Monthly Archives: August 2012

I took a walk behind several of Holyoke’s former paper mills Sunday, spotting a few species I haven’t seen in the city before: a Carolina Wren and a Warbling Vireo.

I thought, at one point, that I caught the orange flash of a Baltimore Oriole, but the bird stayed well-hidden in a treetop and I couldn’t get a good visual confirmation. I’ve seen Orioles in this area before, and always keep my eyes out for them on these walks.

Several Goldfinches were feeding in high weeds at the site of the former Nonotuck Paper Mill, taking occasional breaks to preen on a set of utility lines. I’ve seen Goldfinches downtown once or twice this summer, but this was the first time I’ve had a chance to really observe them at length.

As a final treat, one of the Bald Eagles that lives along the river burst out of the trees as I was walking back to my truck.

Photos from the afternoon below:

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Julie Anne Collier, left, prepares to release the second of two American Kestrels last Sunday. (c) Greg Saulmon 2012

Two female American Kestrels joined the ecosystem of the East Leverett Meadow last Sunday when they were released by raptor rehabilitator Julie Anne Collier.

Collier, who operates the Wingmasters rehabilitation center and educational programs with Jim Parks, is scheduled to release a third Kestrel on Aug. 26 at 1 p.m.

How the birds arrived in Collier’s care underscores one of the perils of the early stages of fledging: both were brought to the Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton by people who believed they’d been “abandoned,” she said. The perfectly healthy birds were found seemingly stranded on the ground by well-meaning people who “rescued” them.

It’s fairly common for fledging birds to spend some amount of time on low fences or even on the ground, putting them at risk for discovery by people who believe they’ve fallen out of their nest.

With a few weeks of flight and hunting practice under their wings, though, the little Leverett falcons were ready to return to the wild.

One settled immediately in a nearby tree. The other took a wide sweep over the meadow, making a curious pass over a Kestrel box that stands high above the tall grass and wildflowers. Scores of wary swallows watched as the Kestrel explored its new surroundings.

Below, a few more photos from the afternoon. Watch the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust’s “events” page for other upcoming programs.

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012


(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012