Sunday, June 28, 2009

Henslow's Sparrow, Cliff Swallows-MA June 28th

Alan and I headed out to the Berkshires today to look at a colony of Cliff Swallows and decided to try and get the Henslow's Sparrow in Montague, MA since it was pretty much on the way.

Snipet of info on this sparrow from Birds of North America:

Upon arrival at the nesting grounds, the male begins singing day or night, rain or shine, perched or concealed. He cocks his tail down, elevates his head, and expels with a bodily shutter one of the shortest songs of any songbird.

That is exactly what this little guy was doing when we got there in an attempt I am sure to establish his territory and find himself a mate. He didn't wow a mate, but he wowed the dozen or so birders who were there when we were.

I have a video below that will demonstrate some of the behaviour Birds of North America was referring to but I have to warn you, IT IS TERRIBLE!!! You see, I didn't get home until 1:30 last night and had to get up at 4:30 so had already had a cup of strong French Roast and a Turbo from Dunkin's so I had the shakes really bad. Plus, the scope had to be up high enough so I could see it which meant I was on my tip toes (sometimes I wish I were a couple inches taller) and had to angle the camera in such a way that it was angled down from the lens but steady it with my elbows which meant for a very shaky video. If you are prone to dizziness, than I STRONGLY suggest you not watch it as it could make you nauseous.

HA.........Dizzy yet????? Yes folks, I think its time for me to cut back on the caffeine!

My pictures came out lousy but they are record shots. Here is a photo of the sparrow with a Bobolink in the background. Another birder that was there told us that the Bobolinks were harassing the Henslow's off an on all morning.

Giving it' call out to the audience!

Next it was onto Adams, Massachusetts to see if we could go see the Cliff Swallow colony that is on someones barn.

As you can see, the homeowner doesn't seem bothered by their choice of dwelling at all!

My second lifer of the day the Cliff Swallow! This is a juvie and you can some of its downy feathers right near its breast.

Another pose. They really seem to like the telphone wires.

A picture of one of the many nests.

We observed countless swallows flying into and out of the nests while we were there.

A shot of the quaint New England barn.

On our way to see the Henslow's Sparrow we came across this Turkey Vulture above who was feasting on porcupine!

While we were at the colony we ran into Sheila and Mark who told us about some American Kestrel's who were located near their nest box a couple of streets down from where we were. We searched aimlessly for it but couldn't find it. We did see plenty of cows though including the one above.

Posing eloquently for the camera!

Along with this poor sould who was getting harassed by flies. I know how she feels!

It was a fantastic day despite lack of sleep. The Berkshires is one of my favorite places in Massachusetts which I had forgotten since I haven't been there in so long.

Take care everyone and have a great week!


Chris Petrak said...

getting caught up after being away - wonder if you could email me directions to the henslow's - that would be a lifer for me. I may even have time to go chasing this week. Love your chronically of the RTHA & PEFA - and your photo of the TUVU * NOMO

Kallen305 said...

Chris, I just left a comment on your blog. I don't know what is wrong with my email but it won't launch when I click to email you on your profile. I sent you the link to MassBird which should help you. Good luck!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Weee! Gotta love that Turkey Vulture!!

The Henslow's is a great find and a Boblink in the same frame- lucky.

I LOVE coffee so I'm not the one to tell you to cut back...

Mildred said...

What a great sounding day. That turkey vulture is creepy but the eyelashes on the cow are so sweet!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kim, You really had a wonderful day. Two lifers today!!!! WOW!! That little Henslow's Sparrow is so cute. I would have loved to have been with you to hear him sing...

Did you meet the owners of the barn where the Cliff Swallows are calling home???? I'll bet they have plenty of birders visiting...

Glad you had a good day. Now--get some sleep.

Ratty said...

I think I like that sign. I like seeing cows too. Even though they're not wild animals, I would take hundreds of pictures of cows.

Kelly said...

...I love your little Henslow's Sparrow video...shakes and all. I loved hearing his call and watching him throw his head up high. Beautiful. I hope to see one this year.

Anonymous said...

Nice photos, and wow, you must be putting a lot of miles on your car!

troutbirder said...

I love these outing where you see a bunch of different birds. What fun!

Deborah Godin said...

"feasting on porcupine" - a meal complete with built-in toothpicks...erm, beak-picks?

Rich said...

you are getting in some great travels - great stuff. I saw a wild turkey in Montana. Have a great week. I saw a dead porcupine in Juneau but the only thing eaten was the face. I think a bear did now like the toothpicks. That Turkey Vulture must have been hungry.

dAwN said...


Oh how cool..LOL..the video was shaky but I didnt mind at all was cool to see that little birdie fling its head back..very cool.
What a short little call it had.
Thanks for sure are getting allot of birding in!
Hope you can join our Birders who Blog,Tweet and Chirp outing July 11 in Milford Ma.
Some very cool birders and bloggers already signed up.
check out my site for details.

Kallen305 said...

Thanks all. Rich is am so jealous of you! Montana!!!! One of the places I must go to besides Alaska. I hope you are having fun. Are you back in AK yet? I will have to check up on your blog to see how your trip is going!

Kallen305 said...

Thanks Dawn! I will check it out but may have to say no again as it is kind of far! I love all of the blogging field trips you are coordinating though! A fantastic idea and a great way to meet everyone

Rene said...

A Turkey Vulture was eating a poor, ploddingly slow, defenseless porcupine?? That's very unsportsmanlike! Sounds like you had a good birding day.


Related Posts with Thumbnails