Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Third week of May ends with lots of migrants


Black billed Cuckoos mating, Quabbin Park, MA, May 21, 2018
Rose breasted Grosbeak, Quabbin Park, MA, May 21, 2018
Baltimore Oriole, Quabbin Park, MA, May 21, 2018
Bay breasted Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 21, 2018
Looking northeast from Enfield Lookout, Quabbin Park, MA, May 21, 2018
Olive sided Flycatcher, Quabbin Park, MA, May 21, 2018
Prairie Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 17, 2018
Wilson's Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 17, 2018
American Redstart building nest, Quabbin Park, MA, May 17, 2018
Cape May Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 17, 2018
Ruby throated Hummingbird building nest, Quabbin Park, MA, May 17, 2018
Now that the third full week of May has come to an end migration is starting to slow (but it is not over yet).  The last week has featured some really great days of birding with obvious groups of migrants moving through.  The numbers of Cape May, Bay breasted and Tennessee Warblers continue to be impressive with way above average numbers compared to a typical spring around here (I will do a more in depth look at this once the migration season comes to an end).  Unfortunately it looks to be another huge impact from Gypsy Moths with the voracious bastards seemingly everywhere.  The cuckoo numbers seem to be quite high once again but their ability to make a dent in the incredible numbers of caterpillars is negligible.  Fingers crossed for an early onset of the fungi that kills them off before the damage is too severe but that seems like a remote hope at this point.
Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 22, 2018
Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 17, 2018
Mourning Warblers have started to arrive and I have found several so far and all have turned out to be from the eastern regiolect.  It appears to be another good migration season for them here with about half a dozen so far.

I will just list out below the last several days with selected eBird lists with additional photos and audio.

5/17
Quabbin Park (broke 100 species in a single visit)

5/19
Silvio Conte NWR-Fort River
UMASS

5/20
Quabbin Park
Home (entire afternoon with the Griffiths)

5/21
UMASS
Quabbin Park

5/22
Quabbin Park
Red Fox adult with prey, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 21, 2018
Red Fox kit licking his lips as dinner walks away, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 21, 2018
Red Fox kit, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 19, 2018
Veery, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 22, 2018
American Redstart, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 22, 2018
Gray Catbird, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 19, 2018
The cameras at the house continue to capture both birds and mammals including the family of Red Foxes.  I also finally found some banded Gary Catbirds back in the yard (just two so far but more catbirds seem to be arriving the last couple days).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Epic day produces 29 species of warbler among many migrants


Cape May Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Cape May Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Northern Parula, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Black and White Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Black throated Blue Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Yellow Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Yellow bellied Flycatcher, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Bay breasted Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Magnolia Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
Cape May Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
Wilson's Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
An epic day of birding today with an amazing total of 29 species of warbler including my first Mourning Warbler of the season plus two even more unusual species with a rare Hooded Warbler and a rare in spring Orange crowned Warbler (it is a banner day when Mourning Warbler is the third best warbler species!).  Besides the warblers there were other migrants around including a singing Lincoln's Sparrow and a couple Green Herons chasing each other around.  After a couple hours at UMASS I then headed over to Quabbin Park in search of more migrants.  A few hours at Quabbin Park added a number of other species including my first Olive sided Flycatcher and Yellow bellied Flycatcher plus lots of other migrants.  The most impressive sighting for me was watching a group of three Cape May Warblers feeding at the top of oaks for several minutes and when I took a break and lowered my binoculars I saw first two, then three and then four male Cape May Warblers at near eye level!  I snapped away a number of photos and then just took in the spectacle of having this species so close.  The one area held an amazing seven Cape May Warblers (this is more then I see most seasons!)  The number of Cape May Warblers, Tennessee Warblers and Bay breasted Warblers continue to impress (I'll post more about this later in the season).  As the morning came to an end I decided I would make the trip over to Skinner SP to add two more warbler species to the list for the day bringing my total for the day up to 29 species...an amazing day...no need to travel very far to get good variety and numbers.  A more in depth review of the day in regards to warblers can be found at the following link: Warblers on May 16th

Cerulean Warbler building nest, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 15, 2018
Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 15, 2018
Black throated Green Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 15, 2018
Ruby throated Humming Bird, Quabbin Park, MA, May 15, 2018
Wilson's Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 15, 2018
Blackpoll Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 15, 2018
Yesterday I spent the morning with Devin and Aidan in a successful attempt to get them a single day total in the county topping 100 species (without doing a lot of driving).  We started before dawn and covered Quabbin Park for several hours were we racked up 90 species with many highlights including a brief look at Eastern Whip Poor Wills, a Ruby throated Hummingbird building a nest, a Swainson's Thrush singing, 24 species of warbler including multiple Bay breasted, Cape May and Tennessee Warblers and lots of other stuff with a number of species collecting nesting material or building nests.  Although I think we could have surpassed the century mark with more effort in the park we decided to try our luck at Lake Wallace before heading over to Skinner SP (to max out the warblers for the day).  Lake Wallace added a few species but nothing out of the ordinary.  Skinner SP was productive with multiple Worm eating Warblers and at least three Cerulean Warblers, including a female building a nest.  We somehow missed junco at the summit but got a few raptors.
Bay breasted Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2018
Louisiana Waterthrush, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2018
On Monday I hit a few spots in the morning and managed to find a total of 26 species of warblers during visits to Orchard HillMitch's WaySkinner SP and Quabbin Park.
Magnolia Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 15, 2018
Red Fox kit, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 14, 2018
Eastern Phoebe nest with five eggs, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 15, 2018
The Red Fox family continues to be seen around the yard and I added the 40th species to my water feature list (and the 13th warbler species there) when the camera captured a Magnolia Warbler.  Multiple species have now started nesting in the yard with some eggs noted.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Bird-a-thon and other odd and ends

American Coot, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, May 12, 2018
Great Egret, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, May 12, 2018
Bufflehead, Quabbin Park, MA, May 12, 2018
Magnolia Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 12, 2018
The annual Mass Audubon bird-a-thon occurred last evening and continued through today and I provided some assistance to the team from Arcadia.  I stayed local throughout the event covering Quabbin Park and a few other spots in Belchertown and had a productive time in the field.  Last evening was sunny and a little breezy but today was much cooler with highs just in the low 50's with a cold rain starting late morning.  Thankfully the rain held off for the first few hours of the morning allowing me to track down some birds that typical are tough to find when it is rainy and cool.  Some decent numbers of several species of migrant passerines but nothing too unexpected.  The most unusual species during my time at Quabbin Park was a male Bufflehead.  Just before the rain really started coming down Wilson and I took a walk at Lake Wallace and turned up a Great Egret (we returned later and found the egret still there as well as a rare for the county American Coot that was found by another observer).  Once the rain started we headed over to Winsor Dam in search of migrants put down by the weather and we were not disappointed with several unusual species showing up including three Lesser Scaup, a Long tailed Duck, three Red breasted Mergansers, a Horned Grebe and several Common Loons and Double crested Cormorants plus five species of swallows.  Overall for the day I ended up with 102 species and 104 species for the entire 24 hour period.
Worm eating Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 8, 2018
Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 8, 2018
Brewster's Warbler, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2018
Northern Waterthrush, Pelham, MA, May 8, 2018
Black and White Warbler with nest material, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 8, 2018
Nashville Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2018
Eastern Towhee, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2018
Canada Warbler, rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 10, 2018
Ovenbird, Quabbin Park, MA, May 10, 2018
Yellow Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 10, 2018
The previous few days have all been quite pleasant with mostly sunny skies and average to above average temperatures for highs, cool morning lows and low humidity (feeling more like September then May).  On Wednesday I spent most of the morning at Quabbin Park trying to see how many species I could find and managed a total of 96 species there.  My other mornings have been spent covering various spots from Quabbin over to Hadley and seeing quite a few migrants moving through.  The Brewster's Warbler continued through at least May 8 in Amherst but I could not locate it after that despite a few visits.
Red Fox kit, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 8, 2018
Red Fox  adult with kit, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 9, 2018
Red Fox adult getting egg, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 8, 2018
Red Fox kit, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 9, 2018
The Red Fox family continues to be seen around the yard most days and I have captured lots of images of various motion cameras.  I left out a couple of unhatched merganser eggs several days ago and they finally found them on Wednesday.  Sadly it appears my second nest in my duck boxes was unsuccessful as the eggs have still not hatched and I have never found a duck sitting on the eggs plus the date for hatching is well past at this point.  I assume something happened to the adult bird and she never returned to finish incubation.