Saturday, June 23, 2018

Breeding Bird Survey route completed and other sightings the last couple weeks

Looking toward remains of tornado on far hill, Monson, MA, Jun 22, 2018
Eastern Box Turtle remains, Conant brook Reservoir, Monson, MA, Jun 22, 2018
I completed by annual Breeding Bird Survey route yesterday travelling from Belchertown south through Ware, Palmer and Monson down to nearly the Connecticut line.  The route starts bright and early at 4:42 am with three minute stops every half mile along the 25 mile route.  I managed to find a total of 71 species with 1042 individuals.  The total number of species is down slightly from the last few years but around the expected average.  Below are the number of species each year since I have conducted the survey:


The ten most frequent species by a percentage of stops present include the following:

Red eyed Vireo  (66%)
Tufted Titmouse  (66%)
Chipping Sparrow  (64%)
Black capped Chickadee  (62%)
American Robin  (50%)
Mourning Dove  (48%)
House Wren  (48%)
Gray Catbird  (48%)
Ovenbird  (48%)
Northern Cardinal  (44%)

In addition to the birds I had several mammals including White tailed Deer, Raccoon, Eastern Cottontail, Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel and Eastern Chipmunk.  I also sadly found a dead Eastern Box Turtle at Conant Brook Reservoir.

Virginia Rail juvenile, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jun 16, 2018
Virginia Rails (adult with juvenile in background), Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jun 16, 2018
Great Horned Owl fledgling, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jun 16, 2018
House Wren with leg bands carrying food, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 15, 2018
House Wren with leg bands carrying food, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 15, 2018
Blue gray Gnatcatchers at nest, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 14, 2018
American Redstart on nest, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 14, 2018
Great Blue Heron on nest, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jun 11, 2018
American Robin building nest, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 21, 2018
As the breeding season continues there are fledglings starting to be seen as well as a number of birds in nests.
Turkey Vultures, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Jun 8, 2018
The Holyoke Dam continues to be a great spot to see large numbers of vultures (both Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures) as well as Great Blue Herons and Chimney Swifts.  I stopped by the dam on my way home on the 20th and had a couple Black Vultures and 52 Turkey Vultures.  An earlier trip there on June 8 also produced two Black Vultures but an even higher number of Turkey Vultures (63)...the highest single location count I have ever had of the species in Hampshire County.  I wish the location was a little closer as it certainly would produce additional notable species with frequent visits.
Brewster's Warbler, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, Jun 13, 2018
Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 8, 2018
As far as warblers go the Brewster's Warbler I first found in Amherst on May was still present as of June 13 in the same area.  The Mourning Warbler I had singing on territory trying to attract a mate in Quabbin Park was present though the 10th but has not been detected during several subsequent visits so it appears to have moved on.
Red Fox, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 20, 2018
The Red Fox family has become much more sporadically seen on the cameras but at least some are still around.
Indigo Bunting, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 8, 2018
The camera at the water feature captured another new species on June 8 when a female Indigo Bunting showed up (species #41 for the water feature).

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