Thursday, June 22, 2017

Breeding Bird Survey completed for another year

I completed by annual Breeding Bird Survey route this morning under sunny and somewhat cool conditions early on.  The route runs from Belchertown south to the Connecticut line in Monson.  I normally conduct the survey on a weekend to avoid traffic noise but for a variety of reasons I had to run the survey route this morning.  The start time for the route is a very early 4:42am and I typically finish the 50 three minute stops a little after 9:00am.  I had a total of 73 species (with 1210 individuals) this year including a very surprising flyby Sandhill Crane at my fourth stop in Belchertown.  The top species seen this year consisted of the following with percentages of stops the species were present at:

Chipping Sparrow (70%)
Red eyed Vireo (64%)
Gray Catbird (60%)
Tufted Titmouse (58%)
Northern Cardinal (58%)
Black capped Chickadee (56%)
American Robin (56%)
American Crow (50%)
Ovenbird (50%)
Common Yellowthroat (40%)
American Goldfinch (40%)

Compared to previous years my total of 73 is fairly decent and slightly above last year with the species make up fairly typical. The last several years of species totals are listed below:

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

The damage being wrought by Gypsy Moth caterpillars this year is even worse than last year with large areas nearly devoid of leaves and looking more like late fall/winter instead of summer.  At least the cuckoos seem to be having another good year with at least one cuckoo present at ten different stops with a total of five Yellow billed Cuckoos and nine Black billed Cuckoos tallied.

While I was on my way back home after the survey I took a detour to the east over to Brookfield to follow up on a report of a Yellow throated Warbler seen and heard at Quaboag WMA.  I don't normally venture out east but I figured I would give it a try for the warbler.  No luck for me late morning but it could still be in the area.  I guess I will just have to wait until another day to add that warbler to my state list.

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