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Monthly Archives: April 2013

My polling place is conveniently located right near the edge of Pulaski Park, so I took a quick spin through the park after I voted today in the primary for the special U.S. Senate election. Here are a few shots of Yellow-rumped Warblers; I saw about 6 or 7 today:

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(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

I had the day off, which basically led to an all-out birding bender in downtown Holyoke.

The Black-throated Green Warbler above, which I spotted in Pulaski Park a little after 7 a.m., was one of many highlights. I took walks through the park in both the morning and afternoon, and saw a good variety of birds.

There were Black-and-white Warblers in the park both early in the morning and at mid-afternoon. This one was hanging around in a back corner of the park near VFW Post 351:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

There were several Yellow-rumped Warblers in the woods between the park and the river:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

A White-breasted Nuthatch was munching on spiders and other goodies:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

I was hoping to spot some of the Savannah Sparrows that I found in the park the other day, and this White-throated Sparrow almost tricked me — until I got close enough for a good look:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

There have been several Northern Cardinals in the park on my last few visits:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

And, today, there were quite a few Chipping Sparrows. This one was part of a small flock outside the VFW:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

Elsewhere in the city, Canada Geese were hanging around Slim Shad Point:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

There were House Finches in Heritage State Park:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

More Chipping Sparrows at a brownfield site that’s being cleaned up on Appleton Street:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

The male American Kestrel found a meal near the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

I spotted this Common Grackle near the old Parsons Paper Mill on Sargeant Street:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

And, this female Downy Woodpecker was foraging in a vacant lot on Lyman Street:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

Here’s my full list from Pulaski Park today:

I wrote yesterday that with so many Yellow-rumped Warblers at Arcadia, one could probably find them in Holyoke, too.

I was right: I found three behind the Crocker Mill this afternoon, near the Connecticut River. They were very high in the trees:

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A Downy Woodpecker was foraging nearby:

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And I saw at least two different Eastern Phoebes, including this one:

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This gallery contains 11 photos.

While I do most of my birding in the heart of Holyoke, I find it helpful to take regular trips to more traditional birding hotspots around the Pioneer Valley. Checking in at places like Arcadia, where the bird populations tend to be a bit more robust and varied, helps me keep tabs on when migratory …

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(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

Back in March, I predicted that we’d see chicks hatch at the Red-tailed Hawk nest downtown between April 11 and 18.

As we near the end of that window, I checked on the site this afternoon. The hawk on the nest was alternating between the usual hunkered-down position and the sort of half-squat shown above, often holding its wings partially open.

I didn’t observe any feeding behavior to indicate that newborn chicks were already in the nest, but the hawk on the nest frequently looked down between its feet. Was it rolling the eggs, or watching a tiny hawk chipping away at its shell? We should know soon.

One thing that occurred to me today was both this year and last year the hawks built their nest right up against brick walls that get direct afternoon sunlight. I started to wonder if that’s a deliberate choice, as the nest would receive a few hours of reflected warmth each day, giving the eggs a little boost before temperatures drop off at night.

 

A few common birds that I don’t see too often in Heritage State Park were hanging around this morning.

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I saw the female Cardinal only; she spent a lot of time singing, but no male showed up while I watched her. I’ve seen a male Cardinal somewhat regularly near a vacant lot on Race Street, but I believe this is the first time I’ve seen either a male or female in the park.

A handful of Blue Jays have also been making appearances over the last few days:

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And, in addition to the pair of Canada Geese nesting along one of the canals, I’ve seen a lot of geese using the canals as a sort of flyway. Here’s one half of a pair that flew through the city this morning:

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