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 species are arriving in western Massachusetts. That tells me what birds to be on the lookout for in Holyoke, and where I might find them.
Today I spotted a number of Palm and Yellow-rumbed Warblers at Arcadia, including the Palm Warbler above. They were all hanging out in wooded areas near water. So, when I got back to Holyoke, I checked out a little slice of land by the river behind the Crocker Paper Mill. Within a few minutes, I spotted this Palm:
There were also a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets out and about at Arcadia. I’d seen them a few times over the winter in Holyoke, but seeing them so active at Arcadia was a good reminder to keep an eye out for them.
This afternoon when I checked the edge of Pulaski Park in Holyoke that borders the railroad tracks, I found two. Here’s one of them:
I ran across this Savannah Sparrow at Arcadia today:
I’m not sure any spots in or near downtown Holyoke have quite the right habitat for these guys — they prefer grassland and open areas — but I wouldn’t rule it out. The former site of the Nonotuck Paper Mill is a pretty large lot with low vegetation; not quite grassland or meadow, but a spot I’ve often thought might attract birds typically found in open spaces.
For good measure, here’s one of the Yellow-rumped Warblers at Arcadia:
With a little more effort, I’m sure I’ll be able to track one down in Holyoke soon. I spotted one in non-breeding plumage near the river last fall, and I’m curious to see whether any pop up this spring in the wooded lots downtown.
I also took a spin around town early this morning. This Red-winged Blackbird was hanging around the marsh near the Flats, off Canal Street:
Also in the marsh were two American Goldfinches, wearing their bright yellow spring uniform:
This Song Sparrow was perched on a fence near the marsh on Water Street:
And, the Northern Rough-winged Swallows are now a regular presence at the canal on Dwight Street. This one took a break outside the Children’s Museum:
Also observed today but not shown here: Eastern Phoebes in Pulaski Park and behind the Crocker Mill; a pair of Northern Cardinals in Pulaski Park; and the Downy Woodpecker in Lyman Terrace.