Thursday, April 20, 2023


Yellow throated Warbler, Mt Toby State Forest, Sunderland, MA, Apr 20, 2023
Yellow throated Warbler, Mt Toby State Forest, Sunderland, MA, Apr 20, 2023
Yellow throated Warbler, Mt Toby State Forest, Sunderland, MA, Apr 20, 2023

Late yesterday I saw a report of a Yellow throated Warbler that was seen in Sunderland by Mason W. and he was able to get some photos.  I typically would not venture out of Hampshire County for a bird but for a very rare warbler I decided to make an exception.  After a brief stop at Winsor Dam I started the drive up to Mt. Toby State Forest in Sunderland to try my luck in finding the bird.  Relocating rare warblers can be a bit frustrating and many times the bird is not relocated.  I hoped that the less than optimal migration conditions overnight would keep the bird in the area.  I arrived and started walking the road and within a short time I heard an odd song that I was almost certain was the target and after a bit of looking I had some distant looks in bad light.  The bird was very active and singing fairly often (a bit of an odd song compared to other Yellow throated Warblers I have heard but the species is quite variable in its song).  I got some recordings and then spent some time trying to get better looks and some photos.  I eventually had the bird work down lower as I was in an elevated spot and I got some decent photos.  After its brief decent down lower it went back up to the upper parts of the trees and continued to sing even as I was leaving.  Worth the trip out of the county to see the bird for sure.  I have only had one other sighting of the species in the state and that was a bird coming to a feeder in Worcester that I saw on Christmas Eve 2020 during the height of the pandemic when I could not travel out of the country in the winter.  Although a bit more of a common vagrant on the coast inland records of Yellow throated Warblers are very sparse with only a handful of records in western mass ever recorded, totally perhaps a dozen ever.  For more details on the sighting, the background of the species in western mass and even more photos go to the following link: Yellow throated Warbler.  If one does go up to Sunderland to try for the bird please do not use playback as there is always the chance the male there could attract a mate and try to breed in the area.  To see the bird you just need a little patience and eventually you will be rewarded with looks (assuming it stick around).

Common Grackle, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, Apr 20, 2023
Yellow rumped Warbler 'myrtle' and Palm Warbler 'yellow', Rail trail, Amherst, MA, Apr 20, 2023
Black capped Chickadee excavating nest hole, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, Apr 20, 2023
Yellow rumped Warbler 'myrtle', Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Apr 20, 2023
Chipping Sparrow, Lake Wallace, Belchertown, MA, Apr 20, 2023

After seeing the Yellow throated Warbler I hit a few other spots on my way back home including the rail trail in Amherst and Lake Wallace.  While I was out on the rail trail I saw that an experienced birder had another sighting of a Yellow throated Warbler down at Stebbins in southern Hampden County.  I certainly kept an eye and ear out for another one during my above mentioned stops as well as others during the morning but no luck.  Having two Yellow throated Warblers in the valley at the same time is without precedent and I'm certain there are others out there just waiting to be found.  I would encourage everyone to get out over the next couple days (at least) to look and listen for a Yellow throated Warbler...especially in Hampshire County!  I would be forever in ones debt if they find one in the county and I get to see it.


  1. I got a chance to see the yellow throated warbler very cool

    1. Glad you got to see it...a very rare treat for western mass.