Friday, September 21, 2018

MA - Connecticut Warblers (5) in Easthampton

This morning I headed south to the fabulous west meadows of Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton. Spurred on by multiple reports of Connecticut Warblers over the previous two days, including three together by Aaron Hulsey on the 19th, my chances of seeing at least one seemed to be reasonably good. In the event, the exercise turned out to be much harder than I expected but I did come away with documentation on five birds, three of which I sounded recorded but never actually saw. The best observation came towards the end of the morning when I noticed a small passerine fly out from the woodland fringe only inches above the ground and plunge straight into the grass only feet away from where I was standing. I thought I saw some yellow on the underparts but wasn't sure. Then there was movement in the scrub close to the same spot. I put up my bins once more fully expecting to see a Common Yellowthroat as I had done ten or more times before during the course of the morning. But no, this bird had a full brown hood, a bold white eye ring and a pale lower mandible only serving to emphasize the fairly bland facial pattern - it was a Connecticut Warbler peering straight at me only three feet or so off the ground. How lucky would I get with the camera? I decided to drop the bins and take my chances, firing off a couple of shots and then it was gone. Despite lingering and even returning to the same area, I never saw it again. The pictures are, of course, terrible as the camera focused on the vegetation in front the bird but they do convey some of the jizz of a distinctive species and I was pretty happy to come away with something rather than nothing at all. I'm also hoping to upload the sound recordings at some point in the near future.

Connecticut Warbler (immature) - Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Easthampton, Hampshire Co., MA. 
September 21st, 2018.

Bobolinks - Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Easthampton, Hampshire Co., MA. September 21st, 2018.
Plenty of other birds around this morning, despite the single-minded focus on Connecticut Warblers.
Around a dozen Bobolinks in the meadows showing reasonably well at times. 

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