Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MA - Casper and Snapper

Caspian Tern - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 21st, 2015.
A scarce but perhaps expected migrant through the CT River Valley in late April/early May. 

The last few days have been a bit lack-luster in the Gill/Northfield area. Even the passage of a front yesterday brought lots of moisture but little else. Today was a little different and I made four rather brief stops at Barton Cove during the day and came up with new birds on each visit. My first visit saw very low water levels at the cove with an exposed sand bar producing two Greater Yellowlegs. Close to them was a nice male Bufflehead. Just before noon in showery conditions, a nice a arrival of about a dozen breeding plumage Ring-billed Gulls and five American Herring Gulls. Riverview Drive also had a singing Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and a Black-and-white Warbler, both new for the year. In mid-afternoon, I was more focused on going for a bike ride than birding but stopped to check Barton Cove anyway and was glad I did. There, sat of one of the tires in the middle of the cove, was a fine adult Caspian Tern and Bill Lafley was already scoping the bird as I pulled up. Even more impressive was an absolutely massive Snapping Turtle making its way across Riverview Drive........slowly!

Snapping Turtle - huge specimen crossing Riverview Drive, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 21st, 2015.

On my way back through Gill in the evening, I stopped for a fourth and final time at Barton Cove. The Caspian Tern was still there, but impressively the Double-crested Cormorants had built up from two this morning to 16 by early evening. Overhead, actually quite high overhead, Broad-winged Hawks passed over on a broad front and I logged roughly 15 birds over the 20 minutes that I spent at the boat ramp.

Greater Yellowlegs - two, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 21st, 2015.
Distant shots but identified by diagnostic calls. 

 Common Loon - adult, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 20th, 2015. One of two present.

 Hermit Thrush - Northfield, Franklin Co., MA. April 19th, 2015.

Eastern Chipmunk - Northfield, Franklin Co., MA. April 19th, 2015.

Back in Gill/Northfield, a steady but notable increase in species such as Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush,  Louisiana Waterthrush, Pine Warbler, Field Sparrow and Purple Finch over the last few days and my first Blue-headed Vireos of the year in Bernardston and Northfield over the weekend (on the 19th).

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