Happy first day of summer! Today, I am blogging about some migrants that you could be seeing in our area. There could be a few stragglers passing through, but most will stay through the summer to breed here before leaving in the fall. You can read my previous spring blogs to learn about the warblers, vireos, flycatchers that are still here. I am still hoping to see a stray Tennessee, Orange-crowned, Nashville, Mourning, Blackburnian or Wilson’s Warbler. There are other migrants that don’t all fit neatly into a group, such as types of sparrows. I will also point out a few species I have blogged about earlier in the season that you may see now.
You learned about the hawks in a previous blog, but you can be seeing some of them and other raptors now. The Broad-winged Hawk is out and about now. Look for the checkerboard pattern in the tail. Ospreys are common and nesting in our area-look into the tops of light and cell phone towers. Someone in Wilbraham posted a great video this week on the Wilbraham Facebook page! You can see 2 types of Nightjars if you are lucky. I have only heard an Eastern Whip-poor-will so have no pics. I did see a possible Common Nighthawk yesterday fly over my house. There are also many types of falcons, owls and vultures in our area now.
You are likely seeing the Gray Catbirds having babies in your bushes now. I have fledglings coming to my jelly feeders now-LOVE them! You may be seeing Brown Thrashers and Belted Kingfishers if you are lucky! I have heard them in my yard but have seen them near streams so look near water. Cedar Waxwings are BEAUTIFUL birds that you can see now. They are very hard to hear as they emit quiet whistle-like calls and songs. Merlin usually does a good job identifying these birds to help you out! You can read about the wrens in my early posts, but you can SEE and HEAR the House Wren now! They are cute little feather balls but can be quite territorial. They can also destroy other birds’ nests to take the space for themselves. If you look near water, you may see a Marsh Wren too, though they are pretty shy.
The Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are common now. They remind me of the Tufted Titmouse-only smaller. Listen for their squeaky little calls. They move very quickly and hide in the leaves. Many of you have likely seen the beautiful Rose-breasted Grossbeaks. They are breeding in out area now. The males are stunning and look like tropical birds to me. The females look totally different as you can see below. The Indigo Buntings are another gorgeous bird that will make you sigh in wonder. They love to sing so you may hear them first. They like shrubs and treetops. The breeding males are baby blue! Kingbirds and Eastern Towhees are common now as well.
Tanagers are another beautiful species that you may be lucky enough to see now! The Scarlet Tanager is more common than the Summer Tanager. The male Scarlet Tanager is striking with his vivid red plumage and black wings. The females are yellow with dark grayish wings so you may mistake them for something else at first. I have never seen a Summer Tanager. They didn’t really start hanging out in our area until a few years ago. The males are completely red while the females are all yellow, like the Scarlet Tanager, with light gray wings. Who doesn’t love watching the bright orange and black Baltimore Orioles!? They are having babies locally now as are the less common Orchard Orioles. The other “blackbirds” you may see or hear now include the Eastern Meadowlark and the Bobolink. I have heard both locally, but only saw a Bobolink on Plum Island.
There are also some more water birds you may see locally in the right habitat-if you are lucky. These include the birds I already blogged about as well as some new ones. You may still encounter ducks like the Teals or Mergansers. You may still see Common Loons, Cormorants, or herons. Some shorebirds are still moving through, but they are less common. These include the different types of Sandpipers such as Upland, Spotted, and Solitary, egrets, and the American Woodcock. I included some sounds and pictures from some recent sightings to help you identify and enjoy these amazing visitors before they leave again.