Sunday, June 2, 2013

Berkshire Birds Of Hawley Bog & High Ledges


Before visiting the Berkshires I asked some western Massachusetts birders if they knew of any good places to check out near the Mowhawk Trail. One of the locations I chose to visit was Hawley Bog. There were numerous Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green Warblers along the wooded trail leading to the bog. It might just be my imagination but the BT-blues seemed to have a Massachusetts accent.

I was told that Hawley is known more for rare plants than it is for birds but there is something about wild natural places that fascinate me. It has a 30 foot thick condensed layer of peat floating on water. 

 As I walked along the boardwalk trail, unseen warblers and flycatchers were singing in the surrounding vegetation. The first warbler to reveal itself was Chestnut-sided Warbler, quickly followed by a Northern Waterthrush. I recorded the sound of one secretive warbler that I later determined to be a Canada Warbler.
If I had just walked out to the end of the boardwalk and came back then I would have only seen a limited number of species but a special habitat like this requires time and patience before it reveals its secrets. Instead of walking around I chose a couple of select places to sit, watch, and listen. It payed off with some sightings of birds that landed near me instead of flying away from me (Yellow-bellied Sapsucker photo).
A Common Yellowthroat may be common but watching a brilliant colored male singing from a branch above your head is a rewarding experience in my book.
Another place suggested to me was High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary. I only wish  I was able to spend more time there because there were a lot of trails left to be explored. One of the trails led to this scenic farm.
I wasn't sure if the farm was open to the public so I turned around and out popped a Chestnut-sided Warbler singing pleased-pleased-pleased-to-meet-you! 
I also had a surprise encounter with a Lincoln's Sparrow which is an uncommon sighting in Connecticut. I'm not sure what their numbers are in Massachusetts. 
Here's a short video of a proud Common Yellowthroat singing his famous song. A Chestnut-sided Warbler can also be heard in the background.

Thanks to the birders in western Massachusetts who suggested these great places!
For anyone interested in birding Western Massachusetts there is an excellent book called : Bird finding Guide To Western Massachusetts available at amazon. Both of the places I visited are included in this book.

25 comments:

Ruth said...

What a lovely shot of the Chestnut-sided Warbler singing. I like the Common Yellowthroats as they are such enthusiastic and open singers. Looks like a nice place to go birding.

Bill Benish said...

Yes, that Chestnut-sided Warbler image is fantastic. Handsome Lincoln's Sparrow too!

Larry said...

Ruth-thanks-The Common Yellowthroat is one of the easier warblers to photograph. They are the first ones to come when you pish but I didn't have to for this one.

Bill-thanks-some days you just seem to be in the right place at the right time.

TexWisGirl said...

wow! that yellow-throat is gorgeous! definitely not common to me - neither is the chestnut-sided! gorgeous birds! lincoln sparrow, too!

thank you for stopping by tonight! really appreciate it!

June said...

Splendid Adventure! Never even heard of this place, and will probably never visit it. Splendid photographs! Thanks so much.

lostgander said...

Nice photos, Larry. Looks like you found some wonderful places up there. I love that photo of the farm...so green!

CabinGirl said...

Really nice captures, Larry! Looks like a neat area to explore.

Larry said...

TexWisGirl,June,lostgander,and CabinGirl: Thanks for the comments regarding the photos-I appreciate it.

Nan said...

Doesn't that Yellowthroat look happy to be alive? I loved seeing it. That farm is like out of a children's story. So beautiful.
I have an unrelated question. Do you have Whippoorwills around you? When we first moved here in 1981 they were here, and then in a couple years none. Then just this week, we've heard one between 3 and 4 in the morning (well Tom did, not me). It's a miracle.

Larry said...

Thanks Nan-We have them in Connecticut mostly from April into September. They are considered to be uncommon though.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Many thanks for the comment on my poem, so I have had the opportunity to visit your very interesting blog with the beautiful photographs.
You have renewed my desire to visist the US, (and visit its natural resources more than its cities) where I have never been.

John Mark Simmons said...

Those are some good finds! Great Chestnut-sided Warbler photo.

Larry said...

Tommaso-Your welcome. There are some great sights to see in the United States for sure.

John-I just checked out your website and added it to my blog list.It is excellent!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh my gosh I can almost hear that beautiful little warbler singing...great picture. And the yellowthroat too (even before I really listened through your link.)
Lovely pictures and thanks for the reminder that I need to "sit still" more often.

I had a laugh thinking about those Massachusetts accented chirps!

Deb Goodrich said...

Hi Larry,

I just love your blog and wish I had time to bird with you. Joanne died today and I thought you would want to know. The celebration is next Sat. 1-5 at her house. Call me if you wish. 860-262-2852.
Deb Goodrich

Larry said...

Deb-I'm sad to hear that. Joanne was a wonderful person and mentor. I'll especially remember the Christmas counts we did together over the years. She will be missed. I'll be sure to stop by next Saturday.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Looks like a great birding walk! I love the photos of the warbler singing

Stewart M said...

Wonderful looking places - these floating or raised bogs are often very rich in wildlife.

I lived in County Cork for almost 7 months - I may have met some of your relatives!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

PS: feel free to link you bird posts to Wild Bird Wednesday - on my blog on wednesday!

Frank said...

Some great pics from an interesting location Larry.

We should definitely promote the 'sit and wait to see what appears' approach ... it is far less arduous.

Andy Wilson said...

Mighty fine photos!

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, what a beautiful place to bird! Lovely photos and scenery!

BTW, I finally answered your comment on the Birding is Fun blog. I just want you to know that you are responsible for turning me into an eBirder! I am in Colchester for another 2 weeks. If you would like to go birding together just send me an email. The address is in the sidebar of my blog.

Larry said...

Kathie-Thanks Kathie-I may have introduced you to e-bird but I don't use it regularly enough. Okay Kathie sounds good-I'll e-mail you.

Cindy said...

Beautiful landscape & very special Chestnut Warbler shot.. Thanks for sharing your adventures.. I should make a list of the cool spots you find..to visit sometime.. Fox Sparrow cool too!

Chris said...

These warblers are so colorful. i hope to enjoy them this summer although I don't know if they will be at the area I will visit... Beautiful psot LArry!

Larry said...

Cindy-thanks Cindy-I was happy that the Chestnut-sided Warbler shot came out good.I never know until I go back and look at it on the computer.

Chris-I just read that you will be visiting Maine. That is a place that I've vacationed many times so I'll be looking forward to reading your posts about it.