Monday, September 23, 2019

MA - late nighthawk migration around the autumn equinox

Common Nighthawk - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. September 22nd, 2019.

After a busy summer/early autumn of tours and family commitments, I've finally managed to do at least a little local birding around the autumn equinox and pleased to have found a few species of local interest. The warm, muggy air (89 deg F in Turner's Falls on the afternoon of the 23rd) produced a late migration of Common Nighthawks with eight over Turner's Falls, and six over downtown Greenfield on the 22nd and a remarkable 15 over Main Road, Gill on 23rd when Josh Layfield had five over Montague WMA, and a further 11 over the Green River at Deerfield Street in Greenfield.  Clearly a strong, late push of nighthawks and quite unusual to see actual flocks gathering this late into the fall.

Common Nighthawks - over Main Road, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. September 23rd, 2019.

The 23rd also produced an eclipse American Wigeon with the Mallards at Turner's Falls, and a Mourning Warbler (first-winter), an American Golden Plover and several Purple Finches migrating over North Cross Road earlier during the morning. 

American Wigeon - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. September 23rd, 2019.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

MI - Warblers in Spring Part III

Kentucky Warbler - Tawas Point SP, Michigan. May 18th, 2019.
Originally found by Scott Surner on May 15th and looking somewhat bedraggled by May 18th. 

Despite having fabulous views of Kirtland's Warblers the previous evening, we returned on Sunday morning for a second helping and to enjoy some of the other species that we'd seen all-too-briefly the day before. These included Brown Thrasher, Hermit Thrush and Nashville Warbler. We worked hard for Upland Sandpipers but couldn't find any before moving onto Hartwick Pines State Park for fantastic views of Evening and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Winter Wren. And there was even a Barred Owl calling the classic 'who-cooks-for-you' in the middle of the morning. The afternoon was dedicated to Bobolinks around Mio and the early evening to marshland birds where we heard lots of Soras and Virginia Rails but couldn't work-up any magic with Yellow Rail.

Winter Wren - Hartwick Pines SP, near Grayling, Michigan. May 17th, 2019. 

Evening Grosbeaks - Hartwick Pines SP, near Grayling, Michigan. May 17th, 2019. 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Oak Openings, Ohio. May 14th, 2019. 

We rounded off a brilliant spring trip with time spent at another migration hotspot, Tawas Point State Park. It was alive with migrant warblers and vireos, not least of which was a lingering Kentucky Warbler found on May 15th be fellow Pioneer Valley birder Scott Surner. We also enjoyed more Golden-winged and Orange-crowned Warblers, and what could only be described as a 'flock' of Philadelphia Vireos on the very last morning of the trip. I dare say that had we been given more time, Tawas Point would have kept on giving to us. John and I rounded up a stunning tour with 31 species of wood-warbler recorded. A big miss this year was Mourning Warbler but then the views that we had of Connecticut Warbler at Magee Marsh seemed like an appropriate trade off and there were no complaints forthcoming from us!

Blackpoll Warbler - Tawas Point SP, Michigan. May 18th, 2019. 

Red-breasted Nuthatch - Tawas Point SP, Michigan. May 19th, 2019.

Philadelphia Vireo - Tawas Point SP, Michigan. May 19th, 2019.