Al and Lois Richardson
Eleven birders spent a pleasant late summer morning checking local areas for shorebirds and herons. We did a quick check of the confluence of the Westfield and the Connecticut River. Here found a couple of Spotted Sandpipers and a few of the common year-round resident birds. The big surprise was a mink that scurried out of the water and up the bank in front of us.
Because a Stilt had been seen in Longmeadow Flats the day before, we drove to West Road to try for it -- unsuccessfully as it turned out. However, we did find Yellowlegs, as well as Pectoral, Least, Semipalmated, and Solitary Sandpipers, and Semipalmated Plovers in spite of a Peregrine Falcon that was keeping watch from its perch in a tree behind the puddles. Red-shouldered Hawks made an appearance, chased by crows. Add a few ravens to this raucous mix. There were Bobolinks starting their migration perching up in the cornfields along with a huge flock of Red-winged Blackbirds. Two lucky people spotted a Northern Waterthrush - our only warbler for the morning.
Thanks to Beth Spirito, we got a mid-morning energy boost from her delicious lemon-blueberry mini-cakes that she shared with us before heading to Pondside Road. Here we found Great Blue Herons, a Great Egret, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Green-winged Teal, a lone Canada Goose, Kingbirds, Phoebe, and Cedar Waxwings.
Although it was now nearly 11:00 am, we decided to return to West Road for one last try for the Stilt. Only minutes after we joined a group of other birders to scan the puddles once more, Michele Moore spotted a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. A perfect way to end the trip. We had 41 species.