Many spring migrants have arrived here in Western Mass already and more are on their way! I was thinking about this week’s blog, and I decided it would be neat to share my sneak peek to just a smidgen of the birds heading our way! That way, I can share more pictures too! If you want to see the beautiful birds that I saw in South Carolina that will likely NOT be coming here, check out my Robin’s Trips page. I was amazed by how MANY of these spring migrants that I saw down south. I had more opportunities to get photos and audios of them to share. For instance, the Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in our area last year were not nearly as vocal and they were seriously camera shy. Just like the birds we were seeing in Western Mass this past winter, the birds you will see in the spring will also depend on which environment you are bird-watching in.
So, there are way too many families of birds to discuss in 1 blog so I will just focus on some of the birds I saw on Hilton Head that we can see here now or soon. For Shorebirds and Wading Birds, I saw Great Egrets galore and a few Great Blue Herons. I also saw a Tri-colored Heron and a Little Blue Heron that you can see if you visit Eastern Mass. Locally, I have seen the Great Egret (and Snowy Egrets) at Fannie Stebbins. There was a Great Blue Heron in Forest Park all winter, but they are everywhere you see ponds and lakes now. There is a rookery in Conant Brook Damn in Monson that is worth the trip. There are many other shorebirds that are around now too, such as the Killdeer, but I didn’t see those on my trip. 😊
I have been sharing pictures of the waterfowl and wading birds all winter. You can check those out on my site, so you know what to look for as many of them are still here. I did see some Pied-billed Grebes bravely (or stupidly) swimming near alligators down south. I also saw a breeding male Common Loon, and a Double-crested Cormorant. I have seen all these birds locally in Sawmill Pond, Fannie Stebbins, Forest Park and Conant Brook Damn. I saw some Great Cormorants fly over the beach on my trip but have yet to see any locally. As for Raptors, I saw the Black Vultures were also recently seen on Soule Rd. These are not common in our area. I also saw an Osprey there that we have nesting locally in most places in Western Mass now.
I am going to lump all the different types of migrating songbirds I saw together. I heard a Gray Catbird in Hilton Head and here but have yet to see one anywhere! I also heard a Brown Thrasher and a Northern Parula and a Rose-breasted Grossbeak that should all be here soon. I heard Chipping Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, and Pine Warblers in South Carolina AND here, in Monson and Wilbraham recently. I saw and heard Cedar Waxwings, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. I have heard the Waxwings locally but haven’t seen these birds yet. I also saw lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers there that I saw here and posted about recently. Interestingly, I discovered that our American Robins are not too common down south.
Imagine, these birds are just a small tip of the iceberg that is the spring migrants. I have posted about other migrants that are here already or arriving soon, such as the Killdeer and Eastern Phoebe and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Meet Today’s Birds sections and earlier blogs. Check these out too! We also say goodbye to our Dark-eyed Juncos for now. The bird world keeps chirping on. Get out there and look and listen because there are HUNDREDS of different birds you can see and here passing through this next month or so! I will try to post about as many as I can! You can check eBird for info on all the birds you could possibly see too!
I included some audio from my trip of the Gnatcatcher (the quieter, high pitched calls you hear) with a White-eyed Vireo I saw (future blog bird). The rest of the audio is from our area, last year. I posted audio of the Chipping Sparrow and the Pine Warbler I heard this week on the Monson page. These 2 songs are easily confused as they sound similar.Read the text on the pictures and audios below to see where the birds were and when I saw and heard them. I would LOVE to hear about the birds YOU are seeing in the comments and on my Facebook page. I also posted some neat videos of some of the birds I saw on my Instagram and TikTok. Take care, Robin 😊