Monthly Archives: November 2012

A Red-bellied Woodpecker I spotted out behind the paper mills today. (c) Greg Saulmon 2012

I’ve started a list of all the species of birds I’ve seen in Holyoke. Most — except for the Baltimore Oriole — are birds I’ve seen since I started this blog just over a year ago. In most cases, I was able to photograph them.

And, most are birds I either saw in the immediate downtown area or within a short walk of downtown (for example, along the Connecticut River). As of mid-November, 2012, the list stands at 43 species.

Most are pretty common. Some aren’t.

I’m looking forward to watching it grow.

  1. American Crow
  2. American Goldfinch
  3. American Kestrel
  4. American Robin
  5. Bald Eagle
  6. Baltimore Oriole
  7. Barred Owl
  8. Belted Kingfisher
  9. Black-capped Chickadee
  10. Blackpoll Warbler
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Canada Goose
  13. Carolina Wren
  14. Cedar Waxwing
  15. Common Grackle
  16. Common Merganser
  17. Cooper’s Hawk
  18. Dark-eyed Junco
  19. Double-crested Cormorant
  20. Downy Woodpecker
  21. European Starling
  22. Great Blue Heron
  23. Green Heron
  24. Herring Gull
  25. House Sparrow
  26. Mallard
  27. Merlin
  28. Mourning Dove
  29. Northern Cardinal
  30. Northern Flicker
  31. Northern Mockingbird
  32. Northern Rough-Winged Swallow
  33. Peregrine Falcon
  34. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  35. Red-tailed Hawk
  36. Rock Pigeon
  37. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  38. Song Sparrow
  39. Turkey Vulture
  40. Warbling Vireo
  41. White-breasted Nuthatch
  42. White-throated Sparrow
  43. Yellow-rumped Warbler

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

I found a pair of Downy Woodpeckers in Heritage State Park during a short walk Monday afternoon. Above, the female; and, below, the male:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

In other brief news, after a few months without seeing either of the Peregrine Falcons downtown, I noticed one perched atop City Hall this morning. I’m heading back out with a camera now for a longer observation.

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

I went to Heritage State Park this morning to check on the Kinglet. It’s still there, hopping around in the pine trees.

While the Kinglet is most likely a migrant who won’t stick around too much longer, the park’s population of winter birds is starting to arrive. A small flock of Cedar Waxwings showed up in the park this morning, perching atop a maple tree. They took turns swooping down to grab berries from a tree that was also full of Robins and Starlings.

Also taking advantage of the park’s food supply was this American Goldfinch:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

Several House Finches were also feeding in the same tree:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

And, we’ll be seeing the Dark-eyed Juncos for the next several months:

(c) Greg Saulmon

A final highlight: I saw both of the adult Red-tailed Hawks from the Race Street nest. They were hunting over High Street and roosting on City Hall. I’d seen the male a few times over the past few weeks, but it’s been a few months since I’ve seen the female. The fact that they’re both still in the area makes me think they’ll return to nest on the fire escape again this year — but, we’ll find out for sure later this winter.

(c) Greg Saulmon




(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

I took a walk over to Heritage State Park to enjoy today’s warm weather and found the place teeming with birds.

One of the first I ran across, right outside the Holyoke Children’s Museum, was this Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I’d never seen one before, and I scratched my head for quite a while trying to identify it.

Kinglets are tiny, but they don’t seem to be shy. This one kept flitting closer to me than my lens could focus — not a problem I’m used to running into when birding.

I’ve got the week off, so I’ll try to keep an eye on how long this one hangs around. He seemed to be finding plenty to eat among a small stand of pine trees. Here are a few more images:

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One quick distraction was the silhouette of an accipiter out over Dwight Street. The bird was headed over to Open Square — where it menaced the local pigeon population — but eventually made a pass over the canal and the park. It turned out to be a Cooper’s Hawk:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

Dark-eyed Juncos have taken up residence in the park. Before today, I’d never really noticed how much their coloration can vary.

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

There were also quite a few Robins, Blue Jays, and House Sparrows:

(c) Greg Saulmon

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

I stopped for gas on Main Street in Springfield’s North End this afternoon and noticed a lot of crows moving through the neighborhood. So, I followed them.

At first I thought they might be headed up to the area near Tapley and Albany streets, which were popular roosting and staging areas last year. Instead, though, I found a large group congregating in a vacant lot behind the Spanish Christian Church near the corner of Chestnut Street and Jefferson Avenue.

The lot is a tangle of blown-down trees, and crows were arriving in droves between 3:30 and 4 p.m.

I didn’t observe them long enough to determine whether this location is a staging area or the roost itself. But I did stay just long enough for a man to come out of his house and ask what the deal was with all the birds.

“It looks like that movie,” he said.

I explained that in the fall and winter hundreds or thousands of crows gather in certain spots to roost at night.

“So, are they going to keep coming here?” he asked.

I told him it was hard to say — but that I’d be interested in keeping an eye on them.