Monday, September 29, 2008

Hatfield Golden Plovers - Sept 29th

Thanks to a post from Mark Fairbrother on the Massbird listserve, I went out this morning and found six pristine juvenile American Golden Plovers favoring flooded potato fields in beautiful agricultural Hatfield. The birds had moved north from Mark's original posted location, and had I not walked out along the farm tracks to get closer to a Lesser Yellowlegs......well, I think I would have probably missed them altogether. They simply weren't visible from the main road. It's been a while since I've chased some good shorebirds locally, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching these beauties this morning. The area (former Hatfield-Pilgrim Airfield) is reasonably well known for attracting shorebirds, and the fields on the western side of River Road held no less than eight Buff-breasted Sandpipers in late August 2005, featured here on my old website.

The whole area was generally 'birdy', mostly sparrows with over 60 Savannah, some Song and about 3 each of Swamp and Lincoln's Sparrows, and along one of the weed-filled ditches, a rather smart Bobolink. American Pipits featured this morning too, mostly singles flying south. Raptors, well good views of Northern Harrier, Merlin, plus 3 each of Sharp-shinned Hawk and Osprey, both of the latter migrating south along the Connecticut River.

All in all, a fine autumnal morning to be out.

American Golden Plovers - six juveniles together at Hatfield, just south of the Hampshire/Franklin County line.

Lesser Yellowlegs with American Golden Plovers - Hatfield.

American Golden Plovers and Lesser Yellowlegs (second from right), Hatfield. The largest flock of AGPs that I've seen in the Pioneer Valley.

Bobolink - found feeding along the weed-filled ditch shown below (Sugarloaf Mountain in the background).

Best birding,


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