Monday, January 25, 2010

Snow Buntings....Galore!

As others have posted in recent days on Massbird, (Tom Gagnon, Mark Fairbrother and most recently Chris Ellison) the Snow Bunting show has been very impressive around the Hadley, Northampton and Montague areas. I headed out this morning in hopes of catching up with one of these large flocks the others have reported, not knowing at the time I would hit the jackpot in Hadley. My first stop was on East Hadley Rd/South Maple Street- I began scanning the field for any sign of life when a huge flock of Snow Buntings went up on the other side of the field! A conservative estimate of 400 Buntings began heading in the direction of Amherst. (A very impressive sight)

Snow Buntings- Hundreds!

I was hoping the flock would return, but they just faded away against the gray sky. So I headed for Aqua Vitae Rd thinking maybe the Rough-legged Hawk that has been widely reported in the Hadley/Northampton area might make an appearance, but it decided not too. I continued down Aqua Vitae Rd heading towards Rte 9 to the point where the field ends, when all of a sudden another enormous flock of Snow Buntings takes to the sky.

This flock of buntings was constantly up and down along the road, I back tracked to try and get a few photos and a better estimate of this flock, when all was said and done I estimated this flock to be 1100 strong. The entire flock eventually headed towards the river, then turned around and headed back over me and last seen heading west. The interesting question is how many Snow Buntings are out in the fields of Hadley, Montague, and Northampton right now? My one hour of birding in the two locations mentioned produced 1500 Snow Buntings. Interestingly enough…No Horned Larks

                                more.....Snow Buntings.   

Snow Buntings heading towards the Connecticut River?

                                Buntings changing course again and flew right over me heading to other areas of Hadley.

Good Birding,