Saturday, May 19, 2012

MA - local Blue-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers

Some nice local songsters in the same patch of damp early successional habitat on our neighbor's property just up the road. Note quite yard birds, but not too far off either, easily being within comfortable walking distance of the house. 

Blue-winged Warbler - Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 19th, 2012. 

Chestnut-sided Warbler - Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 19th, 2012. 

Alder Flycatcher - Gill, Franklin Co., MA. May 19th, 2012. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

OH - Cape Mays at Magee 05/05

On my recent (very short) trip to Ohio and Michigan I had more good fortune with Cape May Warblers at a major migration stop-over. Unlike these birds at Cape May, NJ, the birds at Magee Marsh were all in breeding condition and a treat to behold. I had my best views in the parking lot where I escaped the crowds and found a few of my own birds. It was my first afternoon in Ohio and I thought "Mmmm, I'll just go check the boardwalk at Magee before checking into the hotel". Four hours later I was still there having notched up almost twenty species of warbler on what was described as a "slow afternoon" by the locals (!). Yikes - I can't help but wonder what it's like when it's busy!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

MA - more new arrivals in Gill

Another good day with a fine selection of new arrivals in the yard. Interestingly, yesterday's Canada Warbler seemed to have moved but in exactly the same spot (the Alders) a Northern Waterthrush spent much of the morning singing. Through the morning Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Tennessee, Black-throated Green and Blackburnian Warblers and Indigo Bunting could all be heard singing from the yard, that's in addition to summer breeders such as Yellow Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush and Baltimore Oriole. Just a quarter mile down the road, the first Alder Flycatcher of the season (bang on time!) and more Tennesse Warblers, plus Northern Parula, Wood Thrush and Indigo Bunting. These are exciting times with fresh birds turning up each day.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

MA - Canada Warbler - 05/13

How nice to step out into the yard mid-morning and hear the jolty song of a Canada Warbler. Susannah and I had excellent views, not only a new yard bird but also a sweet addition to an impressive range of wood-warblers that I've already seen in the US this year. The bird hung around most of the day and was still singing from the Alders over the stream in the evening - very cool to have such a handsome addition to our yard list.

Elsewhere, we had a family visit to Laurel Lake in Erving State Forest finding singing Pine Siskins on the North Road, along with Purple Finch and numerous Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green and Blackburnian Warblers. The lake itself, whilst busy with folk, still had Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers to be seen. A lovely, warm spring day with temperatures reaching the low 80s. 

Canada Warbler - male, Gill yard, Franklin Co., MA. May 13th, 2012.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

MI - Henslow's quest

 Henslow's Sparrow - Southern Lower Peninsula, MI. May 8th, 2012.

Just back from a short trip to Ohio and Michigan. Two rare songbirds very much on my 'wish list' were Kirtland's Warbler and Henslow's Sparrow though I recognized that I was probably a bit early for both of them. 

Having scoured multiple recommended sites in Central and Northern Ohio for Henslow's Sparrow without success, I gave up chasing ghosts and decided to let the little beast come to me......which it did in Michigan on my way up to Grayling. I found these birds by driving past suitable looking habitat with the car windows down listening for the distinctive but unobtrusive "tsillik" song. Three different singing males are featured in this image set, all of them from the same field which held a further two singing males heard but not seen. When perched up and singing the birds weren't too difficult to see, but they would often fall silent for fairly long periods (15 - 20 minutes at a time) when they would be impossible to detect, or least from the roadside. How fortunate I was to be driving past when the birds were vocal!

As for the Kirtland's Warbler, more  on that story later..........

Friday, May 4, 2012

MA - mini fall-out in Gill - 05/03

The morning dawned dull, foggy, slightly muggy and full of drizzle. Perhaps not very encouraging to most and I admit that I was still waking up when Susannah announced a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak on the feeders! Over the next 30 minutes, the yard produced several exciting year firsts including a singing Warbling Vireo and superb Magnolia Warbler, not to mention a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and our resident, singing Louisiana Waterthrush.

Conditions looked good for a quick visit to Barton Cove and sure enough, fresh birds were present including no less than 70 Double-crested Cormorants (!), two Bonaparte's Gulls and two breeding plumaged Common Loons. Numerous Baltimore Orioles, Gray Catbirds and Black-throated Green Warblers all over Gill were sure indications of a wider incursion of those species. 

All images taken in Gill, Franklin Co., MA, on May 3rd 2012.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - male in the yard!

Magnolia Warbler - first of the year. 

 Ruby-crowned Kinglet - north-bound bird in full song. 

 Bonaparte's Gulls - Barton Cove, public boat ramp off Rt 2.

 Double-crested Cormorants - Barton Cove, public boat ramp off Rt 2. Most of the 70 birds present in this shot.

 Double-crested Cormorants - Barton Cove, public boat ramp off Rt2 but including this rather odd looking bird with very dull lores and gular, reminding me (for some reason) of the Pacific species, Brandt's Cormorant.

MA - Caspian Tern in Gill - 05/04

Very cool to see a full adult Caspian Tern foraging (successfully) in Barton Cove this morning, right off Riverview Drive in Gill. Very reminiscent of this observation at the same place last year on April 28th. Also, a nice raft of five Common Loons out on the cove, all five of them in full breeding plumage. 



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

TX - Amazing Texas - Part II

More highlights from the recent Birdfinders tour during the central two weeks in April, 2012;

 Altamira Oriole - Estero Llano Grande, Weslaco, Hidalgo Co., TX. April 12th, 2012.

 Scott's Oriole - Neal's Lodges, Concan, Uvlade Co., TX. April 16th, 2012.

 Black-capped Vireo - Kerr WMA, Kerr Co., TX. April 15th, 2012.

 Golden-cheeked Warbler - Lost Maples Scenic Area, Bandera Co, TX. April 15th, 2012.

 Bell's Vireo - Neal's Lodges, Concan, Uvlade Co.,TX. April 16th, 2012.