Monday, November 13, 2017

MA - MacGillivray's Warbler in Hadley

MacGillivray's Warbler - Hadley Honeypot, Hampshire Co., MA. November 13th, 2017

This month's sensational local birding continues unabated. November is certainly living up to its reputation for rarities and this morning I did a little chasing, heading south for the Hadley Honeypot a mere thirty minutes from Gill.  News of a MacGillivray's Warbler at the Honeypot appeared on the Massbird listserve yesterday afternoon. The finder, Ted Gilliland, provided excellent documentation in his ebird report leaving no doubt about the ID. This species has been on my radar as a potential vagrant waiting to be discovered in the Gill/Turner's Falls area for a couple of weeks and I was naturally intrigued to find out a bit more about the bird, its habitat choices and how it would sound in the field in a Western Mass context versus California where I saw and heard several on a group tour as recently as September. So, I dropped Matan at school at 08:30 and then headed down to the Honeypot reaching That's a-Plenty Farm at 09:05. After that, it was hard work, very hard work in fact and it took me and a small group of half-a-dozen birders some 90 minutes to get decent views. The bird was often vocal but usually stayed buried deep inside a patch of dead and dying nettles. Still, overall it was a great experience watching an extreme skulker at close range and obtaining a few record shots and sound recordings. MacGillivray's Warbler is a state review species and I'm only aware of two other reports in the Pioneer Valley; one from Southwick, Hampden County, on September 22nd, 1995 (S.Kellogg) and a male in Northampton, Hampshire County on October 11th, 1998 (T.Gagnon). Fingers crossed, the next one will be in Franklin County! Gracious thanks to Ted Gilliland for a fantastic find and to Scott Surner and Larry Therrien for bringing me up to speed on the bird's behavior this morning.

MacGillivray's Warbler - Hadley Honey Pot, Hampshire Co., MA. November 13th, 2017.
The ultimate skulker only offering brief, often obscured views. 

Elsewhere, waterfowl migration seems to have tapered a little at Turner's Falls but the annual late autumn build up of Hooded Mergansers has been nice with up to 55 birds in Barton Cove on Nov 12th though fewer today. Also of interest today, a Common Loon for its third straight day at Barton Cove, and a lingering Red-breasted Merganser at Unity Park, also 2 Gadwall, 3 Ring-necked Ducks, 2 Lesser Scaup and 4 Common Goldeneye at Barton Cove on Nov 12th-13th, and a Long-tailed Duck at the Rod and Gun club on Nov 11th.

Hooded Mergansers - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. November 12th, 2017. 

Hooded Merganser - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. November 11th, 2017. 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker -  juv/first-winter, Northfield, Franklin Co., MA. November 12th, 2017. 

Red-breasted Merganser - female, Unity Park. Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. November 13th, 2017.
This bird has been lingering here for about a week but is usually tucked under the bank on either side of the river.

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