Friday, April 30, 2010

MA - Broad-winged Hawk - 04/30

Yellow-rumped Warbler - male, Amherst, Hampshire Co., MA. April 30th, 2010.

Lots of activity in the neighborhood this morning, presumably a result of the warm airflow and light southern winds. Yellow-rumped Warblers were the most obvious with about 40 along North Whitney Street and Redgate Lane, Amherst. With them a single singing Nashville Warbler, my first local Black-and-White Warblers of the year, and a couple of Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

In mid-morning, a migrant Broad-winged Hawk cruised north over Redgate Lane.

Broad-winged Hawk - Amherst, Hampshire Co., MA. April 30th, 2010.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

MA - Black-throated Blue Warbler - 04/29

Black-throated Blue Warbler - New Salem, Franklin Co., MA. April 29th, 2010.

Overnight frost didn't seem to deter the song of a few newly arrived migrants this morning. A singing House Wren greeted me as soon as I stepped out the door, and numerous Yellow-rumped Warblers could be heard on Redgate Lane and Hills Road, Amherst.

This handsome Black-throated Blue Warbler was singing just inside the Quabbin restricted area in New Salem. Certainly my first local bird of the year and, on reflection, I think my first April observation. I usually see the first arrivals around May 5th/6th.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TX - White-tailed Hawk - 04/21

White-tailed Hawk - sub-adult type, Anahuac NWR, Chambers Co., TX. April 21st, 2010.

White-tailed Hawk is very much one of the target species for our Texas trips but this bird soaring high over Anahuac NWR struck me as interesting. On reflection, I couldn't remember seeing a White-tailed Hawk east of Houston and found out, courtesy of the refuge staff, that the species is only listed as 'accidental' for Anahuac in spring.

The credit for the find should really go to this Willet who interrupted his song to gaze skyward putting us straight onto to this exceptionally high soaring hawk. It was barely visible with the naked eye as these poor quality digibin shots illustrate.


Monday, April 26, 2010

TX - Swainson's Warblers - 04/20

Swainson's Warbler - Jasper area, TX. April 20th, 2010.

Swainson's Warbler - Sabine Woods, TX. April 20th, 2010.

April 20th gave our group not one but two Swainson's Warblers! The first was a singing bird seen well but fleetingly at Jasper in the morning, followed by the late evening discovery of a migrant at Sabine Woods during a tremendous fall-out which included many tens of Wood and Swainson's Thrushes.

This species holds a special fascination for me having heard them so many more times than I've actually seen them. To be presented with two sightings in one day was way beyond my expectation.


Back in town - 04/24

Apologies for such a long pause between posts. No excuses, just two major tours (Israel and Texas) since my last update in early March. I'm hoping to have more frequent updates in the forthcoming weeks as spring migration gather momentum.

Saturday, April 24th, saw a few birds of interest in our local area including 3 Blue-headed Vireos, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and plenty of Yellow-rumped Warblers on North Whitney Street, Amherst. At Quabbin Park, Gate 52, an early-ish Veery, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and several Pine Warblers, plus soaring Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk and Common Raven were the highlights of a family walk.

Sunday/Monday has seen large numbers of American Goldfinches, perhaps 100+, along North Whitney Street/Redgate Lane in Amherst.

More to follow, including highlights from both Israel and Texas.