Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MA/NH - Bonaparte's Gulls

Bonaparte's Gull - adult, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 14th, 2015.

Yet another fabulous day of spring migration in the Connecticut River Valley, full of diversity. The day got off to the best possible start with a singing Louisiana Waterthrush on North Cross Road in Gill, and actually a whole host of new songsters along that road including Winter Wren, Swamp and Chipping Sparrows as well as loads of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.

Canvasback - female, Hinsdale Bluffs, Cheshire Co., NH. April 14th, 2015.

After dropping Matan at school, I headed north to Hinsdale in New Hampshire and cycled out to the bluffs overlooking the Vernon Dam. I was hoping for a repeat of yesterday's raptor migration in Gill but as the wind swung around to the north-west it seemed to stifle any visual migration. However, the bluffs yielded some great new birds for this spring including five Long-tailed Ducks and 5 Bonaparte's Gulls, as well as a female Canvasback, the latter initially found by Dave Johnson who spotted it from the Vernon side of the river. Hundreds of swallows were in the area including my first Barn Swallows of the year and finally warblers in some numbers with Yellow-rumped, Palm and Pine Warblers all heard and seen around the bluffs. With them came quite good numbers Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Careful scanning also produced Greater and Lesser Scaups together, two Red-necked Grebes and a cracking female Barrow's Goldeneye. The latter could be my first April observation of a Barrow's anywhere in the valley. As usual, I wrestled with distance at Hinsdale so apologies for the heavily cropped images.

Barrow's Goldeneye (right) - female with female Common Goldeneye, Hinsdale Bluffs, Cheshire Co., NH. April 14th, 2015.

A quick stop at Barton Cove in the evening produced nice views of two Bonaparte's Gulls, possibly the same 'hooded' gulls reported on the Western Mass Birders Facebook page earlier in the day. A Wilson's Snipe on Ben Hale Road in Gill was a nice surprise and a great way to end another very interesting day in our area.

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