It is that time of year where we birders interrupt our lives for spring migration! I am so excited to see how many spring migrants are here in Western Mass already! I just checked Cornell’s BirdCast and 1,330,100 birds crossed Hampden County last night. I have recently seen or heard all 14 of the birds expected to arrive this week. There are so many beautiful birds arriving now that it is hard to choose which birds to share with you! I will put the link to today’s expected birds below. You can check my 3 spring migration blogs from last year to see AND hear more spring migrants you can be watching for now. I typically report between 30 or more different species from my yard in Wilbraham now and over 60 species in my local hotspots. You can check my reports on my profile on Robin’s Nest and Contact Me page to see the reports.
For you waterfowl and wading birds fans, you can see lots of pretty birds sporting all their spring colors around now. I recently saw a gorgeous Green Heron in a stream close to my house in Wilbraham. I am not sure who was more surprised by the close-up encounter-me or him! My happy place, Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge in Longmeadow, has lots of Great Blue Herons, Double-crested Cormorants, Mute Swans, and Canada Geese nesting now. I will post spring babies soon. I have seen the Wood Ducks in my trees and at Fannie. The males are so handsome! You could be seeing Green-winged Teals, Ring-necked Ducks and both Common and Hooded Merganser diving for food too now.
Lots of different shorebirds are visiting the flats in Fannie Stebbins now. I have seen Spotted, Solitary, and Least Sandpipers. Greater Yellowlegs and Dunlin have made some rare visits here recently too. The Killdeer are back now. You can see them running around and calling out at Spec Pond on my Facebook and TikTok pages. Many Raptors have returned to the area including Turkey and Black Vultures, Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks. The Ospreys are nesting in Wilbraham and Fannie now too. I also saw a Wild Turkey in Laughing Brook in Hampden recently and a very shy Wilson’s Snipe in Fannie last week! The Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are back in abundance. I got some neat audio from my backyard woods you can hear below.
My favorite spring returns are my trifecta-Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Gray Catbirds and Baltimore Orioles. All 3 have returned to my yard. I have seen Rose-breasted Grossbeaks, Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets, 4 types of Swallows, a Veery or 2, and some Least Flycatchers. I saw and heard many beautiful warblers in my yard, at Fannie Stebbins and a new place I tried-Stony Brook Wetlands in Ludlow. Swallows and warblers are always moving and like to hide in treetops, so they are tricky to photograph. I have seen/heard the following warblers so far this spring: Northern Parulas, American Redstarts, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroats, and Ovenbirds. I have also seen Pine, Yellow-rumped, Yellow, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Nashville, Black and White, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided and Palm Warblers so far. I have also seen and heard some Blue-headed,Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos everywhere!
The Eastern Phoebes and chattery and bossy House Wrens are back, and I heard a Marsh Wren in Ludlow. Lots of Sparrows are back in our area too now. I saw 2 White-crowned Sparrows (lifer for me) and a few Savannah Sparrows. My White-throated and Song Sparrows are singing all day. I saw Swamp Sparrows and Field Sparrows. My pair of Chipping Sparrows are nesting in my Forsythia bush again. I have heard Eastern Towhees arrive and my Dark-eyed Juncos have left. I have seen some Hermit Thrushes and heard some Wood Thrushes. The Brown-headed Cowbirds are busy depositing their eggs in other birds’ nests. Keep an eye out for Indigo Buntings and Scarlet Tanagers as I heard them yesterday in Ludlow!
It is time for you to get out there and bird! Look high and low and listen because there are HUNDREDS of different birds you can see and hear passing through our area 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 and what hotspots you may see them in too! The Merlin app is great to help you ID birds-just doublecheck the info yourself as it makes mistakes. I shared some pics and audio to help you ID some bird you may encounter. I hope you enjoy the sights and sounds of spring migration 2023 so far. I would LOVE to hear about the birds YOU are seeing in the comments below. Follow my Facebook and other pages to see some neat videos too. Take care, Robin 😊