet before it stopped and rapidly ran away in the other directions....hopefully it will continue to have great luck eating ticks there. Once I finished up at Mitch's Way I headed over to Skinner SP and made the hike up the mountain (the road is closed to vehicle traffic until May 13 so no choice but to hike). I came across my first Worm eating Warbler just below Taylor's Notch and while trying to get some photos of it I found the best bird of the day when I found an Orange crowned Warbler silently working its way through the mature forest. Orange crowned Warbler is very unusual around here in the spring and this is only my third record. I started hearing Cerulean Warblers once I hit the steep curves just below the summit and I eventually found at least three males with lots of calling and interaction among them. One of the birds was making an odd abbreviated call I had not heard before (video at link here: ). A really productive walk on a sunny day in May. Full list with additional photos here:
Black throated Blue Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 4, 2017
Yellow Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 4, 2017
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybird, Quabbin Park, MA, May 4, 2017
Blue gray Gnatcatcher, Quabbin Park, MA, May 4, 2017
Eastern Towhee, Quabbin Park, MA, May 4, 2017
After hiking back down the mountain I decided to head back east and spend the rest of the morning around Quabbin Park. I ran across a number of migrant flocks as well as increased numbers of on territory breeders. The odd Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid was still around and I got some additional photos. Lots of birds around and not tons of people so a good day in my book. I turned up a total of 20 species of warbler for the day and got great looks at many of them (as well as some decent photos).  Full lists for the morning below:

Mitch's Way:
Skinner SP:
Quabbin Park:
American Redstart, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 1, 2017
White throated Sparrows, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 4, 2017
I checked the motion camera mounted above the pond yesterday and found that I had a visit from an American Restart on May 1st and lots of visits from White throated Sparrows yesterday.  The redstart became a new species at the water feature (#32 so far) and the seventh species of warbler.

The forecast for the coming days look to feature more rain, below average temperatures and overall cloudy weather. Migration will likely slow but once the weather changes to more favorable conditions there should be a big influx.


  1. Hi, I am a youth birder visiting the area during the first week of June. Do you have any advice on seeing Cerulean Warblers or Worm-eating Warblers in Skinner SP?

    1. Both species can be found in the area from just below Taylor Notch up to the summit with the Worm eating found a bit lower and the Ceruleans typically up a little further...just be aware of chipping sparrows that can sound exactly like worm eating warblers and black throated blue warblers that can sound like cerulean warblers. By June the road should be open to the can either drive to the top and walk back down or hike up from the bottom. Good luck!

    2. Thanks for the info! Look forward to going up there!

    3. Let me know what you find.