Date: 4/26/18 7:18 am
From: Josh <opihi...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Valley arrivals yesterday
Hi MassBirders,

Rainy days during migration seasons are always fun, and yesterday was no exception. Barton Cove had a swirling mass of swallows just above the water’s surface, as usual for cool wet spring days. I estimated around 100 birds but could only pick out 3 species (Tree, Barn, and Rough-winged). A few Common Loons were on the water, at least one of them yodeling in the mist. The only waterfowl still around, other than Mute Swans and Canada geese, were a lone female Wood Duck and about a dozen Common Mergansers, all packed into the corner back by the campground.

The Turners Falls Rod & Gun Club was a bit better in the waterfowl department, including a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers. I’d been hearing intermittent reports of the species from around TF all winter and spring, and I’m afraid to know how much time I’ve spent picking through masses of 100+ Common Mergs looking for this species, only to have these two show up pretty much by themselves (there was a half-dozen Commons nearby but not directly associating with the RBs). A pair of Bufflehead was also present, and the same three species of swallows, but not nearly as many as at the Cove, only 20 or so. A Louisiana Waterthrush, my FOY, was singing uphill by the driveway.

No birds of note on the water at the TF power canal, but I finally picked up Bank and Cliff Swallow here, plus a Chimney Swift, even though the number of total birds seemed only half or so what I saw at the Cove. The lesser distance probably helped, and also that the rain let up a bit and improved visibility. On my way out, I crossed paths with a large mixed insectivore flock of at least 10 species including BG Gnatcatcher, BH Vireo, and Palm, Pine, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. The swift, vireo, and gnatcatcher were all FOYs for me. Interesting now, looking at reports on eBird, that the swallow flock that I saw in the morning included more Rough-winged than any other species; a few other local birders visited the canal in the afternoon but reported mostly Barns and fewer RWs.

Last stop on my way home was Tri-Town Beach, where my FOY Spotted Sandpiper was working along the beach.

Not much positive at home yesterday, but like Walt Webb, I noticed that the last of the juncos seemed to have cleared out.

An appointment for my daughter bought be an extra half-hour of birding time in the afternoon, which I spent at the Norwottuck Rail Trail near Station Road. Harvey Allen had arrived just before me. I had last visited the area on April 13, at which time Palm Warblers might have outnumbered any other landbird species there (I officially eBirded more Song Sparrows but they’re easier to count, being closer to the ground and not moving around as much). Yesterday, Palms were down to just a few, and vastly outnumbered by Yellow-rumpeds, possibly by a 10-to-1 ratio or more.

Good birding!


Joshua S. Rose, Ph.D.
Amherst, MA

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