Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Birding the last couple days of April and my totals for the month

Lesser Yellowlegs, rail trail, Amherst, MA, Apr 30, 2019
Mute Swan, Lake Warner, Hadley,  MA, Apr 30, 2019 (iPhone shot through binoculars)
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 30, 2019
The final day of the month started off as so many others have with rain showers and gloomy conditions.  I started the day at Winsor Dam where I hoped to find some birds brought down by the rain but didn't have too much luck there beyond a few Bufflehead.  I had some errands to run in Hadley so I headed over that way with stops at Lake Warner and the rail trail in Amherst with highlights including a Red breasted Merganser with Common Mergansers at Lake Warner and my first Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warbler along the rail trail as well as both species of yellowlegs.  I also made a run through Quabbin Park but didn't find anything too unusual but there were still some birds singing despite the conditions.  An early afternoon stop back at Winsor Dam found a few notable waterfowl species almost certainly brought down by the weather including a Long tailed Duck and two White winged Scoters as well as more Bufflehead.  There were also masses of swallows feeding low over the water but I couldn't find anything unusual among the gathering.
Orange crowned Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, Apr 29, 2019
Orange crowned Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, Apr 29, 2019
Chipping Sparrow, Covey WMA, Belchertown, MA, Apr 29, 2019
Eastern Phoebe, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 29, 2019
Yesterday provided a rare respite from the recent rainy, cool weather and I took advantage of it by hitting a number of spots during the morning. Although it was sunny to start it was also cold with a low of 30 degrees but the sun warmed things up a bit but the high temperatures never got out of the 50's.  I started my morning off at UMASS.  I found my first Wood Thrush for the year but it was otherwise rather quiet and I was on my way back to my car when I heard an odd chip note that sounded interesting. I tracked down the call and found an Orange crowned Warbler! Orange crowned Warblers can be tough to track down in western Massachusetts and are more likely to be found in the late fall than in the spring.  More details on the warbler can be found at the following link: Orange crowned Warbler.  After getting my fill of the warbler I headed over to the nearby rail trail in Amherst. The rail trail turned up my first Northern Parula and Warbling Vireo for the year in Hampshire County.  Without lots of activity along the rail trail I headed back east to Quabbin Park where I had a total of 44 species but nothing too unexpected.  Overall for the morning I had my first double digit count of warblers for the year in the county so far...just a taste of what is soon to arrive.  A more detailed look at warblers for the month can be found at the following link:April warblers.

Despite the month being way above average for rainfall (nearly setting the all time record for the month) the temperatures were near or above normal until the last week of the month and this certainly allowed for some migrants to move in, carried north via the southerly winds.

The month produced my largest April total in Hampshire County ever with a total of 151 species with a nice mix of early arriving migrants as well as a number of rarities.  Taking a look at the last five years of data (thanks to eBird mobile) not only has the month featured an above normal number of species, the year to date totals are also above normal.

April species in Hampshire County
2019  -151
2018  -131
2017  -140
2016  -131
2015  -120

Year to date totals -Hampshire County
2019  -166
2018  -147
2017  -156
2016  -158
2015  -148
Bobcat, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 28, 2019
Bobcat, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 26, 2019
Black Bear, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 26, 2019
Yellow rumped Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 25, 2019
Ruby throated Hummingbird, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 30, 2019
The cameras around the house continue to produce some great stuff (both videos and still photos) with multiple mammals around including quite a few captures of the Bobcat.  The two active Hooded Merganser nests both have cameras set up to capture the ducklings when they fledge from the boxes.  I finally had to stop filling my final suet feeder after a bear made a visit a few night ago...until next year!  The water feature camera and the hummingbird feeder camera should continue to produce throughout the year until fall.

Links to videos below:
Porcupine video
Bobcat video
Bobcat video #2
Bobcat video #3
Bobcat video #4
Raccoon video

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