Friday, May 31, 2019

End of May

Swainson's Thrush, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 24, 2019
Black billed Cuckoo, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 24, 2019
Common Yellowthroat, Quabbin Park, MA, May 22, 2019
Yellow Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 22, 2019
Bobcat, Quabbin Park, MA, May 22, 2019
Great Crested Flycatcher, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 22, 2019
Bay breasted Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 22, 2019
The last week plus of the month has been as active as ever with the tail end of migration coming through.  I will include a few eBird lists that illustrate the activity for the end of the month.

May 22
UMASS  (featuring double digit counts of Bay breasted Warblers)
Quabbin Park

May 23
Quabbin Park

May 24
rail trail-Amherst

May 25
Poverty Mountain bird survey
Rail trail-Amherst

May 26
Quabbin Park

May 27
East Meadows

May 28
Rail trail-Amherst

May 29
Mitch's Way

May 31
Quabbin Park

Gray cheeked Thrush, Quabbin Park, MA, May 20, 2019
Olive sided Flycatcher, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 18, 2019
There were many highlights for both the last week and the month overall with the most notable sightings including a dozen species of shorebirds including Black bellied Plover and Short billed Dowitcher, Black Tern, Common Tern, Least Bittern, five Olive sided Flycatchers (four at the house!), three Yellow bellied Flycatchers, Gray cheeked Thrush, White eyed Vireo and Philadelphia Vireo.

Bay breasted Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 16, 2019
Cape May Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 15, 2019
Blackpoll Warbler, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
The big story beyond the unusual or rare species mentioned above were the very large numbers of a few species of warblers including Bay breasted, Cape May, Tennessee and Blackpoll Warblers. Numbers for some species were way beyond anything I have ever had around here before. The increase is related to a large outbreak of spruce bud worm (which the species feed on) in their breeding locations which has resulted in high rates of breeding success. I delve into this in greater detail at the following link: Spring warblers

The totals for the month worked out to an amazing 178 species! This beats my previous best May's around here by three species (I had 175 species last year as well as in 2014). Below are the totals for May for the last several years:

year             total
2019            178
2018            175
2017            161
2016            169
2015            168
2014            175

At the end of May I stand at 218 species in Hampshire County year to date. This puts me well above most years by this time by a healthy margin with my best previous year being back in 2015 when I had a total of 210 by the end of May.
Hooded Mergansers (full brood out of the box), Home, Belchertown, MA, May 28, 2019
Hooded Mergansers (first duckling out of box), Home, Belchertown, MA, May 28, 2019
The second nest of Hooded Mergansers finally left the nest box on the 28th and I managed to get a few photos and a video of to video.

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