Friday, June 8, 2018

Warblers during the early part of June including a Mourning Warbler


Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 8, 2018
Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 8, 2018
Black throated Blue Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 6, 2018
Most of the migrant warblers have now moved through with just a few stragglers still possible.  The first week or so of June has produced a total of 21 species of warbler with almost all of them being breeders on territory.  I decided to see how many species of warbler I could see today and came up with a total of 19 (probably could have gotten 20 if I tried a bit harder to get a Magnolia Warbler).  An early morning hike up to the top of the mountain at Skinner SP produced just a single singing Worm eating Warbler and a couple of Cerulean Warblers singing occasionally.  The Cerulean Warbler nest I found back on May 15th appeared empty so either the nest was abandoned or the young have already fledged.  A Mourning Warbler seems to still be trying to attract a mate at Quabbin Park without any luck so far but I will keep checking.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

A detailed look at Tennessee, Cape May and Bay breasted Warblers this spring in Hampshire County (plus other warblers)


Cape May Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Cape May Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
Bay breasted Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 21 2018
Tennessee Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
As the month of May has ended and June has begun I will take a quick look at the warbler migration for the season and a more detailed look at Tennessee, Cape May and Bay breasted Warblers.  As predicted last fall (Fall warblers 2017) all three species turned up in above normal numbers with my highest spring totals I have ever had for all three species in Hampshire County.  Some single locations turned up more individuals in a day then I have gotten in entire seasons.  I had two days where I had seven Tennessee Warblers, a day where I had three Bay breasted Warblers and a single day with 13 Cape May Warblers (including one spot where I had eight in view at once!).  All three species have had a population upswing the last couple years due to a spruce budworm outbreak that all three species feed on.  To show the big numbers further north I have attached a link to a mind blowing eBird list from a location in Quebec where hundreds of thousands of these species (and many others) passed in a single day...should be a great fall for them too if the outbreak continues.  Below is a list of this springs totals as well as totals from the previous ten years.

Tennessee             
2018     53
2017     5
2016     17
2015     8
2014     16
2013     6
2012     8
2011     1
2010     2
2009     4
2008     5

Cape May
2018     22
2017     3
2016     1
2015     1
2014     3
2013     1
2012     0
2011     0
2010     0
2009     0
2008     0

Bay breasted
2018     12
2017     3
2016     4
2015     3
2014     9
2013     1
2012     1
2011     1
2010     0
2009     1
2008     2

Brewster's Warbler, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2018
Golden winged x Blue winged Warbler hybrid, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Mourning Warbler (Newfoundland vocal group), Quabbin Park, MA, May 29, 2018
Mourning Warbler (eastern vocal group), Quabbin Park, MA, May 17, 2018
Prairie Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 17, 2018
Nashville Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 15, 2018
Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 15, 2018
Cerulean Warbler building nest, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 15, 2018
Black and White Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Northern Waterthrush, Pelham, MA, May 8, 2018
Besides the above mentioned species it was a decent spring warbler migration overall with a total of 30 species plus a few hybrids (one Brewster's and a returning Golden winged x Blue winged Warbler).  My best single day was May 16 when I had 29 species including my third Hooded Warbler of the season and an odd for spring Orange crowned Warbler.  Other highlights for the month included at least nine different Mourning Warblers with one apparently on territory and still present through the end of the month.  After sending my recordings to a professor researching the various vocal groups of Mourning Warbler I learned most were from the Eastern group but I had at least one from the Newfoundland group.  There are a total of four distinct vocal groups (Eastern, Western, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland) and I have now recorded three of the groups migrating through the county with only the Western group not represented.  I also located a Cerulean Warbler nest at Skinner SP mid month but have not been able to get back up there to check on the progress due to construction there.




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hooded Warbler, Orange crowned Warbler and Mourning Warbler among 29(!) species of warbler today!

Cape May Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018

Cape May Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Cape May Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Northern Parula, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018

Black and White Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Black throated Blue Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Yellow Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Blackburnian Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Bay breasted Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 16, 2018
Magnolia Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
Cape May Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
Wilson's Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
Tennessee Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 16, 2018
After getting 26 species of warbler during the last two days I didn't have any real expectations to top that total today but I was wrong!  By the early afternoon today I had managed to find a total of 29 species of warblers, which I believe is my highest single day total around here.  The day started out foggy, cool and gloomy but that can actually be great for birding sometimes as it keeps the birds vocal a bit longer than if it were sunny (but it makes getting photos tough).  One of the first species I got for the day when I arrived at UMASS was a male Hooded Warbler workings through the tangles in a mixed flock..a real surprise and a taste of good things to come.  I tried to get a photo but didn't have any luck and I could not relocate after the initial sighting.  This made the third Hooded Warbler for me this spring, my best total ever.  I then explored a few other areas where I had my first Mourning Warbler of the season (I have sent the recording of the bird to a researcher who should be able to tell me what subgroup the individual comes from).  It was great to see some variety here after the removal of some great habitat over the last few years (makes me wonder how much better it could have been!).  After seeing multiple Tennessee, Wilson's, and Cape May Warblers in the tangles I headed elsewhere to check out some mature oaks and ran across another mixed species flock that contained a rare in spring Orange crowned Warbler.  I have only had this species in spring a handful of times and the individual today was feeding high in the trees among with other species, a behavior I have only seen in spring.  In fall the species stays low in dense vegetation.  After a couple hours at UMASS and 24 species of warbler, I headed over Quabbin Park for a few more hours and added a few more species of warbler bringing my total to 27.  Among the many highlights there was an amazing group of seven Cape May Warblers in a small area.  As a few fed up high I almost overlooked a group of four males feeding down low...luckily I noticed them and got some of my best views and photos of the species I think I have ever had around here.  I also found the continued Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid in his usual spot.  As the morning came to an end I decided I would make the trip over to Skinner SP to add two more warbler species (Cerulean and Worm eating Warblers) to the list for the day bringing my total for the day up to 29 species (plus the hybrid).  I didn't have a lot of time to spend there today but did see the female continuing to work on the nest I found yesterday.
Magnolia Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 15, 2018

Yesterday I added another warbler species to my water feature list when the camera caught a Magnolia Warbler stopping by (my 13th warbler species there).  So far this spring I have had 21 species of warbler in the yard but oddly enough Blue winged Warbler still remains unseen in the yard.


Monday, May 14, 2018

26 species of warbler today

Bay breasted Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2018
Bay breasted Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2018
Magnolia Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 14, 2018
Louisiana Waterthrush, Mitch's Way, Hadley, MA, May 14, 2018
I had a productive day with a total of 26 species of warblers with the highlights including multiple Bay breasted Warblers and Tennessee Warblers plus a single Cape May Warbler (no luck tracking down any Mourning Warblers).  Unfortunately the sun never showed itself until midday so most of my shots were taken in bad light.  I started the morning at Orchard Hill (which was fairly quiet but did produce some good stuff) and then headed down to Mitch's Way and Skinner SP before heading over to Quabbin Park.  Full lists with additional photos and audio.

Orchard Hill
Mitch's Way
Skinner SP
Quabbin Park

Monday, May 7, 2018

Early May brings in lots of warblers including multiple Hooded Warblers, hybrids and a report of a Swainson's Warbler

Brewster's Warbler, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 3, 2018
Brewster's Warbler, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 3, 2018
Blue Warbler x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Quabbin Park, MA, May 5, 2018


Black and White Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 5, 2018
Chestnut sided Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 5, 2018
Prairie Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 5, 2018
Blue winged Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 5, 2018
Blackburnian Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 5, 2018
 Northern Parula, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 3, 2018
 Wilson's Warbler, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 4, 2018
Yellow Warbler, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 3, 2018
Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 3, 2018
Worm eating Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 3, 2018
The weather changed to more summer like conditions as May began and the southerly winds brought in a nice influx of warblers with 26 species so far plus a couple hybrids.  I had a number of very productive days out in the field with some of the better stops during the beginning of the month listed below (with loads of photos and audio clips)

May 3
Skinner SPMitch's WaySweet Alice Conservation AreaQuabbin ParkRail trail-AmherstHome

May 4
Rail trail-AmherstQuabbin Park

May 5
Quabbin ParkHome

May 7
Rail trail-AmherstSweet Alice Conservation AreaQuabbin Park

In addition there was a credible report of a Swainson's Warbler reported in Amherst on May 3 but subsequent searches by many (including myself) failed to relocate it.  The species has only been recorded a few times before in the state so a truly remarkable sighting...another was seen and photographed on Cape Cod on Sunday (makes you wonder how many others are out there).
Blackburnian Warbler and Northern Parula, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 3, 2018
Yellow rumped Warblers, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 3, 2018
The water feature continues to attract warblers (and other stuff) with two new warbler added on May 3rd when a Blackburnian Warbler and Northern Parula showed up (plus lots of Yellow rumped Warblers).  I have now captured a dozen warbler species with the motion camera at the water feature.  The yard has so far produced a total of 19 warbler species in the first week of May.