Sunday, May 3, 2009

Butter-Butts, Bandits & a Bog-Pumper

Spring migrants are making a definite push into the area. Visits to Herrick's Cove on May 1 and 2 yielded 34 species between the two days of which 12 were firsts for me this season. The two most notable sightings included two Red-necked Grebes in striking breeding plumage on the Connecticut River and a Bonaparte's Gull just west of the island at the cove entrance. In addition to an abundance of Yellow-rumped Warblers, five other warbler species were observed: Yellow Warblers, a Chestnut-sided Warbler, a Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-white Warblers, and Common Yellowthroats. Saturday morning produced three Baltimore Orioles including a male that was the most intense colored individual I recall ever seeing (photo below). If it were any more red, it easily could have been mistaken at first glance for a Scarlet Tanager. On both days a lone American Bittern was heard "pumping" from the cattail/phragmite stand in the cove.

At home, we enjoyed a "yard" first: a Red-bellied Woodpecker (female). Sure they've been increasing in number down in the Valley to the point that now they are almost taken for granted. But here at 1,500 ft. elevation, its appearance is a treat. Pine Siskins remain and with the recent report of a fledgling in nearby Woodstock, we are looking out for evidence that they may be nesting in our area too.

Digiscoped images of a few of the birds seen on May 2: Baltimore Oriole and Savannah Sparrow at Herrick's Cove, and White-crowned Sparrow and Red-bellied Woodpecker in South Reading.

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