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Ashley Ponds, Holyoke

Ashley Ponds, Holyoke

April 29, 2018

Tim Carter

The trip started in the rain at 7:30 when Janet joined me at the meeting point.  No one else showed up, but since the rain seemed to be letting up we decided to give it a shot.  We headed in by the Elks Club and our first treat was a pair of FOY Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.  The pair was flitting around the trees as they often do, but then settled on a branch next to each other, where it appeared the male did a courting display by cocking it's head straight up and tail down.  The female watched for a moment or two and then they both started flitting about again.  This was the first time either of us had seen this behavior from Gnatcatchers.  They were very vocal as well.

The next notable sighting was a group of warblers made up of mostly Yellow-rumps, but also included a FOY Black-and-white.  We also had a palm and a pine warbler in the same area.  We then proceeded down to the ponds where we saw a number of the usual suspects and got a little sparrow group as we reached the area by the water tanks.  This consisted of Chipping, White-throated and Song sparrows.  We had fly overs of a Common Merganser, a Double-crested Cormorant and a pair of Osprey.  By this point the rain started to pick up again so we headed back to the cars and cut the trip short.  While the weather was not the greatest by any means, we still had a good time and had good looks at some good birds.  Our species count was low for the end of April at 27, but that was to be expected with the weather and shorter trip duration.