Thursday, October 12, 2017

MA - Turner's migrant sparrows

Clay-colored Sparrow - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. October 12th, 2017.

Finally a shift to cooler more autumn-like conditions bringing a crisp start to the day and some fresh arrivals. My early morning jog around Gill Elementary school produced a calling Swainson's Thrush in the predawn while the playing fields were evidently full of roosting Savannah Sparrows. A Greater Yellowlegs flying around calling at about 06:30 was far less usual, and slightly puzzling with no obvious wetlands close by.

After  making a quick stop at Turner's Falls airfield in mid-morning, I dropped down to the Rod and Gun Club finding three Green-winged Teal with the Canada Geese and a Greater Scaup out in the open channel. A fairly late Osprey was fishing on the Gill side of the river but it wasn't long before several foraging sparrows caught my attention including one small, pallid sandy-gray individual - a Clay-colored Sparrow!

Over the years I've had some luck with Clay-colored Sparrows in the Pioneer Valley but all of them have been in the Hadley floodplain in Hampshire County, including two on Christmas bird counts with Scott Surner. As far as I can remember, this is the first that I've actually seen in Franklin County and certainly my first at Turner's Falls. This particularly bird seemed content following the five or so juvenile White-crowned Sparrows present along with several Song and Swamp Sparrows

White-crowned Sparrows (first-winter) with Song Sparrow - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. October 12th, 2017.

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