Monday, September 2, 2013

Northampton/Hadley. Shorebirds

 Late August into early September is perhaps the best time of the year to find Buff-breasted Sandpipers in our region.  Clearly a rare bird to the New England area,  but one or two usually find their way through the Connecticut River Valley. The farm fields along the Connecticut River in Hatfield, Hadley and Northampton have traditionally been pretty consistent over the years.  I ventured out on Sunday with the hopes of locating any shorebirds, but had Buff-breasted in the back of my mind. I spent most of the morning scanning the recently plowed fields in the East Meadows in Northampton. I was thrilled to locate a couple of American Golden-Plovers and after an hour a buff-breasted made an appearance. I called a few folks to get the word out, and a number of them got the bird. I returned on Monday with a couple of friends and relocated the Buff-breasted along with Killdeer, Semipalmated  Plover, 5 American Golden-Plovers and 3 least Sandpipers. The party ended early when a Merlin came screaming through and cleared out the entire field. A few marginal photos of the Buff-breasted and Golden Plovers are below.
American Golden-Plover- (Adult) East Meadows.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper-East Meadows.
Peregrine Falcon-(Imm) Along with the Merlin...makes viewing shorebirds difficult at best.
Buff-breasted getting out of the way of the Merlin.

Wilson's Warbler-(male) Amherst

American Redstart-female. Amherst.

Northern Flicker

Least Sandpiper-Juv. Also birded the Honey Pot in Hadley. This area also produced an American Golden-Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, 12 Least Sandpipers, hundreds of swallows, Indigo Buntings and Bobolinks.

Lesser Yellowlegs-Juv

Indigo Bunting-moulting. Won't see the Indigo blue until next May!

Indigo Bunting-Honey Pot.

Bobolinks- a couple hundred hanging out in the Honey Pot. Evening roosts can reach a thousand or more.

Bobolink-sporting its fall plumage