Nelson's Sparrow. Hadley, Hampshire Co., MA. October 22nd, 2009. Same individual as on 10/20/09. Tentative identification of Atlantic Coastal form subvirgatus supported independently by David Sibley, Scott Surner and Nick Bonomo, whilst Tom Johnson drew some very interesting (and underrated) comparisons between subvirgatus and dull examples of alterus. I'm hoping to expand on this discussion soon.
Blackburnian Warbler. Mt Warner Road, Hadley, Hampshire Co., MA. October 22nd, 2009. Digibin shot of bird resting high in birch. Certainly late, my personal late date for the Pioneer Valley.
Quite the day locally starting in the best possible manner with a late Blackburnian Warbler, literally in the yard of Matan's day care center on Mt. Warner Road, Hadley. First detected high in a White Pine giving a repeated, slightly buzzy 'tzik'. It moved into a birch a few minutes later allowing better, prolonged views but always stayed high. Certainly a personal late date for me in the valley and possibly MA.
Also spent an hour with sparrows down in the Hadley Honey Pot and was really surprised to find the Nelson's Sparrow still present in the same spot. In fact, I detected very little change in species and numbers and also refound the Grasshopper Sparrow from 10/20. Most obvious new birds were a Blue-headed Vireo, Eastern Meadowlark and 3 Chipping Sparrows. An American Kestrrel was also hunting the area.
Grasshopper Sparrow. Hadley, Hampshire Co., MA. October 22nd, 2009.
In the afternoon, with birders returning positive news from Orange Airport, I headed North to chase the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher found by Jeff Johnstone on 10/21. Though aloof at times, the bird really showed well on what was forecast to be the last warm afternoon of the week. Another cold front is heading our way for Friday/Saturday.