Wednesday, March 30, 2016

MA - phoebes, tree swallows and other late March arrivals

Fresh back from a fabulous tour to Israel to find western Massachusetts edging slowly towards spring. Widespread arrivals of Eastern Phoebes and Tree Swallows seemed to have taken place, and in particular phoebes appear to be present around most properties in Gill and up to 150 Tree Swallows can be seen hawking over Barton Cove on most days. Less usual was an early-ish Osprey heading north over North Cross Road, Gill on the 26th and a Fox Sparrow singing from there on the same morning.

Fish Crows again appear to be increasing in Turner's Falls (Unity Park, Avenue A and the Rod and Gun club) and downtown Greenfield (Pierce Street) with up to three together at all the mentioned locations.

Wild Turkeys - Gill, Franklin Co, MA. March 29th, 2016.

Cedar Waxwings - Unity Park, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. March 29th, 2016.

A sizable flock of Cedar Waxwings has also been roaming around the Unity Park area of Turner's Falls with up 100 birds present.  In the fields and meadows around Gill, very much in keeping with this time of year, small parties of American Robins throughout the area probably totaling around 500 birds - not huge numbers but nice to see all the same. Among them just one 'sooty-mantled' bird (nitrides) so far but perhaps more will pass through in the first week of April. Northern Flickers are already widespread and the first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was 'wrapping' off North Cross Road on the 29th, a day which also saw the first American Kestrel of the season at Upinngil Farm. Another highlight was a male Ruffed Grouse perched in a Hemlock stand off North Cross Road on the 30th.

Barton Cove has been relatively quiet this week with just 10 Ring-necked Ducks over the 26th - 27th, and up to two drake Buffleheads and a female Common Goldeneye throughout, a pair Wood Ducks at the Rod and Gun club on the 27th.

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