On this holiday I ventured out to the Lempster Town Forest, adjacent to the Ashuelot Headwaters Forest on Mountain Road, in hopes of relocating the SWAINSON’S THRUSH Jack Swatt found on June 29th. Because this bird has seemed return here for its third year, I went out in hopes of collecting any observations which may confirm that this species is breeding in this location. If so, it would appear to currently be the most southern breeding location for the species in the state.
I went out in the afternoon starting up the Duck Pond outer trail. I stopped at the location where we had heard the bird on Saturday and ventured down to where I got recordings of it before. After a long walk I could finally hear the bird even further in. I approached the bird without using playback so I believe I got to the exact area where I believe it has set its territory.
The bird would sing from a high perch, then disappear for a while and then return to a perch to sing again. At one point I saw the bird scurrying along the forest floor, possibly foraging or maybe just checking out the new intruder. Unfortunately, I couldn’t observe any signs of breeding other than singing and before I left I used a playback and the bird appeared defensive of the territory, flying around me and countersinging.
Reading the Atlas of Breeding Birds in New Hampshire (published in 1994), they showed records of birds on Mt Kearsarge, Mt Sunapee and confirmed breeding in locations as far south as Mt Monadnock. Curiously, there are no eBird records of this species on Monadnock and considering the size of this mountain I find it particularly interesting.
I hope to spend more time with the Lempster bird and collect more observations that may confirm breeding at the location. This would surely add to this areas ever growing intriguing attraction of boreal species.