Red-necked Phalarope - (juvenile), Connecticut River at Barton Cove, Riverview Drive, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. August 31st, 2011.
Since Hurricane Irene hit our area on Sunday, August 28th, I've made a few casual 'passes' through Barton Cove hoping for the odd stray, or perhaps a bird getting re-orientated after the storm. Sunday's storm did produce some stellar pelagic species either side of the Connecticut River Valley with White-tailed Tropicbirds, Sooty Terns and storm-petrels being reported inland from Winsor Dam in the Quabbin, and from Lake Onota in Pittsfield. The only 'storm birds' I could muster during two hours at Barton Cove on Sunday were five Common Terns and a very brief juvenile Red-necked Phalarope.
Anyhow, it looks like the phalarope may lingered in the cove, recuperating and getting ready for the next stage of its migration. Today, I had great views as it picked morsels from the debris and flotsam in the main river channel just off Riverview Drive in Gill. The bird was constantly drifting downstream on the current and then flying back upriver for two hundred meters or so before floating back down once again, feeding as it drifted.
Also of note today, my first Palm Warblers of the fall, both of them Western types, one off Mountain Road in Gill and one on Riverview Drive, also in Gill.