Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Amesbury's Woodsom Farm - 5/20/14





This morning, Susan Sellers and I walked this regionally significant, breeding
site for grassland-nesting birds. The farm is 154 acres of grassland used
by Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow.

I heard a Black-billed Cuckoo calling when we first arrived.  We witnessed courtship
flights of Bobolinks.  Eastern Meadowlarks were perched high, and we had knockout
looks at them both in flight and on verdant stalks.

Click to listen to the meadowlark:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDpydv6VbtU

We saw several Savannah Sparrows at close range, at the edge of the path and one
right on the path. We had close looks at this distinctive sparrow with a short tail
and petite head.   Savannah Sparrows are one of the most numerous songbirds
in North America, and in the breeding season, they advertise their location with a
loud, insect-like song.

Several Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows pursued  insects.   Some of the Barn Swallows
were transporting mud.  Yellow Warblers and Gray Catbirds were along the trail.
Common Yellowthroats and Song Sparrows were vocal  as we walked along the broad
path. We heard Common Yellowthroats.   Eastern Kingbirds were in a snag at the river.
A pair of Northern Flickers were at a nest cavity riverside.  Tree Swallows investigated
smaller holes as potential nest cavities.   As we walked up from the river, we heard
Willow Flycatchers.  One perched and afforded us a visual.  We missed Brown Thrashers,
but we walked along only the broader paths.

Woodsom Farm is one of the most important breeding sites in the state for Bobolinks. It
may host more breeding Bobolinks than any other site in Massachusetts, may be one of
the top 5 breeding sites for Eastern Meadowlarks in Massachusetts and one of the top
10 breeding sites for Savannah Sparrows in Massachusetts.

In years past, early mowing had a significant impact on nesting success at Woodsom Farm.
With a new Mayor at the helm, let's hope that the annual haying regime this year allows for
a successful breeding season for these grassland nesting birds at this important breeding site.

Our List:
Black-billed Cuckoo
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Mallard
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Savannah Sparrow - 11
Song Sparrow  - 4
Northern Cardinal - 1
Bobolink - 47
Eastern Meadowlark - 6
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift - 4
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Willow Flycatcher - pair
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Eastern Kingbird  - pair
Northern Flicker - pair
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Good birding,
Sue

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