Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mt. Holyoke

Mt. Holyoke.

Saturday May 15th, Incredible as it may sound, it didn’t rain today on the Spring Birding Class! The only thing we had to contend with was the wind….and it did blow hard at times. We arrived at the main entrance to Mt. Holyoke (Skinner State Park-So. Hadley, Mass) around 7:30AM, parked cars, grabbed our gear and headed up the road to the Summit House. The main gate we learned would remained close until Monday the 17th, however….in the grand scheme of things, it was much nicer not to constantly get out of the way of traffic heading up to the Summit house.

The walk up the road to the Summit House is really quite easy and the round trip is easily done in a half a day, with lots of stops along the way to look for birds. Our main goal was to locate two specific breeding warblers on Mt. Holyoke, Worm-eating and Cerulean Warblers. Ceruleans are the main attraction on Mt. Holyoke, while they breed in other locations in Massachusetts, (sparingly) the birds on Mt. Holyoke are the easiest to find.

Along the way up to the top, we encountered a beautiful Ovenbird that was singing his heart out, so much so, that he allowed all fifteen birders to get a look at him through the scope! About half an hour into to our walk we came upon our first target bird…Worm-eating Warbler. Once we located the bird, I set it up in the scope, and to my amazement it just stayed on the same branch, and again…everyone got to see it the scope!

Other species encountered on the way to the top….Winter Wren, Tennessee Warbler (singing) Bay-breasted Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Wood-Pewee too mention a few. When we arrived at the lower parking lot at the Summit House, both Ceruleans were in full song and put on a very nice show. Other show stealers were two Indigo Buntings and a 1st year Red-tailed Hawk that gave us incredible views. We ended our trip up the mountain with forty eight species and despite the wind, were afforded some great looks at our target species.

Below our photos and trip list,

Good Birding,


Cerulean Warbler- Mt. Hoyoke
Cerulean Warbler

Indigo Bunting- Summit House- Mt. Holyoke.

Red-tailed Hawk.
Red-tailed Hawk- Up close & Personal.

Worm-eating Warbler- Mt. Holyoke.

Worm-eating Warbler- showing crown stripes.

As a foot note.....The Summit House will be closed for a while. The porches around the house need major repairs and that won't happen right away. On an up note.....The restrooms are still open!

Red-eyed Vireo- many seen and heard on the mountain.

On a completely different note- This Red-Headed Woodpecker was found by my friend James Smith while birding in Deerfield.  James posted directions on Massbird a few days ago, this bird was not vocal at all when Valerie and I tried for it this morning. (Sunday) Red-headed Woodpecker is now a rare breeder in the state. Hope it finds a mate!

Location: Skinner State Park
Observation date: 5/15/10
Number of species: 48

Turkey Vulture 3
Bald Eagle 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Mourning Dove 2
Chimney Swift 6
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 17
Blue Jay 8
American Crow X
Common Raven 2
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Winter Wren 1
Veery 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Wood Thrush 6
American Robin 15
Gray Catbird 2
Tennessee Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Magnolia Warbler 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 4
Blackburnian Warbler 3
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Cerulean Warbler 2
Black-and-white Warbler 4
American Redstart 6
Worm-eating Warbler 2
Ovenbird 7
Scarlet Tanager 4
Chipping Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4
Indigo Bunting 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
American Goldfinch 1