Date: 5/24/18 10:17 pm
From: Josh <opihi...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Night and day cuckoos and other Valley birds
Hi MassBirders,

An unusual set of circumstances gave me some free time after dark Wednesday night, so I tried for some night birds. It was pretty much a bust. I walked the Norwottuck Rail Trail from Station Road in Amherst, which goes through some nice marshes and woods and near some fields; I thought I was bound to hear a few things. As it turned out, I walked for over an hour, more than a mile, to the bridge over Hop Brook, without hearing a single bird of any species. After I turned around to head back to the car around 10:30, a few Woodcock finally started peent-ing, saving the walk from being totally birdless. There was a very impressive frog chorus, at least 5 species, plus several bats and the first fireflies I’ve seen this year, so it was a lively walk. Just not a birdy one.

Monday night - actually Tuesday morning, it was after midnight - was a bit more of the usual circumstances, where my only chance for night birds was by standing outside our home in east Amherst and listening for a few minutes. Did not hear any night birds then either, but did hear the call of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo! Not at all what I expected at half past midnight, especially given that I haven’t seen nor heard the species during the day in the neighborhood, or anywhere else, since last fall…..

About 11 hours later, I heard a cuckoo in much more expected conditions, as a Black-billed was calling from some woods along Stadium Drive near the edge of the UMass campus. Thursday morning I heard another Black-billed calling, this one from West Mineral Road at the far eastern end of the Turners Falls Airport.

On Tuesday, just a short time before hearing the UMass cuckoo, I came across a Lincoln’s Sparrow along Mill River Lane in Hadley. Two Green Herons were along the marshier section of Stadium Drive.

Back on Sunday, had a nice wave of Common Nighthawks pass over. I stepped outside to our driveway around 7 PM to get in the car, just in time to see at least six of them skimming overhead, some just barely above the treetops. The few others of their species that I’d seen this spring had all been much higher up.

Time to go to sleep. But maybe on the way I’ll stand on the front porch for a few minutes and see if that cuckoo calls again….

Good birding!


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

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