Friday, May 18, 2012

Mourning Warbler and others

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Gate 12, Quabbin, May 18, 2012

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Gate 12, Quabbin, May 18, 2012

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Gate 12, Quabbin, May 18, 2012

Blue-winged Warbler, Quabbin Park, May 18, 2012

Hooded Warbler, Quabbin, May 18, 2012

The warblers continue to show well.  I added Mourning Warbler this afternoon at Quabbin Park as well as many other species around Quabbin Park and the west side of Quabbin including Hooded, Worm-eating, and Tennessee Warbler among the more common species.  I also had a very cooperative Chestnut-sided warbler that posed nicely for several photos.  More photos at:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brewster's Warbler continues and another odd Blue-winged Warbler

Brewster's Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 17, 2012

Brewster's Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 17, 2012

Blue-winged Warbler (this individual was singing a Golden-winged song), Rail Trail, Amherst, MA, May 17, 2012

Common Yellowthroat, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 17, 2012
Another day out and about catching up with migrants and resident warblers around the area.  I headed over to UMASS then over to Larch Hill Conservation area, then to the rail trail and Wentworth Farm Conservation Area in Amherst and then back to Belchertown with stops at Covey WMA and the Belchertown land trust trail.  There seemed to be less overall migrants around but a good number of resident species.  There was however a noticeable increase in the number of Blackpoll Warblers with singles noted in most spots I stopped today.  The other obvious migrants were a couple of Tennessee Warblers and a few Northern Parula's.  The remaining birds appeared to be residents.  The Brewster's Warbler at UMASS continues but the Lawrence's Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler seem to have moved on.  I did run across a Blue-winged Warbler on the rail trail that was singing a typical Golden-winged Warbler song.  A very pleasant day with sunny skies, low humidity and temperatures eventually making it up to 70.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lawrence's Warbler

Lawrence's Warbler, Belchertown, MA, May 14, 2012

Lawrence's Warbler, Belchertown, MA, May 14, 2012

Lawrence's Warbler, Belchertown, MA, May 14, 2012

Lawrence's Warbler, Belchertown, MA, May 14, 2012
I had another great find this morning as I ran across a Lawrence's Warbler (hybrid) in Belchertown.  I have now seen a pure Golden-winged and pure Blue-winged and both of the hybrids produced by them-Brewster's and Lawrence's.  It has been a great spring so far for these various warblers.  Within about a week I have seen two separate Brewster's, a Golden-winged and a Lawrence's as well as several Blue-winged Warblers.  Until this spring I had only seen one of each in western Massachusetts of all but Blue-winged.  Yet again it was another example of being in the right spot at the right time.  I had previously gone through Covey WMA and Quabbin Park in the rain and then headed for home as the activity was fairly light and the rain had gotten heavier.  Once the rain stopped I headed out with Wilson for a walk along the Belchertown Land Trust trail off Route 181.  After about 3/4 of a mile of walking I heard a Blue-winged Warbler song .  As I have done in the past I tracked the bird down to confirm it was a Blue-winged.  The light was terrible and the bird stayed high, singing over and over.  I finally got a fairly good look and could see a dark throat.  After several more minutes of trying to get a better angle I got a great view of a Lawrence's Warbler.  As I was out for a walk with the dog the only camera I had was my phone and the bird was too distant and active to get anything with that so I quickly headed out toward the car to head home and grab the camera and hope when I returned the bird was still there.  I made it out and back in a little over a half hour and the bird was thankfully still there.  Although it stayed mainly high in the trees I managed several photos of the bird.  I have included several here but more can be found on my Flickr site:

This record of Lawrence's Warbler occurred within a half a mile of where I had one several years ago but was never able to refind.  Luckily this bird stayed around for me to get back and get some photos and video.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Golden-winged Warbler and others

Golden-winged Warbler, Rail trail-Amherst, MA, May 13, 2012

Golden-winged Warbler, Rail trail-Amherst, MA, May 13, 2012

Golden-winged Warbler, Rail trail-Amherst, MA, May 13, 2012

Yet another day in May and another set of good birds.  Leading the list of great birds was a male Golden-winged Warbler.  Although the species did nest in western Massachusetts in the past they have been driven out by their closely related cousins, the Blue-winged Warbler.  They have become quite rare anywhere in Massachusetts so seeing an adult male was very nice.  I ran across the bird by a bit of luck.  I happened to end my morning on the rail trail and almost left after a short time as it seemed quiet and there was a lot of activity (nice day on a weekend, not unexpected).  I checked the western mass birders facebook paged and noticed someone had posted that they chased a reported Golden-winged off station road but only found a Blue-winged singing a Golden-winged song.  I decided to try to get some photos and video of another odd Blue-winged Warbler.  After a bit of searching I heard a Golden-winged like song near Hop Brook.  The call was repeated only a few times.  I searched the area and came up empty for quite awhile.  I decided to head further up the trail toward Amherst and heard the bird again.  I squeaked a couple times and a bird flew in.  Instead of an odd Blue-winged I had a male Golden-winged!  I fired off several photos and got a short video of the bird giving an odd Golden-winged song.  I posted the sighting back to the facebook page and gave Tom Gagnon a call to get the word out for anyone that would be interested.  I watched the bird for several minutes and then lost track of it.  Not sure if others re found the bird or not. 

Tennessee Warbler, UMASS Amherst, MA, May 13, 2012

Yellow Warbler, UMASS Amherst, MA, May 13, 2012

Other stops this morning included UMASS and Lake Warner Conservation Area.  Highlights included three Tennessee Warblers feeding together at UMASS and my first of year Blackpoll Warbler at Lake Warner.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Warbler day...24.5 species

Brewster's Warbler, UMASS, Amherst, MA, May 11, 2012

Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, MA, May 11, 2012

Ovenbird, Skinner SP, MA, May 11, 2012

Hooded Warbler, Quabbin, MA, May 11, 2012

Worm-eating Warbler, Skinner SP, MA, May 11, 2012
I decided to spend the morning today trying to catch up with as many warbler species as I could.  I had some good luck today and finished up with 24.5 species of warbler.  Not as many as I got last week (26.5 species) but still a very nice number for a morning out and about.  I visited a few spots on the west side of Quabbin and then headed over to UMASS and finally down to Skinner SP and Mitch's Way.  Highlights included Hooded, Cerulean, Worm-eating, Brewster's, Tennessee, Canada and Wilson's and many others.  Here are a few photos from today.
Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, MA, May 11, 2012
Cerulean Warbler, Skinner SP, MA, May 11, 2012

Worm-eating Warbler, Skinner SP, MA, May 11, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Brewster's Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler and Hooded Warbler...amazing days of migrants

Brewster's Warbler, Hampshire College, May 5, 2012
Orange-crowned Warbler, UMASS, May 5, 2012

Brewster's Warbler, UMASS, May 5, 2012

Hooded Warbler, Quabbin, May 6, 2012
It has been crazy with migration the last few days so have not had a chance to update the page.  Suffice it to say it has been extremely good with lots of warblers and several new species for the year as well as a few surprises.  The biggest surprises were yesterday when Ian Davies and I discovered not one but two Brewster's Warbler hybrids as well as a singing Orange-crowned Warbler.  All of these sightings are quite rare around here and to have them the same day was amazing.  We ended up with 26.5 or 27 species of warbler yesterday (depending how you score a hybrid).  One of my better days around here in spring.  Today the warblers continued when I found a male Hooded Warbler back in the same area at Quabbin that breeding was suspected last year. 

Now with a little more time I will add some more info. As one would expect in May the warbler diversity and numbers climb with each passing day and there are many highlights to include.  This season started off early and then slowed a bit.  The migration actually fell behind by a few days due to weather conditions but by the 3rd day of May it had picked up and the next few days after that were spectacular.  Some numbers to illustrate the point are included below:

Date                                                                      Number of warbler species                        
May 3                                                                    11
May 4                                                                    19
May 5                                                                    26.5 (Brewster’s hybrid)                              
May 6                                                                    21
May 7                                                                    17

The diversity and numbers so far this spring have been quite impressive.  Highlights are many but finding two Brewster’s Warbler in one day in the county plus a singing Orange-crowned Warbler on the same day is near the top of the list.  That day (May 5th) ranks up there with one of my best days birding in spring here.  Until that day I had previously seen only on Brewster’s Warbler hybrid but found two that day.  May 5th also provided me my only spring record for the state for Orange-crowned Warbler as well as only my second record ever for the state.  The conditions were just right to bring migrants in and keep them here to be seen all day.   Finding a Hooded Warbler the next day back on the same territory as last year is right up there too.  So far this season as of the first week of May I have found a total of 27.5 species of warbler in Massachusetts and a total of 32.5 species in the US.  Just since May 1st a total of 17 new species were added.