Sunday, May 20, 2012

A long weekend in New England, Saturday 12 May

Saturday morning we had planned to go inland but we also wanted to do some shore birding so on a whim decided to head to Plum Island, another favourite spot and our only chance to visit on this trip.  It proved to be a good decision!

Tree Swallows were much in evidence, helping answer the rhetorical question:














But it really was all about migrating warblers, lots of them, including the surprisingly small and hard to photograph American Redstart:


















Black-and-White Warbler:






















Black-throated Blue Warbler:


















Black-throated Green Warbler:



















Common Yellowthroat:





















Magnolia Warbler:

















Northern Parula:













We also saw Canada Warbler but it was very high-up and hard to photograph.  The local birders, of whom there were many, were really friendly, helpful and patient, our thanks to everyone we met that morning on Plum Island.  It was one of those mornings when everyone was smiling!

Other bird species seen included Baltimore Oriole:













Bobolink:



















Spotted Towhee:

















A major surprise for the holiday, having only birded in this area from mid-June onwards, was the song of the Gray Catbird.  They have an amazing range and voice:



















Purple Finch - interestingly we also photographed a female Purple Finch in full song too:


Ruby-crowned Kinglet:

After Plum Island, probably now our number one birding location in Massachusetts, we headed on to Stony Brook Audubon Sanctuary to spend the afternoon there.  Here we added a new life species, seeing first a female Scarlet Tanager:

















Followed shortly by the male:















We actually first saw the male when he flew in and landed on the female.  I couldn't photograph the act as there was a large branch in the way and by the time I had repositioned myself, suitably slowly to avoid flushing them, the female had flown down to feed.  The Scarlet Tanager really is a resplendent bird:



The Butterflies in New England are pretty amazing too:

A Tree Swallow in sunlight:

Terrapins, covering every surface breaching object in the pond:

Stony Brook was good but couldn't compete with the huge variety of birds we'd seen at Plum Island.  We finished the day highly contented and got to bed early ahead our trip inland on Sunday morning.

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