Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sightings from the last few days

Cedar Waxwing, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 17, 2019
American Redstart, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 17, 2019
'Traill's' Flycatcher, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 17, 2019
Barred Owl, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 17, 2019
White tailed Deer, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 17, 2019
Black Bear, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 17, 2019
Black Bear, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 17, 2019
Yesterday I made a trip back up to Prescott Peninsula to conduct some additional field bird surveys as well as to follow up on the Hooded Warbler I found there last week.  Sadly the Hooded Warbler was not relocated in the area it was seen in previously but hopefully it is still around somewhere close by.  Nothing else too unusual around for the couple hours I was there but did have some great looks at a large Black Bear as it meandered up the road in front of me. 
Turkey Vultures, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Jun 18, 2019
Sea Lamprey, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Jun 18, 2019
Sea Lamprey, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Jun 18, 2019
Green Heron, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Jun 18, 2019
Before the rain came in this morning and between running a few errands I made stops at Lake Wallace and the Holyoke Dam.  Not too much at Lake Wallace but the Holyoke Dam was a bit more active.  The most noteworthy sightings at the dam included at least 52 Turkey Vultures (oddly no Black Vultures) taking advantage of the various fish that didn't make it over the dam.  The most obvious species they seemed to be feeding on were Sea Lamprey.  Also present were a half dozen each of Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons.
Tree Swallow nest with eggs, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 17, 2019
Gray Catbird with leg bands, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 18, 2019
American Robin fledgling, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 14, 2019
At home the various species continue their breeding activity with House Wrens feeding young in one of the boxes and a clutch of Tree Swallow eggs in another box.  I also caught the latest banded Gray Catbird coming into the water feature again as well as the appearance of the first American Robin fledgling.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Breeding Bird Survey route completed for another year

Bobolink, Monson, MA, Jun 9, 2019
Wood Duck walking through a freshly plowed field (nowhere near any water), Monson, MA, Jun 9, 2019
Common Ravens, Palmer, MA, Jun 9, 2019
I completed my annual Breeding Bird Survey route today under perfect conditions with sunny skies, low humidity, no breeze and temperatures starting off in the high 40's and topping off near 60 by the end of the route.  The route starts in Belchertown and continues south to the Connecticut line with three minute stops every half mile.  This is now my ninth year conducting the survey and this one turned out to have the highest diversity yet with a total of 83 species with 1273 individuals (more details on previous years at the bottom of the post).

The ten most abundant species are listed in the table below (% of sightings for all stops)

Red eyed Vireo                           80%
American Robin                         72%
Chipping Sparrow                      70%
Northern Cardinal                      60%
Gray Catbird                              56%
Ovenbird                                    50%
Common Yellowthroat               46%
Mourning Dove                          46%
American Redstart                     42%
House Wren                               40%

Among the 83 species were a number notable sightings including Fish Crows, an Osprey, a Red shouldered Hawk, multiple Black billed and Yellow billed Cuckoos, Willow Flycatchers and 13 species of warbler including a late Blackpoll Warbler, a Nashville Warbler and two Canada Warblers.  Of those mentioned above five are new for the route..at least as long as I have been conducting it (the five new species are Blackpoll Warbler, Osprey, Fish Crow, Nashville Warbler and Willow Flycatcher).  I have now seen a total of 105 species while conducting the route since taking it over in 2010.  Total number of species seen for each year I have conducted the survey below:

year                 # of species
2010                 71
2011                 64
2012                 56
2013                 67
2014                 70
2015                 75
2016                 78
2017                 73
2018                 71
2019                 83

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Another Hooded Warbler among others on a trip to Prescott Peninsula (and other odd and ends) to begin the second week of June

Hooded Warbler, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Chestnut sided Warbler, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Chestnut sided Warbler, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Ruby throated Hummingbird, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Common Yellowthroat, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Black throated Green Warbler, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Yellow bellied Sapsucker, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
I enjoyed a sunny and warm morning with little humidity by hitting up a few spots near the house before heading up to Prescott Peninsula to scout out my whip poor will survey route and conduct a few field surveys (with a brief stop at Gate 8 to check on the Acadian Flycatchers).  I started the morning at Lake Wallace looking for marsh birds but didn't hear any.  I did have a few family groups of Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers but not too much else noteworthy.  I then headed north stopping briefly at Gate 8 where I heard at least two (possibly three) Acadian Flycatchers singing in the same area they have bred in past years.  I finally made it up to Prescott Peninsula just before 6:30 and covered several miles checking my survey route.  There were descent numbers of breeders throughout plus a rather unexpected sighting when I heard and then saw a Hooded Warbler.  I was on the lower third of the peninsula and heard the bird initially while driving.  It took some time to finally get a look at the bird and get a few photos.  The location looked good as a possible breeding location so I will keep tabs on it over the next several weeks...more details on the Hooded Warbler here.  My nearly four hours on the peninsula produced a total of 67 species.
Gray Catbird with leg bands, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Black Bear, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Giant Swallowtail, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 1, 2019

The cameras at home have caught a few notables the last several days including the first resighting of one of the birds banded in the yard last week plus a Black Bear visiting the water feature again.  There have also been a fair number of butterflies around including my first Giant Swallowtail of the year.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Neighborhood Nestwatch year five

Song Sparrow with leg bands, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Black capped Chickadee with leg bands, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Gray Catbird with leg bands, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
House Wren with leg bands, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Hairy Woodpecker, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Tufted Titmouse, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Veery, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Today marked the fifth year of banding birds in the yard as part of the Neighborhood Nestwatch program. The weather was sunny and breezy which is not the optimal conditions as the birds can see the nets when the sun is shining on them and the breeze moves the nets enough to make them visible. Nonetheless we managed to catch a wide variety of species including five individuals of the target species that are part of the program. The target species caught included a House Wren, a Gray Catbird, two Black capped Chickadees and a Song Sparrow. The target species were all banded with unique color codes so later resigntings can be done without having to recapture the birds. Five individuals of target species was a bit less than we typically get but we made up for it somewhat by capturing a larger than typical number of non target species including a couple of Tufted Titmouse, a Pine Warbler, a Hairy Woodpecker and a Veery. We had never caught a Pine Warbler or Hairy Woodpecker in the past so it was neat to see these two species. There were a number of near misses including an Eastern Phoebe that sat on top of a net, a few more catbirds that came in close as well as a close American Robin (as well as a number of other non target species that came in close). All things considered with the less than optimal weather conditions it turned out to be a fairly good morning of banding.  A thank you to Corey and Sebastian for coming by to conduct the banding operation.  Posts from the previous years of banding can be found here:2018201720162015.

Over the past five years we have had the following number of target species plus non target species:

Year            Target species              Non target species        Total
2015            8                                  1                                    9
2016            8                                  1                                    9
2017            8 *                               1                                    9
2018            7                                  1                                    8
2019            5                                  5                                    10   

*additional 3 target bird (American Robins) in 2017 during second visit to place geolocaters on birds

Additional photos in the following flickr album.