Sunday, April 21, 2019

Third week of April

Blue gray Gnatcatcher, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 21, 2019
Black and White Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 21, 2019
Eastern Towhee, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 21, 2019
Solitary Sandpiper, Belchertown, MA, Apr 18, 2019
The last week has featured an impressive arrival of early migrants and some unusual species thanks mainly to multiple days of sustained southerly winds and occasional rain.  Prior to today notables have included Spotted Sandpipers, Bonaparte's Gull, both scaup and Ruddy Duck on April 15th, Common Gallinule and Marsh Wren on April 16th, a Solitary Sandpiper in Belchertown on April 18th, a Chimney Swift in Northampton on April 19th and a Red Crossbill yesterday at Quabbin Park.  I figured with more strong southerly winds overnight that this morning would feature more migrants showing up and I was right.  I started off early at Winsor Dam where I had a trilling Eastern Screech Owl and my first Eastern Whip Poor Will of the year.  I then headed over to Lake Wallace mainly in search of marsh birds but did not find anything unusual.  I was thinking of heading over to Hadley but instead decided to stick closer to home with a visit to Quabbin Park.  Many notables around the park including at least a dozen Yellow bellied Sapsuckers, four Blue headed Vireos, two House Wrens, at least 14 Blue gray Gnatcatchers, nearly fifty Chipping Sparrows (actually less today than yesterday when I almost 90 there), 30+ Eastern Towhee and half a dozen species of warblers including my first Black and White Warblers and two early Black throated Green Warblers.  More specifics on warblers for the past week can be found at warblers for the third week in April.

To illustrate how good it has been this month (and year) so far for both early migrants and rarities in the county I looked at my eBird data for the last few years and found that so far this month I have had 125 species which is 12 ahead of my previous best year by the third week of April.  For the year I have 145 species so far with the average for the last four years being 130 (with the previous best YTD total being 133).  Certainly above average all around even without trying for every rarity that has shown up.
Eggs in duck box #2, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 21, 2019
Palm Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 21, 2019
Lots of activity at home too with both migrants and nesting species around.  The second duck box now has even more eggs and the first box has a full clutch with the Hooded Merganser sitting on the eggs.


  1. It’s on my bucket list to see wood duck chicks jumping from their nest, hooded mergansers would be fun too! One of these days I’ll hit it just right

    1. I have actually only seen it once...wood ducks on a marsh at Quabbin. I captured some still shots last year but hopefully will get some video of it this year...stay tuned!