There were 17 teams and 33 observers out in Hampden County territories for the count held on May 14-15. Thankfully, once again, the COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent we birders from doing our thing! The weather was quite good for birding. Friday evening temps were low 70s and winds were light, when not absolutely calm. Saturday brought us more of the same, starting off pleasant with temps rising into the upper 70s by mid-day. Together the teams recorded 140 species, which was just above average over the last ten years.
As is typical, most of the common species were near their recent or long-term average, but some were noticeably high. There were several species whose totals were highest ever in our count history, including Common Merganser (21), Red-bellied Woodpecker (151), Pileated Woodpecker (22), Sapsucker (14, matching last year for record high), Carolina Wren (52, matching last year for record high), Eastern Bluebird (26), White-throated Sparrow (122, well past previous high record of 80 birds in 1984), Black Vulture (5), Marsh Wren (4), and Snowy Egret (2, likely a single bird seen by two different teams, however not otherwise counted since 1990). Other high, but not record breaking, counts were Wood Duck (70), Virginia Rail (11, highest since 14 counted in 1995), Chipping Sparrow (143, highest since 154 counted in 1995), Savannah Sparrow (19), Swamp Sparrow (38), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (123), Sora (2, not seen since 2010), and Palm Warbler (1, not seen since 1996). We added three species to the May Count records this year, Northern Shoveler (2), American Coot (1) and Tree Sparrow (1).
There were no notably low species counts this year, a big plus, however, we did have a few notable misses. Those include Cooper’s Hawk, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Common Nighthawk, and Whip-poor-will.
Participants seemed to be in agreement that warbler numbers were low, but this year’s warbler counts were well within the average range for the May Count, excepting the migrants, which were low.
Click below to view or download complete count results.