Saturday, June 8, 2019

Hooded Warbler on Prescott Peninsula


Hooded Warbler, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Hooded Warbler, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Hooded Warbler, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
Hooded Warbler, Prescott Peninsula, New Salem, MA, Jun 8, 2019
I was surprised this morning to find another Hooded Warbler for the season, this time on the permit only Prescott Peninsula at Quabbin.  I was up on the peninsula checking my whip poor will survey route as well as conducting some field bird surveys.  As I was slowly driving down the lower third of the peninsula I distinctly heard a Hooded Warbler singing so I stopped immediately and started looking for it.  I got some recordings right away but ti took a lot of looking to finally get some views and marginal photos of the bird.  Always amazing how even brightly colored birds can hide so well in the now fully leafed out trees!  The habitat looked good for potential breeding (mature oak and maple forest with a fairly thick understory).  The bird sang nearly continuously while I was in the area so it certainly looked to be trying to attract a mate.  Hooded Warbler is at its northern breeding limit here so finding a mate will be difficult (but not impossible).  I will keep tabs on the bird over the next few weeks to see if it sticks around and has any success finding a mate.  I have never had the species on the Prescott Peninsula before (or anywhere in Franklin County for that matter).  This becomes at least the third Hooded Warbler for me this spring (with the others being one I found at Quabbin Park on June 1 and the other (or others) initially found by Ted along the rail trail in Amherst in mid May.  The peninsula produced a total of 15 species of warblers for the morning...full list.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Pine Warbler caught at the house during banding program

Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Pine Warbler in net, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
Pine Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, Jun 3, 2019
For the first time in the five years of banding in the yard as part of the Neighborhood Nestwatch program we caught a warbler (not one of the target species of the program so it didn't get banded).  About an hour into the nets being up I checked one of the nets and immediately noticed a Pine Warbler caught up in the net.  Super excited to see it and after a few photos I was able to release it safely back into the yard.  More on the nestwatch program can be found here.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Hooded Warbler to start June

Hooded Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 1, 2019
Hooded Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 1, 2019
Hooded Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Jun 1, 2019
I birded a few spots this morning before heading for home but not before taking a quick detour to Quabbin Park.  My main intention was to stay for just a short time and try to turn up a Mourning Warbler before the weekend hordes descended on the park.  Instead of a Mourning Warbler I found a singing male Hooded Warbler that appeared to be setting up a territory.  The bird sang most of the time I was there watching it and stayed within several hundred feet of the location I originally found it in.  The bird this morning allowed for some brief views but the leafed out trees made prolonged viewing (and photos) difficult but the views were much better than the Hooded Warbler that was present along the rail trail in the early part of May.  I will check back on the bird over the next several days to see if it sticks around.

Overall for the morning I had 17 species of warblers with almost all on territory breeding with the exception of a handful of lingering Blackpoll Warblers.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Detailed look at Bay breasted, Tennessee, Cape May, Blackpoll and Mourning Warblers this spring

Bay breasted Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 16, 2019
Tennessee Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2019
Cape May Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 15, 2019
Blackpoll Warbler, rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
With the end of May comes the end of warbler migration for the most part (there are still some birds moving north but the big numbers are gone). It was a very active month with a total of 29 species of warbler in Hampshire County for me (I'll cover all those in a later post). The most noteworthy part of the warbler migration this year was an absolutely amazing influx of a number of northern breeding species (that feed extensively on spruce budworms) including Bay breasted Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Cape May Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler. The numbers were not totally unexpected as these above mentioned species have had great breeding success the last couple years but this year was truly spectacular. The most impressive species for me was the large numbers of Bay breasted Warblers. There are some years it is tough to find the species around here with just a handful seen with lots of looking. This year I had them in multiple numbers on many days including days when I had double digit counts of the species at a single location! To illustrate just how impressive the numbers of Bay breasted Warblers (and the other species mentioned above) were I have looked at the last several springs and added up my total sightings for each species during spring in Hampshire County.

                 Bay breasted Warbler     Tennessee Warbler   Cape May Warbler    Blackpoll Warbler

2019         106                                  80                             56                              107
2018         11                                    53                             22                              36
2017         3                                      5                               3                                31
2016         4                                      17                             1                                23
2015         3                                      8                               1                                29
2014         7                                      16                             3                                33

It will be interesting to see if the high numbers of the species continue this fall.
Mourning Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 23, 2019
The end of the month also brought in another decent count of Mourning Warbler with a total of 13 seen so far.  I continue to record all the singing Mourning Warblers I can to assist a researcher from New Hampshire who is studying the four different ‘regiolects’ of the species (Western, Eastern, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland). Individuals from each area sing a distinct song that sets them apart from those of other areas. I have managed to record songs of three of the four regiolects (I have not yet had a western one around here).  I have included an eBird list with an example of the three different regiolects I was able to record this spring.

Eastern regiolect
Nova Scotia regiolect
Newfoundland regiolect
Bay breasted Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 22, 2019
Blackpoll Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 24, 2019
Bay breasted Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 24, 2019
Bay breasted Warblers, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 24, 2019
Blackpoll Warbler, Home, Belchertown, MA, May 25, 2019
The yard was also productive for warblers with 23 species for the month including amazing numbers of Bay breasted and Blackpoll Warblers including several that were captured by the motion camera at the water feature.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Hooded Warbler, multiple hybrids among 27 species of warblers for the second week of May


Bay breasted Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2019
Nashville Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2019
Cape May Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
Blackpoll Warbler, rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
American Redstart, rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
Yellow rumped Warbler 'myrtle', rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
Pine Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2019
Black and White Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2019
Although the end of the second week of the month of May is not yet here, between the cold and rainy weather and work commitments I probably won't get a chance to add any others in the next couple days.  As expected the second week of May has been great for warblers even if the weather has been quite cool.  The most unusual species for the week was a Hooded Warbler (possibly two) that Ted found along the rail trail on Friday the 10th with at least one continuing until the morning of the 11th.  I found out about the bird late in the morning and headed right over to the area it was reported to still be in.  I arrived to hear it singing as I pulled up but a street sweeper coming by and the immediate onset of rain quieted the bird down and I never heard it again for the nearly two more hours I was there...super frustrating but that is how it goes.  I later found out Ted found another (or the same one that relocated from the original location) further up the rail trail off on a side trail.  The timeline of my sighting and his second one could correspond with the bird relocating but no way to know for certain.  I returned to the rail trail on Saturday morning and relocated a Hooded Warbler near the area where Ted had it later in the day.  It sang several times and I got recordings but it remained very tough to get any views of and no chance for photos.  The number of other species continue to show in above average numbers including Cape May Warbler, Bay breasted Warbler and Nashville Warbler.  Oddly Tennessee Warblers have not been around in large numbers, which is surprising as the species (as well as Cape May and Bay breasted Warblers) have had some great breeding success the last few years in boreal north.  A more detailed post I did last year about it can be found at the following link.
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2019
Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Quabbin Park, MA, May 10, 2019 (third year in same area)
Blue winged Warbler (normal individual for comparison), Quabbin Park, MA, May 9, 2019
I also found a number of Blue winged Warblers that showed some traits associated with hybridization with Golden winged Warblers including one individual that has returned to the same location at Quabbin Park (May 2017May 2018).  The most unique individual was the one found along the rail trail in Amherst that featured an unusual mask and could possibly be a Lawrence's Warbler backcross.  Another interesting Blue winged Warbler was one at Sweet Alice Conservation Area in Amherst that sang an odd single pitch song and sounded almost like a Worm eating Warbler but looked like a typical Blue winged Warbler (link to video)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

26 species of warblers to finish out the first week of May


Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 7, 2019
Worm eating Warbler, Skinner SP, Hadley, MA, May 7, 2019
Cape May Warbler, Mitch's Way, Hadley, MA, May 7, 2019
 Common Yellowthroat, Mitch's Way, Hadley, MA, May 7, 2019
 Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler hybrid, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 7, 2019
Yellow Warbler, Sweet Alice Conservation Area, Amherst, MA, May 7, 2019
Blackburnian Warbler, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, May 7, 2019
Blue winged Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 7, 2019
Magnolia Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 7, 2019
Prairie Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, May 7, 2019
I spent the morning hitting a number of locations to see what the great migration conditions brought in overnight and I managed to turn up a total of 26 species (plus a hybrid) during my morning....a very respectfully total for the first week of May.  Highlights included several Worm eating Warblers, three Cerulean Warblers and a Bay breasted Warbler at Skinner SP, three Cape May Warblers together at Mitch's Way, a Tennessee Warbler and a hybrid Blue winged x Golden winged Warbler at Sweet Alice Conservation Area and a Canada Warbler and Wilson's Warbler along the rail trail in Amherst.  About the only somewhat likely species that I didn't find was a Blackpoll Warbler (but it is on the early side for the species).  Home was also quite productive with a total of eleven species seen.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April warblers

Orange crowned Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, Apr 29, 2019
Black and White Warbler, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 24, 2019
 American Redstart, Quabbin Park, MA, Apr 25, 2019
 Yellow rumped Warbler 'myrtle', Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 24, 2019
Palm Warbler 'yellow', Home, Belchertown, MA, Apr 24, 2019
Black throated Green Warbler, Rail trail, Amherst, MA, Apr 30, 2019
Now that the month has come to an end I will take a quick look at totals for the month and how they compare to other years.  Overall the month was very wet with nearly record rainfall for the month but thankfully little snow.  The last week has been cooler than normal but earlier in the month it was above normal for temperatures which came in via some strong southerly winds.

I had a total of 13 species of warbler for the month with the most notable be an Orange crowned Warbler I found yesterday and record early dates for Ovenbird, American Redstart and Black throated Green Warbler.  Not my best April ever but better than several other years and above my April average of 10.5 species over the last ten plus years.   All my April totals from the year 2008 until last year can be found at the following post from last April.