During a family visit to Groff Park in Amherst on Christmas Day, the open grassy areas were littered with good numbers of American Robins. Perhaps 300 were present in all and, as usual, I patiently went through them optimistically hoping for an Old World thrush of some kind - maybe a Fieldfare or Redwing. Needless to say I didn't get lucky with mega rarities but I did find a good looking example of the blacker-backed form of American Robin T. m. nigrideus (Newfoundland, Labrador and Quebec). Typically I see a few of these each winter and in early spring, sometimes in small flocks. This winter, however, they seem to have been decidedly scarce in the Pioneer Valley so I was especially pleased with this handsome dark-backed male.
American Robin - Adult male showing characteristics of 'black-backed' form T.m. nigrideus. Groff Park, Amherst, Hamsphire County, MA.
Also in Groff Park today, four species of woodpecker including a Northern Flicker inspecting a cavity (!), plus a Golden-crowned Kinglet in our yard on North Whitney Street, Amherst.