Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hatfield Buff-breast - Sept 30th

A return visit to Hatfield this morning to check for any changes in the shorebird situation from the previous day. The American Golden Plovers and Lesser Yellowlegs had gone, and for a while I thought Killdeer was going to be the only species present in the fields. On my fourth telescope scan of the same potato field I found a handsome but distant Buff-breasted Sandpiper, in fact too distant to attempt any digiscope shots. Having watched it for about 5 minutes with 8 Killdeer, 2 Horned Larks and a couple of American Pipits, the whole field of birds was spooked by a Sharp-shinned Hawk. The Killdeer took the Buff-breasted with them and despite circling the field a couple of times, never returned landing well to the south.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper (center) in flight between two Killdeers - arguably one of the best shots ever taken of the species.

Common Yellowthroat - male

Bobolink - one of two birds together today, at Hatfield.

House Wren - one of two birds together at Hatfield.

A frustrating morning in many respects. Not only did I miss out on images of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, but I also had one, possibly two Cackling Geese moving north towards Sunderland along the CT River which would have been my earliest in the valley if confirmed. Even so, the Hatfield area was still extremely busy with plenty to see, mostly Savannah, Song and White-throated Sparrows, increasing numbers of Swamp and Lincoln's Sparrows and a couple of Bobolinks together. One small thicket held 2 Blue-headed Vireos, 5 Palm Warblers, 1 Tennessee Warbler. 3 Purple Finch and a couple of House Wrens. Blue Jays filtered across the fields all morning.

Still a joy to be out!


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