On a short walk through Pulaski Park this morning I spotted my first-ever American Redstart. It was hanging out way up in a tree, so I only managed a few photos that were just good enough for a positive ID. When I made a return trip this afternoon, though, two more were flitting about near the train tracks behind the VFW post.
They don’t sit still for very long, so they’re difficult little birds to photograph. The dappled sunlight at the edge of the woods made getting a good exposure tricky, too, but the shot above and the two below are a few of the frames I managed to capture.
A few yards from the Redstarts, I almost walked right past this little guy, which I think is a juvenile Mourning Dove:
After observing for a few minutes to see if an adult returned, a sibling popped up:
Also in the park today was this Northern Parula. When I shot the photo below, the sky was extremely overcast and it was very hard to make out colors or field marks. The bird was very high in a tree, and all I could see were splashes of yellow and gray. I thought I was looking at one of the many Yellow-rumped Warblers I’ve seen in the park recently, until I got home and took a closer look.
Adding to the first-I’ve-seen-in-Holyoke streak was this Common Yellowthroat:
And this female Scarlet Tanager:
To round out what felt like a productive day of birding in the city, I think I found a White-breasted Nuthatch nest in the park:
Two nuthatches were making frequent trips to this hole, bringing smalls insects and other morsels with each visit.
Today’s sightings bode well for Mass Audubon’s Bird-a-thon 2013, which I’ll be participating in next weekend. A tradition marking its 30th year, Bird-a-thon is a fundraiser that sees teams across the state attempting to log as many species as possible over the course of a weekend.
Last year’s winning team, from the Drumlin Farm sanctuary, logged an impressive 236 species in 24 hours.