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.

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