Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Brown-chested Martin. Cumberland Farm fields, Middleboro/Halifax, MA. October 14th, 2009.

Amazing find for Marshall Iliff, Jeremiah Trimble and Matt Garvey on Columbus Day, October 12th. Only the 6th for the ABA area, but the second in Massachusetts, the first being found on South Monomoy back in June 1983 by Wayne Petersen et al. We caught up with this bird on its third (!!) successive day and enjoyed several close flight views over a ninety minute period until about 16:25 hrs when most of the swallows in the area disappeared, possibly to roost. Jeremiah Trimble collected this fantastic image set on the first day it was found.

The Brown-chested Martin made a final pass over the assembled birders at 16:21 hrs (time recorded on my camera), and I watched it drift away South-west and then to the South, following it for a further four minutes in the scope. I lingered until about 16:50hrs by which time almost all the swallows in the area had dispersed. As the temperature dropped, hope that the bird might return dwindled and I began to wonder about its continued presence at Cumbies? The weather forecast suggested that this may be the last warm, sunny afternoon for a while as a major cold front hits the region bringing rain, sleet and snow by Thursday/Friday - not very conducive to aerial feeders.

Here sparring with Northern Harrier high over forty plus birders below!

Birders gathered, waiting for the martin's next fly through. This image was taken just after 4 pm when the temperature began to drop and lots of birders began to leave. The Brown-chested Martin flew over this group just thirteen minutes later, the final sighting of the day. Matan (foreground) was the youngest on site at just over two years old.

1 comment:

Kathiesbirds said...

Wow! That must have been an amazing sight, the bird and the birders!