Monday, July 23, 2018

Shorebirds along the river including Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Short billed Dowitcher (among ten species total) plus July species at Lake Wallace (Least Bittern, American Coot and Marsh Wren)

Ruddy Turnstone, Hadley, MA, Jul 22, 2018
Ruddy Turnstone, Hadley, MA, Jul 22, 2018
Short billed Dowitcher, Hadley, MA, Jul 22, 2018
Semipalmated Plover, Hadley, MA, Jul 22, 2018
Pectoral Sandpiper, Hadley, MA, Jul 22, 2018
Lesser Yellowlegs, Hadley, MA, Jul 22, 2018
A nice fallout of shorebirds occurred on Sunday when rain moved in overnight and continued into the morning.  When I left work it was pouring and I very briefly checked a few spots without any luck.  The rain eventually stopped later in the morning and I got a text around midday of a number of shorebirds down along the river.  I immediately headed out and made a few stops on the way before making it to the area where the birds have previously been seen.  Thankfully the birds seen earlier were still there and had been joined by a very rare for the valley Ruddy Turnstone (my last ones were during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and before that a single back in 2004).  Just as I found the Ruddy Turnstone I had a brief look at a bird that almost certainly a Sanderling but I could not find it again.  I eventually found a total of at least nine species of shorebirds including the above mentioned Ruddy Turnstone as well as a Short billed Dowitcher, a Semipalmated Plover, 3 Pectoral Sandpipers, a dozen Semipalmated Sandpipers, 38 Least Sandpipers, 5 Killdeer, 11 Spotted Sandpipers and four Lesser Yellowlegs....a really great haul for July in the county!

I headed out this morning to once again hit the shorebird spot in hopes of turning up something else unusual.  The rain had continued on and off overnight and continued into the morning making access even more difficult due to muddy conditions.  I finally made a long walk in and then the skies really opened up which quickly soaked me completely.  I eventually reached the spot and although the rising river had covered many of the flats there were still a few birds around including a Sanderling among a small group of Least Sandpipers as well as a few Spotted Sandpipers and Killdeer.  The rain was falling too hard to even try for a photo so I headed out back toward my car.  The rain let up a bit as I got closer to the car so I tried another vantage point to view the birds but only could see a few.  Shortly after a small boat came up river and flushed everything and they all headed south.  There were a number of swallows feeding low over the river including at least two Cliff Swallows.  I assume the Sanderling was the same one I thought I had there yesterday and brought the total species of shorebirds at the spot to ten in two days.  It also was a new Hampshire County bird for me (#294).
American Coot, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jul 3, 2018
American Coot, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jul 1, 2018
Virginia Rail, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jul 8, 2018
Green Herons, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jul 1, 2018
Green Herons, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jul 21, 2018
Lake Wallace continues to produce some impressive birds this month including a very rare Least Bittern back on July 8, an American Coot and Pied billed Grebe on July 1 (with the coot seen again on July 3), Sora and Virginia Rail on July 18, a Marsh Wren from July 14 until at least July 21 , a Northern Goshawk on July 22 and at least 17 Green Herons on multiple days.

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