There were 16 teams and 33 observers out in Hampden County territories for the count held on May 15-16. Thankfully, the COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent we birders from doing our thing! The weather was generally good for birding, except for a severe storm that rolled in just after 8:00 pm on Friday evening. Together the teams recorded 142 species, which was above average over the last ten years and bested last year’s total by 4 species.
As is typical, most of the common species were near their recent or long-term average, but some were noticeably high or low. There were several species whose totals were highest ever in our count history, including Turkey Vulture (66), Osprey (17), Red-tailed Hawk (56), Hairy Woodpecker (46), Sapsucker (14), Least Flycatcher (66), Carolina Wren (52, twice last year’s count of 26), Gnatcatcher (58), Parula (93), and Winter Wren (5, also count of 5 in 2001). We had the highest count of Yellow-rumped Warblers (174) in the past 15 years, and everyone will be happy to hear that Craig and Harvey Allen had our first Pied-billed Grebe since 1982 and Steve Svec’s team found the first Kentucky Warbler since 1983. Also prized finds, without setting records, were Great Egret, Semi-palmated Plover, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Olive-sided Flycatcher, White-crowned Sparrow, Whip-poor-will, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Fish Crow, Black-backed Gull, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Hooded Merganser, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Woodcock.
A few species were notably low, including Green Heron (4), Killdeer (17), Woodcock (2), Bank Swallow (20, only lower year was 1970 at 17), Brown Creeper (3) and Mockingbird (17) both species low for the last few years. Cape May (13) was down from last year’s big wave of 22, but held second high count since 1984. Bay-breasted Warbler (11) was also down from last year’s unusually high count of 57. Unfortunately, because we don’t keep a record of count week birds, as with the Christmas Counts, we missed a White-eyed Vireo, seen and photographed the day before the Count in the Longmeadow Flats. Misses this year also include Screech Owl, first time since 1972 and Great-horned Owl, only other miss was in 2014 since 1973. Also missed were Common Loon, Black-billed Cuckoo, Greater Yellowlegs, and Black Duck.
Click below to view or download complete count results.