Sunday, December 31, 2017

End of year wrap up

Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 20, 2017
Wood Stork, Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Boynton Beach,  FL, Feb 6, 2017
Cuban Pewee, Owl Hole Rd, Grand  Bahama, Feb 10, 2017
Jamaican Spindalis, Blue Mountains NP, Jamaica, Mar 10, 2017
Mexican Jay, Big Bend NP, TX, Apr 10, 2017
California Quail, River Rush Ranch, Odell, OR, July 18, 2017
Green throated Carib, Grahme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Barbados, Dec 14, 2017
I added a total of 73 life birds this year bringing my life list up to 1325 with the lifers added in the following locations as follows:  18 in the eastern Caribbean in December, 6 in Texas in April, 36 in Jamaica in March, 10 in the Bahamas in February and 3 in Florida in February.  I found a total of 461 species overall for the year and submitted 2611 eBird lists.

Although not trying for another Hampshire County big year I still managed a respectful total of 224 with three species added to my overall county list including Painted BuntingCattle Egret, and MacGillivray's Warbler with my current Hampshire County total at 293.

It was a good year for warblers for me, both locally and on my numerous trips to more exotic locations.  More on the warblers with lots of photos can be found at the following links:  End of year wrap up of warblers and Photo summary of warblers 2017
Red headed Woodpecker, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jan 5, 2017
Ruddy Duck, Quabbin Park, MA, Jan 4, 2017
The first part of the year featured some warmer than typical periods in January and February interspersed with more typical winter weather. (post on a recording setting warm time in February Warm weather in February.  Among the notables around were the continued Red headed Woodpecker at Lake Wallace, a Ruddy Duck early in January and a number of unusual waterfowl that took advantage of open water that continued through the period.
Prairie Warbler, Grand Bahama, Feb 9, 2017
Western Spindalis, Lucyana NP, Grand Bahama, Feb 8, 2017
Painted Bunting, Grand Bahama, Feb 7, 2017
Cuban Emerald, Grand Bahama, Feb 10, 2017
Wood Stork, Boynton Beach, FL, Feb 6, 2017
My first trip away from the local area occurred in early February with a trip down to southern Florida and then over to Grand Bahama before returning to Florida (where we got delayed due to a snowstorm back at home).  Links to that trip here:  Florida trip part 1Bahamas part 1Bahamas part 2Florida part 2.  The trip had lots of highlights both in Florida and in the Bahamas.  It was my first trip over to Grand Bahama and I managed to find all my targets.
Jamaican Tody, Blue Mountains NP, Jamaica, Mar 10, 2017
Jamaican Vireo, Blue Mountains NP, Jamaica, Mar 10, 2017
Jamaican Woodpecker, Blue Mountains NP, Jamaica, Mar 10, 2017
Arrowhead Warbler, Ecclesdown Rd, Jamaica, Mar 10, 2017
Streamertail, Ecclesdown Rd, Jamaica, Mar 10, 2017
March brought my next long distance trip with my destination being Jamaica.  I once again had some great weather and great luck birding finding all of the 27 endemic species on the island as well as lots of other species.  Link to the trip here: Jamaica trip
Golden cheeked Warbler, Balcones Canyonlands NWR, TX, Apr 8, 2017
Black capped Vireo, S. Llano River SP, TX, Apr 9, 2017
View from Pinnacles Trail, Big Bend NP, TX, Apr 10, 2017
Mexican Jay, Big Bend NP, TX, Apr 10, 2017
Colima Warbler, Big Bend NP, TX, Apr 10, 2017
With the next month of the year came my next big trip away to warmer temperatures.  The Texas hill country and Big Bend were my next destinations with the main focus being finding the range limited Golden cheeked Warbler, Colima Warbler and Black capped Vireo

Two posts from the trip can be found here:  Texas Hill CountryBig Bend

The end of the month of April brought in the first big influx of migrants for the spring- End of April migrants

Painted Bunting, Huntington, MA, May 2, 2017
Cattle Egret, Hadley, MA, May 7, 2017
Golden winged Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 31, 2017
The month of May had many highlights as spring migration peaked in the area and brought in some unusual species including a Painted BuntingCattle Egret, and Golden winged Warbler.  The Painted Bunting and Cattle Egret were both new species in the county for me (#291 and #292).
Cape May Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 7, 2017
Ovenbird, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2017
Blackburnian Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2017
Yellow Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 11, 2017
Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 20, 2017
Yellow throated Vireo, Quabbin Park, MA, May 21, 2017
Scarlet Tanager, Quabbin Park, MA, May 923 2017
Other highlights included my highest ever count of Mourning Warblers in the spring around here including a pair that stayed and bred at Quabbin Park.  I had a total of 31 species of warblers this spring with a full account at the following link:  Spring warblers
Gray Catbird with bands, Home, Belchertown, MA, June 5, 2017
Hooded Warbler, Mt Tom State Reservation, Easthampton, MA, June 12, 2017
June brought my typical bird surveys (Breeding Bird Survey, Prescott Peninsula field surveys, Eastern Whip Poor Will surveysNeighborhood Nestwatch program and others)
A few other notable species seen during the month included Hooded Warbler

Glossy Ibis, Oxbow, Northampton, July 31, 2017
Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, July 10, 2017
The usual doldrums of July were broken up by a number of noteworthy sightings including a couple of Glossy Ibis at the end of the month and the first indication that Mourning Warblers were breeding at Quabbin Park (Mourning Warbler in JulyBreeding Mourning Warblers)
American Robin being fitted with GPS locator, Home, Belchertown, MA, July 7, 2017
American Robin being with GPS locator, Home, Belchertown, MA, July 7, 2017
As an extension of the Neighborhood nestwatch program the yard was chosen as just one of a handful of spots were American Robins would be captured and fitted with GPS tags to track the movement of the birds over the course of the year.  The birds need to be captured next spring and the data downloaded...more about the program here: GPS tags on American Robins
Mt Hood from plane, OR, July 15, 2017
 Western Tanager, River Rush Ranch, Odell, OR, July 18, 2017
American Dipper, River Rush Ranch, Odell, OR, July 18, 2017
Looking north from Cape Lookout, OR, July 19, 2017
Wilson's Warbler, Cape Lookout SP, OR, July 19, 2017
Common Murre, Depoe Bay, OR, July 21, 2017
In mid July we took a trip out to Oregon for about a week with our time split between an area near Mt Hood and along the Columbia Gorge and time on the coast north of Pacific City.  Links to the trip as follows: Oregon part 1Oregon part 2.
Little Blue Heron, Fitzgerald Lake, Northampton, MA, Aug 4, 2017
Marsh Wren, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Aug 3, 2017
 Red headed Woodpeckers, Montezuma NWR, NY, Aug 26, 2017
Trumpeter Swans, Montezuma NWR, NY, Aug 26, 2017
August produced a number of notables including a Little Blue Heron in Northampton and a Marsh Wren at Lake Wallace in Belchertown which appeared to be trying to attract a mate as it remained in the area for several days singing over and over again (an oddly unusual species in the county).  We also took a short trip out to the Finger Lakes where I managed a little birding along with Ian one day.
Buff breasted Sandpiper, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Sep 7, 2017
Dickcissel, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Sep 18, 2017
September featured the typical big push of migrants with some really good days...a few posts from the month help illustrate the diversity:September 4September 10September 13.  Among the many highlights were multiple Dickcissels abd a Buff breasted Sandpiper.

September also featured some major hurricanes that hit areas in the Caribbean as well as a few spots in the United States.  Damage to some of the islands can be best described as catastrophic with several species substantially impacted with some to the point of near extinction in the wild.
Orange crowned Warbler, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 19, 2017
Vesper Sparrow, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Oct 13, 2017
Swamp Sparrow, Arcadia, Northampton, MA, Oct 4, 2017
October continued the fall migration season with the sparrows coming in in large numbers and waterfowl started to move in decent numbers too.  Warbler variety and numbers dropped as the month ticked on I but still managed to find 17 species including two Orange crowned Warblers and several Connecticut Warblers.
MacGillivray's Warbler, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Nov 13, 2017
White eyed Vireo, Arcadia, Northampton, Nov 13, 2017
Snowy Owl, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Nov 18, 2017
November is certainly known to attract a few rarities and lingering species from time to time but this November was exceptionally good with highlights including a MacGillivray's Warbler, Snowy OwlWhite eyed Vireo, Clay colored Sparrow and Baltimore Oriole.  I finished the month with 113 species in the county, which eclipsed my previous best November here by 13 species...a really good month for unusual stuff!

The last month of the year featured a few more late lingering species including my first warblers I have had in the county in December with both Yellow rumped Warblers and Common Yellowthroat still around in the early part of the month.  The rest of the month turned much colder and snowier with a continued decrease in the number of species during the month.  I did however have my best December ever in the county with 86 species tallied (way above my normal for December when I typically average a total around 65).  I also got elected in early December to serve a term on the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee (MARC)...quite an honor to be considered worthy enough to serve alongside many exceptional birders as we review unusual species reported in the state.
Lesser Antillean Tanager, Morne Gazo Forest Reserve, Grenada, Dec 15, 2017
Barbados Bullfinch, Grahme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Barbados, Dec 14, 2017
Martinique Oriole, De Rivera Blanche, Martinique, Dec 13, 2017
White breasted Thrasher, Reserve Naturelle de La Caravelle, Martinique, Dec 13, 2017
We also made a trip down to the Caribbean to take a cruise around the eastern Caribbean in mid December.  The original itinerary had us leaving from San Juan and visiting St Croix, St Marteen, Dominica, Barbados and Grenada.  My main goals were to see the Plumbeous Warbler on Dominica and the endemic species on Barbados and Grenada.  However some devastating hurricanes moved through the area we planned to visit virtually destroying some of the islands so the ports of call needed to be changed.  The new itinerary would be St Kitts, Antigua, Martinique, Barbados and Grenada.  I initially had hopes of trying to get over to Barbuda during our stop at Antigua but the logistics just would not work plus the island is still officially closed.  Full posting from the trip at the following link: Eastern Caribbean trip
Olive sided Flycatcher, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 28, 2017
Hooded Mergansers eggs in nest box #1, Home, Belchertown, MA, Mar 24, 2017
Hooded Merganser eggs in nest box #2, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 3, 2017
American Robin nestlings, Home, Belchertown, MA, June 5, 2017
House Wren carrying food to nest, Home, Belchertown, MA, Aug 2, 2017
House Wren nestlings, Home, Belchertown, Aug 5, 2017
It was a good year right around the house this year with 124 species in the yard including four new species.  This year also marked the first year I had two active duck boxes at the same time with both boxes occupied by Hooded Mergansers.  I also had a number of other successful nests of a variety of species including Tree Swallow, House Wren and American Robin.
Field Sparrow, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 11, 2017
Black Bear, Home, Belchertown, MA, Sep 24, 2017
Eastern Coyote, Home, Belchertown, MA, Oct 6, 2017
Red Fox, Home, Belchertown, MA, Nov 4, 2017
Tennessee Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Sep 26, 2017
Chestnut sided Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 20, 2017
Winter Wren, Home, Belchertown, MA, Oct 18, 2017
I have installed a few more motion cameras around the yard in addition to the water feature camera.  A Field Sparrow showed up in early May and is a species I have never seen in the yard before.  I have now recorded a total of 37 species at the water feature with six new species for the year (American Redstart, Chestnut sided Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Tennessee Warbler and Winter Wren).