Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MA - 'first' Merlin - 08/24

'Taiga or Boreal' Merlin, Whately, Franklin County, MA. August 24th, 2010. Probably juvenile.

A strong North Easterly with rain and drizzle has persisted since Sunday, so this morning I tried an hour scouting for shorebird pools in the Hatfield/Whately fields along the CT River. Surprisingly, I came empty and found virtually nothing in the way of rain pools. The only bird of note I could muster was a Greater Yellowlegs on a shingle bar on the river itself. But having not done any local birding since returning from Arizona it was just nice to get out do some poking around. I noted a couple of Yellow Warblers and an American Redstart with a chickadee flock by the CT River, and both adult and juvenile Bald Eagles overhead.

The highlight was a juvenile Merlin, my first of the fall locally, perched overlooking the fields at Whately. This species breeds as close as southern New Hampshire and, I think, has recently been found breeding in Florence, MA. I've certainly noted them in our area in August in previous years - for example, this bird at Quabbin Park two years ago;

Also of note locally on Sunday morning, August 22nd, a Black-crowned Night Heron over North East Street, Amherst.


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