Cerulean Warbler - male in Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 29th, 2013.
Canon Powershot G10.
Down at Barton Cove the heavy overnight rain and dull drizzly conditions certainly seemed to have had an impact and produced one of the best collections of birds that I've ever seen there in spring. In fact, by recent standards the birds present provided a near-miraculous hour of birding! First to catch my attention was a migrant Common Loon. Closer inspection of the cove also produced a lone drake Gadwall which seemed odd for late May. An excellent selection of swallows hawked over the water composed mainly of Bank, North Rough-winged and Tree Swallows but also some Barn and a single Cliff Swallow. Although distant, the island across from the boat ramp had enough exposed shoreline to host 22 Semi-palmated and 3 Least Sandpipers, along with a single Semi-palmated Plover as the well as the local breeding Spotted Sandpipers. I also heard one or more of Black-bellied Plover(s) and Short-billed Dowitcher(s) fly over but had no chance of seeing them in the murky skies.
Common Loon - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 29th, 2013.
Semi-palmated and Least Sandpipers - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 29th, 2013.
At about 09:45hrs, three terns arrived from the south and began calling and foraging around the cove. Two were fairly clear adult Common Terns but one looked much paler winged. Initial thoughts towards Arctic were soon dismissed as the bird looked large with a substantial orange-red bill that had a well defined black tip. Viewing conditions were far from easy and it wasn't until all three birds settled on a floating tire that I became 100% sure that I was looking at an adult Forster's Tern. Moreover, recent experience from Ohio proved invaluable in helping separate Common from Forster's, an identification which I don't find particularly easy in adult breeding plumage. But.......Forster's Tern is certainly a first for me in Gill - on reflection I don't recall ever hearing about a Forster's Tern in the Pioneer Valley since we first moved to Amherst back in 2005.
Forster's Tern - adult with Common Terns, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 29th, 2013.
In each of the three shots above, the Forster's is the larger, paler bird with pale primaries on the right side of the tire.
Digi-scoped at range using a Swarovski HD scope and Canon Powershot G10.
Forster's Tern - adult, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 29th, 2013.