Friday, May 26, 2017

MA - good birding in 'the valley' in late May

Worm-eating Warbler - Deerfield, Franklin Co., MA. May 25th, 2017.

Late May often produces some very good birding in the Pioneer Valley and this year was no exception. It's usually a good time to find 'boreal' migrants appearing alongside breeding birds, and we didn't have to look any further than our own yard in Northfield where Swainson's Thrush, Blackpoll and Mourning Warblers all appeared on the 20th. Indeed, the passage of Blackpoll Warblers continued through to the 26th at least with, for example, 18-20 singing males counted on a 14 mile bike ride between Greenfield and Northfield on the 24th. Brian Kane and friends also had a nice Olive-sided Flycatcher in Montague on the 21st. 

Olive-sided Flycatcher - Meadow Street, Montague, Franklin Co., MA. May 21st, 2017.
Image appears courtesy of Alan Snow. 

Ideal conditions (wind, rain and reduced water levels) at Barton Cove, Gill produced a nice arrival of Arctic-bound shorebirds on the 22nd/23rd and with 7 Black-bellied Plovers, 18+ Least Sandpipers and single Semi-palmated Sandpiper and Dunlin at the very least, and I am aware that birders reported more shorebirds from the Turner's Falls Rod & Gun club, a site which I couldn't visit on the 22nd. Also of interest on the 23rd (with Brian Kane), a Great Egret at the Rod & Gun Club and at least 3 Black Vultures over Rt 2 in Greenfield soaring with a handful of Turkey Vultures . 

Black-bellied Plovers - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 22nd, 2017. 
Four of the seven birds present on the 22nd. 

Mid to late May is also a fine time for seeking out relatively scarce Franklin County migrant breeders such as the following;

 Eastern Meadowlark - Gill, Franklin Co., MA. April 30th, 2017.

Purple Finch - male, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 23rd, 2017. 

Worm-eating Warbler - Deerfield, Franklin Co., MA. May 25th, 2017.

Worm-eating Warbler - Deerfield, Franklin Co., MA. May 25th, 2017.

Grasshopper Sparrow - Montague, Franklin Co., May 21st, 2017. 

Grasshopper Sparrow (with House Sparrow) - Montague, Franklin Co., May 23rd, 2017. 

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